Dr James Bendle MSc, PhD

Dr James Bendle

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Reader (Associate Professor) in Organic Geochemistry
Director of the Central England NERC Training Alliance (CENTA)

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

James is a paleoclimatologist, specialising in organic geochemistry. His research is focused on biomarker proxy development and reconstructing Cenozoic and Holocene climates.


2010 – PGCHE, University of Glasgow
2003 – PhD, University of Durham
1999 – MSc in Quaternary Science, RHUL and UCL (University of London)


  • ESCM345/445 (3rd year UG and M-level) Palaeoclimates (Lead)
  • ESCM252 (2nd year UG) Advanced Field Skills II: Assynt, NW Scotland Field course for Geol/Geog (Lead) CENTA DTP “Speed PhD” Residential in Tenerife (Lead from 2013 to 2018)
  • ESCM240 and 244 (2nd year UG) Geog/Geol and Palaeobiology projects, including field supervision
  • ESCM133 (1st year UG) Research Skills
  • ESCM431 (M-Level) Advanced Projects
  • ESCM101 & GGM102 (1st year UG) Earth Systems  

I am also part of the roster of Earth Sciences staff who contribute to 1st year UG field courses, including the  Pembrokeshire residential.

Postgraduate supervision

James Bendle uses molecular biomarkers to study modern and past environmental processes and conditions. Organic carbon compounds are ubiquitous, abundant and sometimes overlooked components of oceans, lakes, sedimentary rocks and even atmospheric aerosols. Directly, or indirectly, they fuel all biogeochemical processes. As a paleoclimatologist, trained in molecular biogeochemistry, Dr Bendle is interested in the source, structure, and distribution of such naturally occurring compounds (biomarkers). His research is focused on the development of biomarker proxies of environmental parameters (eg, terrestrial and sea-surface temperatures, relative humidity, C3/C4 plant distribution, wetland extent) and their application to answer questions about past climatic and environmental changes.

Dr Bendle is interested in supervising doctoral researchers in all his areas of interest.

Other activities

  • Director of the NERC CENTA Doctoral Training Partnership (2013- )
  • Senior DR tutor for school of GEES and Director of International Recruitment (2012-2013)
  • Membership of the American Geophysical Union, Quaternary Research Association
  • Reviewer for various journals and funding agencies, including: NERC (the UK Natural Environmental Research Council), the NSF, the Research Grant Council (RGC) of Hong Kong and the NWO (the Dutch research council), Nature, PNAS, Geology, Paleoceanography, Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, Geophysical Research Letters, Paleogeography Paleoclimatology and Paleoecology, Quaternary Science Reviews, Special Publications of The Geological Society of London.


Recent publications


IODP Expedition 355 Scientists & Bendle, J 2015, International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 355 Preliminary Report: Arabian Sea Monsoon Deep sea drilling in the Arabian Sea: constraining tectonic-monsoon interactions in South Asia. International Ocean Discovery Program. https://doi.org/10.14379/iodp.pr.355.2015


Yang, Y, Wang, C, Bendle, JA, Yu, X, Gao, C, Lü, X, Ruan, X, Wang, R & Xie, S 2020, 'A new sea surface temperature proxy based on bacterial 3-hydroxy fatty acids', Organic Geochemistry, vol. 141, 103975. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2020.103975

Duncan, B, McKay, R, Bendle, J, Naish, T, Inglis, GN, Moossen, H, Levy, R, Ventura, GT, Lewis, A, Chamberlain, B & Walker, C 2019, 'Lipid biomarker distributions in Oligocene and Miocene sediments from the Ross Sea region, Antarctica: Implications for use of biomarker proxies in glacially-influenced settings', Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol. 516, pp. 71-89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.11.028

Wang, C, Bendle, J, Greene, S, Griffiths, ML, Huang, J, Moossen, H, Zhang, H, Ashley, K & Xie, S 2019, 'Speleothem biomarker evidence for a negative terrestrial feedback on climate during Holocene warm periods', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 525, 115754. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115754

Plancq, J, McColl, JL, Bendle, JA, Seki, O, Couto, JM, Henderson, ACG, Yamashita, Y, Kawamura, K & Toney, JL 2018, 'Genomic identification of the long-chain alkenone producer in freshwater Lake Toyoni, Japan: implications for temperature reconstructions', Organic Geochemistry, vol. 125, pp. 189-195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2018.09.011

Wang, C, Bendle, JA, Zhang, H, Yang, Y, Liu, D, Huang, J, Cui, J & Xie, S 2018, 'Holocene temperature and hydrological changes reconstructed by bacterial 3-hydroxy fatty acids in a stalagmite from central China', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 192, pp. 97-105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.05.030

Sun, H, Bendle, J, Seki, O & Zhou, A 2018, 'Mid- to- late Holocene hydroclimatic changes on the Chinese Loess Plateau: evidence from n-alkanes from the sediments of Tianchi Lake', Journal of Paleolimnology, vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 511-523. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10933-018-0037-9

IODP Expedition 355 Scientists 2017, 'First evidence of denitrification vis-à-vis monsoon in the Arabian Sea since Late Miocene', Scientific Reports, vol. 7, 43056. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep43056

Rubino, M, D'onofrio, A, Seki, O & Bendle, JA 2016, 'Ice-core records of biomass burning', The Anthropocene Review, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 140-162. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053019615605117

Bendle, J & Wang, C 2016, 'Impacts of pH and temperature on soil bacterial 3-hydroxy fatty acids: development of novel terrestrial proxies', Organic Geochemistry, vol. 94, pp. 21-31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2016.01.010

Pandey, DK, Clift, PD, Kulhanek, DK, Andò, S, Bendle, JAP, Bratenkov, S, Griffith, EM, Gurumurthy, GP, Hahn, A, Iwai, M, Khim, BK, Kumar, A, Kumar, AG, Liddy, HM, Lu, H, Lyle, MW, Mishra, R, Radhakrishna, T, Routledge, CM, Saraswat, R, Saxena, R, Scardia, G, Sharma, GK, Singh, AD, Steinke, S, Suzuki, K, Tauxe, L, Tiwari, M, Xu, Z & Yu, Z 2015, 'Arabian Sea Monsoon: Deep sea drilling in the Arabian Sea: Constraining tectonic-monsoon interactions in South Asia', Integrated Ocean Drilling Program: Preliminary Reports, no. 355, pp. 6-46.

Seki, O, Kawamura, K, Bendle, JAP, Izawa, Y, Suzuki, I, Shiraiwa, T & Fujii, Y 2015, 'Carbonaceous aerosol tracers in ice-cores record multi-decadal climate oscillations', Scientific Reports, vol. 5, 14450. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep14450

Moossen, H, Bendle, J, Seki, O, Quillmann, U & Kawamura, K 2015, 'North Atlantic Holocene climate evolution recorded by high-resolution terrestrial and marine biomarker records', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 129, pp. 111-127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.10.013

Seki, O, Bendle, JA, Harada, N, Kobayashi, M, Sawada, K, Moossen, H, Inglis, GN, Nagao, S & Sakamoto, T 2014, 'Assessment and calibration of TEX86 paleothermometry in the Sea of Okhotsk and sub-polar North Pacific region: Implications for paleoceanography', Progress in Oceanography, vol. 126, pp. 254-266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2014.04.013

Seki, O, Mikami, Y, Nagao, S, Nakatsuka, T, Kim, VI, Shesterkin, VP, Makinov, AN, Fukushima, M, Moossen, HM, Schouten, S & Bendle, J 2014, 'Lignin phenols and BIT index distributions in the Amur River and the Sea of Okhotsk: Implications for the source and transport of particulate terrestrial organic matter to the ocean', Progress in Oceanography, vol. 126, pp. 146-154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2014.05.003

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