Geography and Environment

Research Group: Palaeoenvironmental Laboratory at the University of Southampton (PLUS)

We use modelling approaches and data on past environments to understand environmental change and to anticipate future change at a range of temporal and spatial scales.

Currently Active: Yes

Group Overview

Analysing tephra in Patagonia

Analysing tephra in Patagonia

Members of PLUS generate so-called multi-proxy environmental data and model past environments in order to further our understanding of environmental change and its relationship to human societies at a range of temporal and spatial scales.

The PLUS research group focuses on natural systems and their interface with the Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences. This includes the long-term impacts of climate dynamics on human societies and related subjects such as human-environment modelling, ecosystem services, geoarchaeology and forensic palynology.

We have broad expertise in a range of techniques and the use of natural systems such as peat bogs and lakes as archives of terrestrial environmental change. These techniques range from the study of fossil pollen to stable isotopes. We are involve in active collaboration with other research groups at Southampton including the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation, the Centre for Ancient Human Origins (CAHO) and Southampton Ocean and Earth Sciences.

PLUS research is relevant to several international agendas that concern climate change and associated human responses. We are part of the international science community in understanding earth systems science, and our work informs actions to facilitate adaptation to climate change. PLUS has specialist research facilities in the Shackleton Building and a wide range of field equipment.

PLUS undertakes research into environmental change from the very recent period up to 3 million years ago all geographical areas from the tropics to the polar regions. Major interests lie in the North Atlantic, Arctic, Patagonia and East Africa as well as in the British Isles. PLUS research is linked to international agendas of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), International Geosciences Programme (IGCP) and the Arctic Council. We also have active collaboration with universities in the US, China, Russia, Norway, Chile, Denmark, France, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Japan.



Selected publications associated with this group from the University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints):


Higham, T.F.G., Jacobi, R.M., Julien, M., David, F., Wood, Laura, Basell, Rachel, Davies, William and Bronk Ramsey, Christopher Bronk (2010) New dates for the Grotte du Renne at Arcy-sur-Cure and their implications for the evolution of symbolic behaviour. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , 107, (47), 20147-20148. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1007963107).
Daley, T.J., Barber, K.E., Street-Perrott, F.A., Loader, N.J., Marshall, J.D., Crowley, S.F. and Fisher, E.H. (2010) Holocene climate variability revealed by oxygen isotope analysis of Sphagnum cellulose from Walton Moss, northern England. Quaternary Science Reviews, 29, (13-14), 1590-1601. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.09.017).
Anderson, Karen, Bennie, Jonathan, Milton, Ted, Hughes, Paul, Lindsay, Richard and Meade, Roger (2010) Classification of ombrotrophic peatland condition using structural signatures from remote sensing data. Geophysical Research Abstracts, 12, 3567.
Amesbury, Matthew J., Barber , Keith E. and Hughes, Paul D.M. (2010) The methodological basis for fine-resolution, multi-proxy reconstructions of ombrotrophic peat bog surface wetness. Boreas, 40, (1), 161-174. (doi:10.1111/j.1502-3885.2010.00152.x).
Sonstebo, J.H., Gielly, L., Brysting, A.K., Elven, R., Edwards, M., Haile, J., Willerslev, E., Coissac, E., Rioux, D., Sannier, J., Taberlet, P. and Brochmann, C. (2010) Using next-generation sequencing for molecular reconstruction of past arctic vegetation and climate. Molecular Ecology Resources, 10, (6), 1009-1018. (doi:10.1111/j.1755-0998.2010.02855.x).
Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S., Toms, P.S., Bennett, J.A., Hosfield, R.T. and Scrivner, R.C. (2010) Later Pleistocene evolution of the Exe valley: A chronstratigraphic model of terrace formation and its implications for Palaeolithic archaeology. Quaternary Science Reviews, 29, (7-8), 897-912. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.12.007).
Davidson, T. A., Sayer, C. D., Langdon, P. G., Burgess, A. and Jackson, M. (2010) Inferring past zooplanktivorous fish and macrophyte density in a shallow lake: application of a new regression tree model. Freshwater Biology, 55, (3), 584-599. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2427.2009.02391.x).
Sayer, Carl D., Davidson, Thomas A., Jones, John Iwan and Langdon, Peter G. (2010) Combining contemporary ecology and palaeolimnology to understand shallow lake ecosystem change. Freshwater Biology, 55, (3), 487-499. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2427.2010.02388.x).
Anderson, K., Bennie, J.J., Milton, E.J., Hughes, P.D.M., Lindsay, R. and Meade, R. (2010) Combining LiDAR and IKONOS data for eco‐hydrological classification of an ombrotrophic peatland. Journal of Environmental Quality, 39, (1), 260-273. (doi:10.2134/jeq2009.0093). (PMID:20048314).
Hoffmann, T., Thorndycraft, V.R., Brown, A.G., Coulthard, T., Damnati, B., Kale, V.S., Middelkoop, H., Notebaert, B. and Walling, D.E. (2010) Human impact on fluvial regimes and sediment flux during the Holocene: review and future research agenda. Global and Planetary Change (doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2010.04.008). (In Press).
Higham, T.F.G., Jacobi, R., Basell, L.S., Bronk Ramsey, C., Chiotti, L. and Nespoulet, R. (2010) Precision dating of the Palaeolithic: A new radiocarbon chronology for the Abri Pataud (France), a key Aurignacian sequence. Journal of Human Evolution (Submitted).
Abbott, Mark B., Edwards, Mary E. and Finney, Bruce P. (2010) A 40,000-yr record of environmental change from Burial Lake in Northwest Alaska. Quaternary Research (doi:10.1016/j.yqres.2010.03.007).
Binney, Heather A., Willis, Katherine J., Edwards, Mary E., Bhagwat, Shonil A., Anderson, Patricia M., Andreev, Andrei A., Blaauw, Maarten, Damblon, Freddy, Haesaerts, Paul, Kienast, Frank, Kremenetski, Konstanin V., Krivonogov, Sergey K., Lozhkin, Anatoly V., MacDonald, Glen M., Novenko, Pirita Oksanen, Sapelko, Tatiana, Väliranta, Minna and Vazhenina, Ludmila (2009) The distribution of late-Quaternary woody taxa in northern Eurasia: evidence from a new macrofossil database. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28, (23-24), 2445-2464. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2009.04.016).
Brown, A.G., Basell, L.S., Toms, P.S. and Scrivner, R.C. (2009) Towards a budget approach to Pleistocene terraces: preliminary studies using the River Exe in South West England, UK. [in special issue: Quaternary Geology of the British Isles: Part 1] Proceedings of the Geologists Association, 120, (4), 275-281. (doi:10.1016/j.pgeola.2009.08.012).
Daley, T.J., Street-Perrott, F.A., Loader, N.J., Barber, K.E., Hughes, P.D.M., Fisher, E.H. and Marshall, J.D. (2009) Terrestrial climate signal of the "8200-yr cold event" in the Labrador Sea region. Geology, 37, (9), 831-834. (doi:10.1130/G30043A.1).


Brown, Tony (2009) The environment and aggregate-related archaeology, Oxford, Heritage Publications, an imprint of Oxbow Books, 232pp.

Book Section

Basell, L.S. (2010) Middle stone age Sangoan-Lupemban Lithic assemblages in Africa. In, Allsworth-Jones, Philip (ed.) West African Archaeology New developments, new perspectives. Oxford, GB, British Archaeological Reports, 15-28. (British Archaeological Reports International Series, S2164).
Salisbury, C.R. and Brown, A.G. (2010) The archaeological background. In, Ripper, Susan and Cooper, Lynden P. (eds.) The Hemington Bridges: The Excavation of Three Medieval Bridges at Hemington Quarry, Near Castle Donington, Leicestershire. Leicester, UK, Leicester University, 7-12. (Leicester Archaeology Monographs 16).
Grant, M.J., Barber, K.E. and Hughes, P.D.M. (2009) True ancient woodland? – 10,000 years of continuous woodland cover at Mark Ash Wood, New Forest. In, Briant, R.M., Bates, M.R. and Hosfield, R.T. (eds.) The Quaternary of the Solent Basin and West Sussex Raised Beaches: Field Guide. London, GB, Quaternary Research Association, 215-229.


Members of staff associated with this group: