Palaeoclimatology and Palaeoceanography


Our research combines geochemistry, micropalaeontology, and climate modelling to produce an integrated view of ancient, modern and future environmental change across a wide range of time-scales.  Research expertise includes stable isotope and trace metal inorganic geochemistry, organic biomarker analyses, quantitative and evolutionary micropaleontology as well as Earth system and climate modelling. 

As examples, we explore how climate change may have driven dinosaur evolution 240 million years ago (link with Palaeobiology), and how gas emissions from Large Igneous Provinces (link with Dynamic Earth) has driven hyperthermal intervals resulting in mass extinctions and deglaciations. We examine how Antarctic temperature and ice volume has been controlled by tectonics and climate over the last 40 million years and by El Nino over the past 12,000 years.  Researchers are deeply engaged with the International Ocean Discovery Program, with shipboard participation in numerous IODP Expeditions. As well as working in the marine realm we also conduct research on lakes, ice-cores and in cave environments. 

Research areas

Research funding

Our research is funded through a diverse range of sources, including NERC, ERC, Marie Curie Actions, Leverhulme Trust, Royal Society, and the Palaeontological Association. We actively encourage external collaborations, as well as welcoming and supporting fellowship applications. In recent years we have hosted Royal Society, NERC, Leverhulme Trust and Royal Commission of 1851 Fellows. For further information please contact any relevant member of academic staff and see opportunities to get involved with the Earth Sciences community.

Postgraduate opportunities

We offer a postgraduate programme in:

  • MSc Applied Meteorology and Climatology - this course provides comprehensive training in understanding, modelling and prediction of atmospheric processes; as well as the collection, management, supply and application of atmospheric data for the needs of a variety of public and private sectors.

Research-informed teaching is a core part of our ethos, and we have a track record of helping our undergraduate and Masters students publish their research projects, present their work at conferences, and obtain funded PhD positions. 

PhD funding sources

The group includes a large, diverse and vibrant community of highly talented and motivated doctoral researchers, working on a broad range of field-, lab- and desk-based PhD projects. PhD opportunities are available annually through the CENTA doctoral training programme, and may also be advertised on an ad hoc basis as funding allows. We are always keen to talk to potential students about opportunities. We have an excellent track record of training our doctoral researchers for careers in paleoclimatology, industry, university and international research environments.

Public Engagement

Public engagement represents a significant component of our work. The group has strong links to the Lapworth Museum of Geology, and played a key role in developing the new Museum exhibitions. We use the Museum’s temporary exhibition space to showcase our research. We frequently deliver public talks, events and educational sessions, in the Museum and further afield – please contact any member of academic staff if you are interested in having us come to talk to your group about our research

From March-June 2019 we featured the Mysteries of the Deep Exhibition at the Lapworth Museum of Geology. This exhibition tells the story of scientific ocean drilling and its role in helping  to better understand the oceans and their role in the Earth’s climate.

Free downloads of the exhibition and associated comic are available on the website.