Dr Kirsty Edgar PhD

Dr Kirsty Edgar

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Associate Professor in Micropalaeontology
Head of Research in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Contact details

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

Kirsty is a micropalaeontologist and palaeoceanographer, specialising in planktic foraminifer and foraminifer-based geochemical records. She is interested in understanding the timing and nature of the interaction between global climate, geochemical cycling, and biota during the Cenozoic. A major research focus is elucidating the dynamics and consequences of transient climate events in the geological record.

ORCID: 0000-0001-7587-9951


  • 2018 - Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (Distinction), University of Birmingham; Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy; Staff and Educational Development Association accreditation
  • 2009 – PhD University of Southampton
  • 2004 – MSci (First Class) Royal Holloway, University of London


2019- Associate Professor in Micropalaeontology, University of Birmingham

2017- Lecturer in Micropalaeontology, University of Birmingham

2016– Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow and Proleptic Lecturer in Micropalaeontology, University of Birmingham

2014-2016 – Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, University of Bristol

2011-2014 – NERC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cardiff University

2008-2011 – NERC Research Associate, University of Southampton (Advisor: Prof. Heiko Pälike)

2009 – Ph.D, University of Southampton (Advisor: Prof. Paul Wilson)

2008 (June – August), WUN International Research Fellow, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego (Advisors: Prof. Dick Norris & Dr Philip Sexton)

2004 – MSci (First Class Hons), Royal Holloway, University of Londo


Kirsty teaches on the following topics:

  • Micropalaeontology
  • Palaeoclimates
  • Palaeoecology
  • Research, field and museum skills

Postgraduate supervision

Kirsty Edgar is interested in understanding the timing and nature of the interaction between global climate, geochemical cycling, and biota during the Cenozoic. A major research focus is elucidating the dynamics and consequences of transient climate events in the geological record and the evolution of planktic foraminifera.

If you are interested in exploring opportunities to join the Micropalaeontology group here at Birmingham as a graduate student, postdoc or if you looking for somewhere new for a research visit or sabbatical then please get in touch.


Kirsty specializes in planktic foraminiferal micropalaeontology and geochemistry. The overall goal of her research is to unravel the complex interplay between life and climate ranging from the modern day back through millions of years. Much of her research to date has focused on constraining climatic and biotic (e.g., ecological and evolutionary) responses to short-lived environmental perturbations over the past 65 million years of Earth’s history. Focal events include the transient global warming event, the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO) ~40 million years ago and other ‘hyperthermals’. The geochemistry of foraminiferal tests is one of the main means used to reconstruct both fossil foraminifera ecology and past environments. As such she is actively involved in evaluating the fidelity of key geochemical proxies (e.g., d11B, d13C and d18O values) in fossil and modern foraminiferal carbonate with the view to improving confidence in our palaeoreconstructions.

Kirsty’s research interests at a glance are:

1) Biotic responses and sensitivity to environmental change in our past, present and future oceans

2) Cenozoic (particularly Eocene) environmental change

3) The fidelity of geochemical and biotic proxies for reconstructing past ecology and environments


Other activities

  • 2021 - Subject Editor (micropalaeontology and palaeoclimatology) for the Journal of The Geological Society of London.
  • 2020-2021 Member of the Midlands Innovation, TALENT Policy Commission focussed on the advancement of the technical community.
  • 2019 - Member of the Stratigraphy Commission of The Geological Society of London.
  • 2017 - Planktic foraminiferal biostratigrapher on Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 369: Australia Cretaceous climates and tectonics (26 Sep-26 Nov.).
  • 2017- Advisory board member of Mikrotax (http://mikrotax.org/)
  • 2017-2020 - International member of the Joides Resolution Science Operator Geology Laboratory Working Group
  • 2016 - Planktic Foraminiferal Editor for the Journal of Micropalaeontology
  • 2014-2016 - The Micropalaeontological Society (TMS) Events Secretary
  • 2012-2014 - TMS Foraminifera Group Secretary
  • 2009 - Planktic foraminiferal biostratigrapher on Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 320:Pacific Equatorial Age Transect (5 March-5 May)
  • Member of The Micropalaeontological Society (2004- ), Geologists Association (2017- ), The Paleontological Association (2014- ), The Cushman Foundation (2014- ), Geological Society of America (2015- ) and The American Geophysical Union (2006- )


Recent publications


Dixon, JD, Meek, A, Clatworthy, J & Edgar, K 2024, 'Illuminating an Uncatalogued Micropalaeontological Collection at the Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham', The Geological Curator.

De Lira Mota, M, Dunkley Jones, T, Sulaiman, N, Edgar, K, Yamaguchi, T, Leng, MJ, Adloff, M, Greene, S, Norris, R, Warren, B, Duffy, G, Farrant, J, Murayama, M, Hall, J & Bendle, J 2023, 'Multi-proxy evidence for sea level fall at the onset of the Eocene-Oligocene transition', Nature Communications, vol. 14, no. 1, 4748. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-39806-6

Edgar, K, Haller, L, Cashmore, D, Dunne, E & Butler, R 2023, 'Stratigraphic and geographic distribution of dinosaur tracks in the UK', Journal of the Geological Society. https://doi.org/10.1144/jgs2023-003

Edgar, K, Meade, L, Jones, H, Haller, L, Scriven, S, Reedman, C & Butler, R 2023, 'The condition, use and future of the UK’s largest accessible dinosaur tracksite at Spyway Quarry, Dorset', Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pgeola.2023.01.001

Taylor, V, Westerhold, T, Bohaty, SM, Backman, J, Dunkley Jones, T, Edgar, K, Egan, K, Lyle, MW, Palike, H, Röhl, U, Zachos, J & Wilson, PA 2023, 'Transient shoaling, over-deepening and settling of the calcite compensation depth at the Eocene-Oligocene transition', Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, vol. 38, no. 6, e2022PA004493. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022PA004493

Edgar, K, MacLeod, KG, Hasegawa, T, Hanson, E, Boomer, I & Kirby, N 2022, 'Data Report: Cenozoic and Upper Cretaceous bulk carbonate stable carbon and oxygen isotopes from IODP Expedition 369 Sites U1513, U1514 and U1516, in the southeast Indian Ocean', Proceedings of the International Ocean Discovery Program, vol. 369. https://doi.org/10.14379/iodp.proc.369.206.2022

Kearns, L, Bohaty, SM, Edgar, K & Ezard, T 2022, 'Small but mighty: how overlooked small species maintain community structure through middle Eocene climate change', Paleobiology. https://doi.org/10.1017/pab.2022.24

Kearns, L, Bohaty, SM, Edgar, K, Nogue, S & Ezard, T 2021, 'Searching for function: reconstructing adaptive niche changes using geochemical and morphological data in planktonic Foraminifera', Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 9, 679722. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.679722

Vahlenkamp, M, De Vleeschouwer, D, Batenburg, S, Edgar, K, Hanson, E, Martinez, M, Paelike, H, MacLeod, K, Li, Y-X, Richter, C, Bogus, K, Hobbs, R, Huber, B & Expedition 369 Scientific Participants 2020, 'A lower to middle Eocene astrochronology for the Mentelle Basin (Australia) and its implications for the geologic time scale', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 529, 115865. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115865

Barnet, J, Littler, K, Harper, D, LeVay, LJ, Edgar, K, Henehan, M, Babila, TL, Ullmann, C, Leng, MJ, Kroon, D & Zachos, J 2020, 'Coupled evolution of temperature and carbonate chemistry during the Paleocene-Eocene; new trace element records from the low latitude Indian Ocean', Earth and Planetary Science Letters, vol. 545, 116414. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116414

Inglis, GN, Bragg, F, Burls, NJ, Cramwinckel, MJ, Evans, D, Foster, GL, Huber, M, Lunt, DJ, Siler, N, Steinig, S, Tierney, JE, Wilkinson, R, Anagnostou, E, M. De Boer, A, Dunkley Jones, T, Edgar, KM, Hollis, CJ, Hutchinson, DK & Pancost, RD 2020, 'Global mean surface temperature and climate sensitivity of the early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO), Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), and latest Paleocene', Climate of the Past, vol. 16, no. 5, 1953, pp. 1953-1968. https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1953-2020, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-16-1953-2020

MacLeod, K, White, L, Wainman, C, Martinez, M, Jones, M, Batenburg, S, Riquier, L, Haynes, S, Watkins, D, Bogus, K, Brumsack, H, do Monte Guerra, R, Edgar, K, Edvardsen, T, Tejada, M, Harry, D, Hasegawa, T, Hobbs, R, Huber, B, Jiang, T, Kuroda, J, Young Lee, E, Li, Y, Maritati, A, O'Connor, L, Petrizzo, MR, Quan, T, Richter, C, Tagliaro, G, Wolfgring, E & Xu, Z 2020, 'Late Cretaceous stratigraphy and paleoceanographic evolution in the Great Australian Bight Basin based on results from IODP Site U1512', Gondwana Research, vol. 83, pp. 80-95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gr.2020.01.009

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Bown, P, Coe, A, Cope, J, Edgar, K, Harper, D, Marshall, J, Wakefield, M, Pearson, PN & Zalasiewicz, J 2022, Biostratigraphy – using fossils to date and correlate rock. in AL Coe (ed.), Deciphering Earth's History: the Practice of Stratigraphy. Geoscience in Practice, Geological Society of London. <https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/GIP001>

Shields, GA, Edgar, K, Ratcliffe, K & Dahl, T 2022, Chemostratigraphy – using elements and isotopes to identify, interpret and correlate events in strata. in Deciphering Earth's History: the Practice of Stratigraphy. Geoscience in Practice, Geological Society of London, London. <https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/GIP001>

Other contribution

Giles, S, Greene, S, Ashley, K, Dunne, E, Edgar, K & Hanson, E 2020, Getting the basics right: a field-teaching primer on toilet stops in the field.. https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-11723

View all publications in research portal