University of St Andrews



Following a first degree in Natural Sciences and Geography at Cambridge (1997), I stayed on to study the environmental history of Greece for my PhD (2001). My project focused on pollen analysis and related investigations of sequences of lake sediments and peats from sites mainly in northern Greece. I continue to work in this field, for example through an analysis of Holocene and last glacial lake level changes at Ioannina by my PhD student Tim Jones. Currently our group is focusing on completing the pollen record for Ioannina core I-284 which, at 319 m and c. 350 kyr in length, is one of the principal long Quaternary records in Europe.

Subsequently I moved to the University of Aberdeen as a PDRF working with Prof Kevin Edwards on a multidisciplinary Leverhulme-funded project investigating the environmental response to settlement by the Norse (Vikings) across the North Atlantic islands (Faroes, Iceland, Greenland) in the late first millennium AD.

I was appointed to a lectureship in Aberdeen in 2004 and moved to the University of Leeds in 2005. At Leeds my research interests expanded to include research on the palaeoecology of tropical peatlands and the processes that control their development and modern flora, specifically in Peruvian Amazonia and in the Congo Basin.

I have also undertaken some review analyses of Holocene tephra (volcanic ash) dispersal in Europe, and of palaeoclimatic records in Ireland.


  • Member of the PGR Committee


Research Interests

My ongoing research interests include:

  • Pollen analysis of small forest hollows from lowland Peru
  • The palaeoecology of Congolese peatlands
  • Completion of the pollen record from core I-284, Ioannina, Greece
  • Palaeoecological data analysis and synthesis


Teaching Interests

I contribute to the following modules:

  • GG1001 Geography: Understanding our Changing World
  • GG2011 Geographical Processes and Change
  • SG3201 Research Design and Methodology Training (and variants of this module)
  • SG4224 Advanced Topics in Physical Sciences
  • SD5001 Interrogating Sustainable Development

I am also happy to supervise review essays and dissertations in areas overlapping my research interests.

Postgraduate Students

I am currently supervising or co-supervising four PhD students, all funded by NERC:

  • Tom Kelly (palaeoecology of Amazonian peatlands)
  • Freddie Draper (ecology and carbon mapping of Amazonian peatlands)
  • Greta Dargie (carbon mapping of Congolese peatlands)
  • Liz Watson (tephrostratigraphy of NW Europe)