University of St Andrews


Photo of Keith Bennett


Keith has a BA, MA and PhD from the University of Cambridge (UK). He held at postdoc position at the University of Toronto from 1983 to 1985 then joined the staff at the Deaprtment of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge, becoming Assistant Director of Research (1985-1998). He was appointed Professor at Uppsala University (Sweden) in 1998, where he was responsible for the Quaternary Geology programme (1998-2004) and then Palaeobiology programme (2004-2006). Between 2007 and 2015 he was Professor of Late-Quaternary Environmental Change at Queen's University Belfast (UK), and Head of School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology from 2009 until 2014. He joined the University of St Andrews as Professor of Environmental Change in 2016 and is now Head of School.

Keith has written one book (Evolution and Ecology: the pace of life: CUP, 1997) and over 100 scientific articles. See Google Scholar for a list.


  • Head of School
  • Member, Editorial Advisory Board  The Holocene
  • Chair, Scientific Programme Committee for INQUA Dublin 2019
  • Director of Research
  • Chair, SGSD Research Committee
  • Member, SGSD Post Graduate Taught Programmes Committee


Research Interests

Keith's main interests are in the response of organisms to environmental changes on timescales of millenia and longer. Much of this response involves the movement of populations on sub-continental scales, investigated by means of analyses of the abundance of microfossils in the sediments of small lakes. He is increasingly involved in investigations of ancient DNA from microfossils and sediments as part of understanding both population movements and evolution of populations and species in relation to environmental change.


Teaching Interests

Keith’s teaching interests cover: Palaeoecology, environmental change and history of science. He is also interested in inter-disciplinarity and teaching across human and physical geography.

He currently teaches at St Andrews on the following modules:

  • GG1001: Welcome to the Anthropocene: Society, Population and Environment
  • ID1004: Great Ideas
  • GG2011: Geographical Processes and Change (and Fort William and Berwick residential field courses)
  • GG3100: Reconstructing Past Environments
  • GG4298 Dissertation in Geography (Single Hons)
  • GG3241: Quaternary Palaeoecology