The University of Southampton
Geography and Environment

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

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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.

Group Overview

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.


Research Staff

Staff MemberPrimary Position
Ali AlawerPostgraduate Research Student
Keith BarberEmeritus Professor of Environmental Change
Anna J BourneLecturer in Palaeoenvironmental Science
Julia BransonPrincipal Enterprise Fellow, GeoData
Tony BrownProfessor of Physical Geography
Charlotte ClarkePostgraduate Research Student
Robert CollierPostgraduate research student
Laura CrossleyPostgraduate research student
Kim DaviesPostgraduate research student
John DearingProfessor in Physical Geography
Mary EdwardsProfessor in Physical Geography
Thierry FonvillePostgraduate research student
Hayley GoodesPalaeoecology Technician
David L. HawksworthVisiting Professor in Forensic Ecology and Mycology
Emma-Jayne HoplaPostgraduate research student
Paul HughesProfessor of Palaeoecology
Pete LangdonProfessor of Quaternary Science
Michael LobbPostgraduate Research Student
Helen MacKayPostgraduate Research Student
Roseanna MayfieldPostgraduate Research Student
Ali MonteathPostgraduate research student
Peter MorganLaboratory Manager
Sandra NoguéLecturer in Palaeoenvironmental Science
Benjamin T PenningtonPostgraduate Research Student
Chris RolfePostgraduate research student
Robert ScaifeVisiting Professor in Paleoecology
Sarwar Hossain SohelPostgraduate research student
Rebecca (Becks) SpakeResearch Fellow in Applied Biogeography
Sarah Jane SpinneyPostgraduate Research Student
Maarten van HardenbroekVisiting Researcher
Sarah WardPostgraduate research student
Patricia E.J. WiltshireVisiting Professor in Forensic Ecology, Botany and Palynology

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