I am a broadly trained physical geographer with a research specialism in climate change. I am interested in exploring how environmental change impacts our planet’s forests, and the elements of the carbon and water cycles played out in forests, and in the records of past global change that ancient trees contain. I currently carry out research in the northern Boreal forest areas of Fennoscania and in lowland tropical rainforest in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. My research is funded by Research Council’s UK, National Geographic, the European Union and Welsh Government.

I teach a broad physical geography curriculum at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level. subject areas include: climate of the last thousand year, techniques in palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, dendroclimatology and stable isotope methods. I also teach key skills for scientists and run a work placement module for geography students. I am interested in educational outreach activities and run Swansea’s College of Science outreach programme S4, funded by the Welsh Government’s National Science Academy.

Publications

  1. The climate sensitivity of Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.] in the southeastern European Alps. Trees 23(1), 169-180.
  2. et. al. European summer temperatures since Roman times. Environmental Research Letters 11(2), 024001
  3. & A tree-ring width based drought reconstruction for southeastern China: links to Pacific Ocean climate variability. Boreas 45(2), 335-346.
  4. & North Atlantic summer storm tracks over Europe dominated by internal variability over the past millennium. Nature Geoscience 9(8), 630-635.
  5. & A simple stable carbon isotope method for investigating changes in the use of recent versus old carbon in oak. Tree Physiology 37(8), 1021-1027.

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Teaching

  • GEG252MB Geographical Field Work Skills: Malaysian, Borneo

    The module is concerned with identifying and defining geographical questions within the tropical rainforest environment of the Sabah, Malaysian Borneo and applying relevant geographical skills, knowledge and techniques to these questions. This fieldwork-based module focuses on the physical geography of wet tropical environments, hydrological and geomorphological processes, the nature and dynamics of tropical rainforest vegetation and ecology and the impacts of logging and conversion to agriculture, and particularly oil palm and current and predicted climatic change. Land policy and land management practices are a key theme. Some aspects of the human environment are also covered. The fieldweek module introduces students to all aspects of project work (identifying and defining geographical problems; formulation of aims, research questions and hypotheses; formulation of an appropriate research design to answer these questions; choice and use of field measurement techniques and field observation; data analysis and interpretation; oral presentation of findings; and structuring and production of academic written reports). A key aim is to prepare students to be able to undertake a final-year dissertation in physical geography. The module comprises preparatory meetings, a 14 day field course, which typically runs immediately prior to Easter, and 2 hours of analytical classes during Teaching Block 2 prior to submittal of project reports.

  • GEG268 Dissertation Preparation

    The module prepares students for their independent research dissertation through dissertation fairs, lectures and a series of tutorials focusing upon the formulation and construction of a research proposal. The module also includes three lectures which explore career opportunities for Geography graduates and skills to enhance graduate employability.

  • GEG334 Work Placement

    This module allows you to undertake a work placement relevant to your degree within an organisation outside of the University. You will need to find an appropriate organisation and negotiate a project with them yourself. Assistance is available from the Careers Service to help you find a placement, but you are responsible for securing a work placement yourself. The module also requires you to complete the Swansea Employability Award (www.sea.swan.ac.uk). You will need to consider your skills and interests in setting goals for your project that you can achieve within the timescale and constraints available to you. The outcome of the work placement will be an enhanced set of academic and transferable skills cultivated during a sustained problem-solving experience that should augment your employability and appreciation of the kind of demands and constraints that non-academic users place on academics. The aims and objectives of the work placement must complement the degree scheme being studied, and the programme of work must seek to enhance the set of subject-specific and transferable skills that the student has already acquired. You must inform the module convener of the precise details of their work placement by the end of August. If this is not possible, you will be required to transfer to another module.

  • GEG358 Climate of the last 1000 years

    The aim of this module is to provide the participants with the relevant skills to place the widely reported anthropogenic influences upon climate into the perspective of a naturally changing climatic system. The module focuses upon the techniques used to reconstruct changes in climate over the last 1000 years and presents reconstructions at differing temporal scales. The module is directed towards students with a basic scientific and mathematical background.

Supervision

  • 'Spatial learning in a decapod crustacean' (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Dr Ed Pope
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Dr Geraint Owen
  • The effect of climate and carbon dioxide on oxygen isotopes in tree rings (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Danny Mccarroll
  • IDENTIFYING PREDISPOSING FACTORS TO OAK DECLINE DISEASE IN THE UK Physical Geography (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Giles Young

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2012 Present Senior Lecturer in Physical Geogrpahy Swansea University
2011 2012 Lecturer in Physical Geography Swansea University
2006 2010 Research Councils UK Fellow, Department of Geography Swansea University
2006 2010 Team Leader and co-PI: MILLENNIUM Project Swansea University
2004 2005 Senior Research Officer: PINE Project Swansea University
2002 2004 Lecturer in Physical Geography University of Sheffield
2001 2002 Research co-coordinator, National University of Ireland Galway
2001 2002 Adjunct lecturer, National University of Ireland Galway
1997 2002 Ph.D. Geography Swansea University
1994 1997 B.Sc. (Hons) Geography and Geology University of Birmingham

Key Grants and Projects