Dr Pilar Mariem Saavedra-Pellitero PhD

Dr Pilar Mariem Saavedra-Pellitero

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Marie Curie Fellow

Contact details

Micropalaeontology, Palaeoclimatology and Palaeoceanography group
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr. Mariem Saavedra-Pellitero is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow with a scientific background in Earth Sciences and Geology. She is a micropalaentologist specialised in coccolithophores (tiny marine haptophyte algae) and calcareous nannoplankton (their fossil remains), which she uses to reconstruct palaeoproductivity and palaeoceanographic changes at different timescales, with actual links to palaeoclimate and plankton ecology.


2009: PhD Universidad de Salamanca (Spain)

2006: MSci Universidad de Salamanca


Dr. Mariem Saavedra-Pellitero did graduate work and completed in 2009 a PhD at the University of Salamanca (Spain) on the nature of Pleistocene-Holocene climate variability and ocean responses in the SE Pacific. She subsequently received a highly competitive fellowship to expand and develop her own research interests on plankton from the Pacific Sector of the Southern Ocean at the University of Bremen (Germany).

Following this, in she received a second independent fellowship as a Principal Investigator. This project examined coccolithophore palaeoproductivity variations during Marine Isotope Stage 11 in the Southern Ocean and assessed its potential impact on the carbon cycle. More recently, Mariem was awarded a postdoctoral position in Germany focusing on calcification of modern coccolithophores at high latitudes, and her extremely competitive as well as prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship at Birmingham, which she started in September 2019.

Additionally, during her Postdoctoral research she gained experience as a micropaleontologist and biostratigrapher during long research cruises, such as Expeditions PS75, SO-213,IODP Exp. 346: Asian Monsoon, and IODP Exp. 383: Dynamics of Pacific Antarctic Circumpolar Current (DYNAPACC).

Postgraduate supervision

If you are interested in exploring MSci opportunities related to coccolithophores/calcareous nannofossils, palaeoclimate and/or palaeoceanography within the micropaleontology group at the University of Birmingham, please get in touch.


Dr. Mariem Saavedra-Pellitero’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at the University of Birmingham aims to determine whether long-term changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide impact the coupled processes of photosynthesis and calcification within the coccolithophores. For this purpose, the project "NannoChem" will use cores offshore Australia recovered during the IODP Expedition 363: West Pacific Warm Pool.

Mariem is also interested in:

  • Biogeography of extant coccolithophores.
  • Ecology of coccolithophores and calcareous nannofossils at high latitudes.
  • Plio-Pleistocene and Holocene palaeoproductivity & palaeoceanographic reconstructions using micropalaeontological and geochemical proxies.
  • Links between palaeoclimate, plankton palaeoecology and (bio-) geochemistry.
  • Coccolithophore morphotypes and calcification patterns.
  • Monsoonal dynamics.
  • Calcareous nannofossil taxonomy and biostratigraphy.

Other activities

Scientific cruises:

  • 20/05-20/07/2018 IODP Expedition 383: Dynamics of Pacific Antarctic Circumpolar Current (Pacific Southern Ocean). Calcareous nannofossil biostratigrapher.  
  • 02/ 2016-04/2016 Onshore scientist in the PS97 ANT-XXXI/3 Polar expedition (South Atlantic Ocean, Scotia Sea, Antarctic Peninsula and Southern Ocean) on board R/V Polarstern.
  • 07/2013-09/2013 IODP Expedition 346: Asian Monsoon from Valdez (Alaska) to Busan (Korea). Calcareous nannofossil biostratigrapher.
  • 01/2011-03/201: SOPATRA EXPEDITION SO-213 (Leg 2) from Valparaiso (Chile) to Wellington (New Zealand). Calcareous nannofossil biostratigrapher.
  • 11/2009-01/2010 PS75 Polar Expedition on board R/V Polarstern from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Wellington (New Zealand). Calcareous nannofossil biostratigrapher.

Comissions of trust:

  • 2017-Present  Scientific Editor of the Journal of Paleontological Techniques.
  • 2014  Editorial Board of the First Postcruise Editorial Meeting, IODP Expedition 346, Texas (USA). 
  • 2012-Present  Scientific reviewer for Open Access Journals, Wiley-Blackwell, Elsevier, Oxford Journals and others.
  • 2012-Present Examiner of PhD thesis and committee member at various PhD defences at the University of Bremen (Germany). 

Membership of Scientific Societies:

  • 2009-Present  American Geophysical Union
  • 2007-Present  International Nannoplankton Association


Publications in peer reviewed journals:

2019   Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Baumann, K.-H., Fuertes, M. Á., Schulz, H., Marcon, Y., Vollmar, N. M., Flores, J.-A., and Lamy, F., Calcification and distribution of extant coccolithophores across the Drake Passage during late austral summer 2016, Biogeosciences, doi: 10.5194/bg-2019-186.

2019   Stuut, J‐B. W., De Deckker, P., Saavedra‐Pellitero, M., Bassinot, F., Drury, A.‐J., Walczak, M. H., Nagashima, K., Murayama, M. A 5.3‐million‐year history of monsoonal precipitation in northwestern Australia, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1029/2019GL083035.

2019   Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Baumann, K.-H., Gallagher, S. J., Sagawa, T., Tada, R., Paleoceanographic evolution of the Japan Sea over the last 460 kyr – A coccolithophore perspective, Marine Micropaleontology, doi: 10.1016/j.marmicro.2019.01.001.

2019   Hernández-Almeida, I., Ausín, B., Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Baumann, K.-H., Stoll, H., Quantitative reconstruction of primary productivity in low latitudes during the last glacial maximum and the mid-to-late Holocene from a global Florisphaera profunda calibration dataset, Quaternary Science Reviews, 826-829, doi: j.quascirev.2018.12.016.

2019   Hernández-Almeida, I., Ausín, B., Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Baumann, K.-H., Stoll, H. A dataset of modern and fossil distribution of coccolithophore species Florisphaera profunda in the world's ocean, Data in Brief, doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2018.12.079.

2018   Gallagher, S. J., Sagawa, T., Henderson, A., Saavedra-Pellitero, M., De Vleeschouwer, D., Black, H., Itaki, T., Toucanne, S., Bassetti, M A., Clemens, S., Anderson, W., Alvarez-Zarikian, C., Tada, R., Paleoceanography and monsoonal history of the Japan Sea over the last 460,000 years, Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, doi: 10.1029/2018PA003331.

2018   Tada, R., et al. (incl. Saavedra-Pellitero, M.) High-resolution and -precision correlation of dark and light layers in the Quaternary hemipelagic sediments of the Japan Sea recovered during IODP Expedition 346, Progress in Earth and Planetary Science, 5: 19, doi: 10.1186/s40645-018-0167-8

2018   Sagawa, T., Nagahashi, Y., Satoguchi, Y., Holbourn, A., Itaki, T. Gallagher, S.J., Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Ikehara, K., Irino T., Tada, R. Integrated tephrostratigraphy and isotope stratigraphy in the Japan Sea and East China Sea using IODP Sites U1427, U1426 and U1429, Expedition 346 Asian Monsoon, Progress in Earth and Planetary Science, 5: 18, doi: 10.1186/s40645-018-0168-7

2017b Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Baumann, K.-H., Lamy, F., Köhler, P., Coccolithophore variability across Marine Isotope Stage 11 in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean and its potential impact on the carbon cycle, Paleoceanography, doi: 10.1002/2017PA003156.

2017a Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Baumann, K.-H., Ullermann, J, Lamy, F. Marine Isotope Stage 11 in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean; a coccolithophore perspective, Quaternary Science Reviews, 158: 1-14, doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.12.020.

2016   Baumann, K.-H Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Böckel, B. and Ott, C. Morphometry, biogeography and ecology of Calcidiscus and Umbilicosphaera in the South Atlantic. Revue de Micropaleontologie, 59, 239-251, doi: 10.1016/j.revmic.2016.03.001

2015   Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Baumann, K.-H. Comparison of living and surface sediment coccolithophore assemblages in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean, Micropaleontology, 61 (6), 507-520.

2015   Giresse, P., Bassetti, M.-A.; Chanier, F., Gaullier, V., Maillard, A., Thinon, I., Lofi, J., Lymer, G., Reynaud, J.-Y., Negri, A., Saavedra-Pellitero, M. Depositional environment and age of some key Late Pliocene to Early Quaternary deposits on the underfilled Cedrino paleovalley (Orosei): Insight into the Neogene geodynamic evolution of Sardinia. Quaternary International, 357, 220-236, doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.022

2014   Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Baumann, K.H., Flores, J.A. and Gersonde, R., Biogeographic distribution of living coccolithophores in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. Marine Micropaleontology, 109, 1-20, doi: 10.1016/j.marmicro.2014.03.003

2013   Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Baumann, K.H., Hernández-Almeida, I., Flores, J.A., Sierro, F.J., Modern sea surface productivity and temperature estimations off Chile as detected by coccolith accumulation rates. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 392, 534-545, doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.10.010

2011  Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Flores, J.A., Lamy, F., Sierro, F.J, Cortina, A. Coccolithophore estimates of paleotemperature and paleoproductivity changes in the Southeast Pacific over past ~27 Kyr, Paleoceanography, 26, PA1201, doi: 10.1029/2009PA001824

2011   Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Flores, J.A., Baumann, K-H, Boeckel, B., Sierro, F.J. Comparison of different preparation and analysis techniques for quantitative coccolith studies focusing on biogeographic patterns of species, Micropaleontology, 57 (2), 139-161.

2010   Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Flores, J.A., Baumann, K-H., Sierro, F.J. Coccolith distribution patterns in surface sediments of Equatorial and Southeastern Pacific Ocean, Geobios, 43, 131-149, doi: 10.1016/j.geobios.2009.09.004

2008   Saavedra-Pellitero, M., Flores, J.A., Sierro, F.J. Comparación de las asociaciones de cocolitóforos en distintos ambientes, desde un giro oligotrófico hasta zonas de alta productividad biológica, Geo-Temas, 10, 1463-1466.

2007   Saavedra-Pellitero M., Flores, J.A., Sierro, F.J. Nuevas aportaciones a la biogeografía de cocolitóforos en el Pacífico ecuatorial y suroriental, Geogaceta, 42, 91-94.

Cruise reports / Proceedings:

2019   Lamy, F., Winckler, G., Alvarez Zarikian, C.A., and the Expedition 383 Scientists (incl. Saavedra-Pellitero, M.), 2019. Expedition 383 Preliminary Report: Dynamics of the Pacific Antarctic Circumpolar Current.International Ocean Discovery Program, doi: 10.14379/iodp.pr.383.2019.

2015   Tada, R., Murray, R.W., Alvarez Zarikian, C.A., and the Expedition 346 Scientists (incl. Saavedra-Pellitero, M.), 2015. Proc. IODP, 346: College Station, TX (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program), doi:10.2204/iodp.proc.346.2015.

2014   Expedition 346 Scientists (including Saavedra-Pellitero, M.), Asian Monsoon: onset and evolution of millennial-scale variability of Asian monsoon and its possible relation with Himalaya and Tibetan Plateau uplift. IODP Preliminary Report, 346, doi: 10.2204/iodp.pr.346.2014.

2012   Tiedemann, R., and scientific crew members (including Saavedra-Pellitero, M.). FS Sonne Fahrtbericht/Cruise Report SO213 - SOPATRA: South Pacific Paleoceanographic Transects - Geodynamic and Climatic Variability in Space and Time, Leg 1: Valparaiso/Chile - Valparaiso/Chile, 27.012.2010 - 12.01.2011, Leg 2: Valparaiso/Chile - Wellington/New Zealand, 12.01.2011 - 07.03.2011, 111 p.

2011   Gersonde, R., and scientific crew members (including Saavedra-Pellitero, M.). The expedition of the research vessel "Polarstern" to the polar South Pacific in 2009/2010 (ANT-XXVI/2 - BIPOMAC) / Ed. by Rainer Gersonde, Berichte zur Polar- und Meeresforschung = Reports on polar and marine research, 632, 330 p., http://epic.awi.de/29941/

Book chapters:

2009   Alonso, M., Álvarez, M, Hernández Almeida, I., Saavedra-Pellitero, M. Contribuciones de alumnos asistentes al curso “La paleoclimatología y el Cambio Climático”. In: Flores, J.A. (Ed.), Cambio Climático y Sociedad. Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, Sevilla, pp. 122-141.

View all publications in research portal