Dr Katherine Ficken
Senior Lecturer
Telephone: (01792) 602665
Room: Academic Office - 202B
Second Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus


  1. & The Holocene isotopic record of aquatic cellulose from Lake Äntu Sinijärv, Estonia: Influence of changing climate and organic-matter sources. Quaternary Science Reviews 193, 68-83.
  2. & Fungal infection dynamics in response to temperature in the lepidopteran insect Galleria mellonella. Insect Science 25(3), 454-466.
  3. & Orbital forcing of glacial/interglacial variations in chemical weathering and silicon cycling within the upper White Nile basin, East Africa: Stable-isotope and biomarker evidence from Lakes Victoria and Edward. Quaternary Science Reviews 130, 57-71.
  4. & A new attractant for monitoring western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis in protected crops. SpringerPlus 4(1)
  5. & Holocene dust records from the West African Sahel and their implications for changes in climate and land surface conditions. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 119(14), 8684-8694.

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  • GEG111 Geographical Writing Skills and Personal Development Planning

    This module introduces students to key skills in scientific writing and career development. The module is taught through a tutorial programme throughout the year.

  • GEG135 Habitable Earth

    This module is an introduction to global environmental change and explores aspects of the issue of sustainability as it affects everyday lives. The challenge of sustainability is significant and the lectures will provide you with the information needed to engage with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

  • GEG252V Geographical Fieldwork skills: Vancouver

    The module is concerned with identifying and defining geographical questions within the Vancouver and southern British Columbia context and applying relevant geographical skills, knowledge and techniques to these questions. The general aims are to observe, analyse and achieve an understanding of the varied geographical landscape and inherent features of Vancouver and southern British Columbia. Students taking this module will gain experience in research design, methodologies, data analysis and presentation methods, including seminars, posters and reports. Students taking this field course focus on either the physical or human geography on the region and conduct project work appropriate to their specialism. The module comprises preparatory lectures in Swansea during teaching block 2 and a two-week field course, which typically runs in the last week of teaching block 2 into the first week of the Easter vacation.

  • GEG264A Environmental Research Methods A

    The module covers research project design, data collection and some aspects of data analysis. Students are introduced to a range of laboratory and field techniques in physical geography. They gain experience in describing and interpreting results derived from laboratory techniques concerned with reconstructing the depositional history of sediments, chemical analysis of water and sediment from a variety of sources and the simulation of geomorphological processes.

  • GEG264B Environmental Research Methods B

    The module builds upon student knowledge covers research project design, data collection and data analysis. Students are introduced to a range of laboratory and field techniques in physical geography along with statistical analyses and presentation skills. They gain experience in describing and interpreting results derived from laboratory techniques concerned with reconstructing the depositional history of sediments, chemical analysis of sediments from a variety of sources and the simulation of geomorphological processes. Students are also introduced to dissertation research. The module culminates in a poster presentation (including short oral introduction to poster) on one of the projects they have undertaken.

  • 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.

  • GEG331 Dissertation Report: Geography

    The dissertation is an original, substantive and independent research project in an aspect of Geography. It is typically based on approximately 20 - 25 days of primary research and several weeks of analysis and write-up. The end result must be less than 10,000 words of text. The dissertation offers you the chance to follow your personal interests and to demonstrate your capabilities as a Geographer. During the course of your dissertation you will be supported by a student-led discussion group and a staff supervisor, and you will also provide constructive criticism to fellow students undertaking related research projects, learning from their research problems and subsequent solutions. This support and supervision is delivered through the 'Dissertation Support' module, which is a co-requisite.

  • GEG332 Dissertation Support: Geography

    This module provides structured, student-led peer-group support and academic staff group supervision for students undertaking the 30-credit 'Dissertation Report: Geography' module. This support and supervision is assessed through the submission of a PowerPoint Poster in TB1 and the submission in TB2 of an individually composed, critical and reflective log of the 5 dissertation peer-group meetings and the 4 group supervisory meetings (with a verified record of attendance at meetings). Working within a supervised Student Peer Group, you will also have the opportunity to provide constructive criticism to fellow students undertaking related research projects, learning from their research problems and subsequent solutions. This module complements the 'Dissertation Report: Geography' module, which is a co-requisite.

  • GEG333 Geographical Research Frontiers

    This module provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their competence as a Geographer by undertaking a critical analysis of a wide variety of literature-based sources in order to develop a cogent, substantial, and persuasive argument. While the Dissertation in Geography normally focuses on the design and execution of an evidenced-based research project that assesses the capacity of students to undertake effective data analysis and interpretation, the purpose of this module is to assess the extent to which students are capable of engaging with the academic literature at the frontier of a particular part of Geography. Students select from a wide range of research frontiers in Human and Physical Geography that have been identified by the academic staff within the Department. Given that this module emphasizes student-centred learning, none of the frontiers will have been covered in other modules, although in many cases modules will have taken students up to some of these frontiers. However, to orientate students and provide them with suitable points of departure and way-stations, there will be a brief introduction to each frontier and a short list of pivotal references disseminated via Blackboard. (Note: The topic selected by you must not overlap with the subject of your Dissertation. If there is any doubt about potential overlap, this must be discussed with your Dissertation Support Group supervisor and agreed in writing.)

  • GEL121 Introducing Planet Earth: an overview of geology

    Geology is the study of the composition and history of planet Earth and the processes that operate within the planet and on its surface. This module provides an overview of geology, with a strong emphasis on practical and fieldwork. By the end of the module you will be able to identify minerals and rocks, and know how to interpret them to understand the behaviour of volcanoes and earthquakes, the formation of mountain belts, the distribution of resources, and the history of the Earth¿s surface. Teaching through lectures is supplemented by regular practical classes and five half-day field classes. Taking this module alongside Year One Geography modules will complete your credit requirements at Year One. The module is recommended if you have an interest in physical geography, although it is accessible to all students. No previous experience of geology is needed.

  • GEL122 Earth science in the field

    Acquiring fieldwork skills and experience is vital training for Earth scientists. This module develops geological fieldwork skills through two intensive residential weekends, three half-day field classes and an independent field-based project. The first weekend (27-29 October 2017), introduces key aspects of geology in the field, including a variety of rock types, folds and faults, fossils and field relations, as well as developing skills such as keeping a field notebook, making a field sketch, using a compass-clinometer to measure the orientation of rock surfaces, and manipulating structural data. The second weekend (16-18 February 2018) applies knowledge, understanding and experience gained through the year (including in GEL121) to more advanced aspects of geology in the field, including sediment logging, correlation and lateral variation, and basic field mapping. The field weekends are supported by tutorial meetings and assessed through activities undertaken in the field, including a field notebook, and reports prepared afterwards. Local, half-day field classes in Teaching Block 2 focus on geological resource exploitation in the South Wales Coalfield and are assessed through a report. Finally, students undertake an independent project based on the geology of an area of their choosing, producing a poster and a field guide. This module builds on material covered in GEL121 (Introducing planet Earth: an overview of geology) which is a co-requisite, and provides a firm foundation for the study of Year 2 geology modules. The module is compulsory for students enrolled on BSc Physical Earth Science. It is not available to students enrolled for other Geography degree schemes.

  • GEL200 Introductory Geology for Engineers

    This module is an introduction to geology aimed particularly at the needs of civil engineers. The module comprises three sections, covering geological materials - minerals and rocks; distribution of rocks through geological maps and their interpretation; and engineering geology. Lectures are supported by practical work. The module assumes no prior knowledge of geology.

  • GEL204 Geological Record of Past Environments

    The geological record gives a long-term perspective on environmental and climatic change, including changes that occurred over hundreds of thousands to millions of years. This record, derived from the interpretation of rocks, provides a long-term perspective on the magnitude and extent of environmental changes and their causes. This module focuses on the reconstruction of environmental parameters from the geological record. Principles and techniques for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction are outlined, with an emphasis on facies analysis and palaeoecology. Sedimentary structures are interpreted in terms of processes of sediment transport, deposition and disturbance. The facies characteristics of major depositional systems are outlined, including deserts, rivers, deltas, the deep sea and volcaniclastic environments. Lectures are supported by a 3-day field course to south Pembrokeshire, where palaeoenvironmental conditions will be reconstructed from well-exposed rock successions. This module builds on aspects of geology introduced at Year One and provides a long-term perspective on environmental and climatic conditions that complements Earth history and physical geography modules. The module is compulsory for students taking BSc Physical Earth Science.