I use sediment stratigraphies to reconstruct past environmental conditions using sedimentological and palaeoecological methods. By studying the past we can start to understand how ecosystems will respond to future climatic and land-use changes and other anthropogenic effects. My recent research interest focuses on characterising past climatic, vegetation, and disturbance regime variability, to understand the mechanisms controlling ecosystem processes and how human activity has been an integral mechanism of landscape evolution to varying degrees.
We use a multi-disciplinary approach – combining paleoenvironmental, archaeological, anthropological, historical, and remote sensing data – to disentangle signals of natural and anthropogenic influences on ecosystems and landscapes. We also investigate initial evidence of human impacts on ecosystems, varying degrees of impact through time, and future trajectory scenarios of managed landscapes. I am also interested in the social values and perceptions of land and land cover as well as multi-stakeholder consensus building for land management policy, regulation and practices. This type of research supports the development of sustainable development pathways and our and policy-relevant science can be used to inform principles-based regulation. Other applications of this basic and applied science can be used for risk- and evidence-based approaches in cultural and natural resource management, insurance costings, crisis response and management, natural hazard risk assessments and planning, and regional security studies.
I have been involved in previous and on-going projects in the Arctic, the mountains of western North America, peri-urban areas in Eastern Canada, and tropical East Africa.
- SIDA funded ‘African Resilience to Climate Change’ project focused on northwestern Tanzania (2017-2021)
- NERC-Arup Global Research Challenge Innovation Strategic Partnerships, Environment Dept, U. of York
- Marie Curie Experienced Researcher, University of York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems
- 2013 PhD Earth Sciences, Carleton University, Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre
- 2008 MSc Geography, University of Ottawa Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology
- 2006 BA Geography with History, University of Ottawa
- Palaeoenvironmental and archaeological synthesis of East Africa
- Regional synthesis of past biomass burning activity in East Africa
- Human-environment interactions in East Africa
- Serengeti Experimental Fire project – Leverhulme Fire Network through Colin Beale (U of York, biology dept)
- The Holocene evolution of forest fire controls in interior British Columbia, Canada
- Long-term perspectives on bark beetle outbreaks in the forests of western North America
- Global trends in fire activity – PAGES Global Paleofire Working Group
- Terrestrial-aquatic interactions at small montane watersheds: the role of wildfire on freshwater trophic cascades
- Controls of High Arctic biogeochemical cycling of mercury
- Participant in Oceans2k (PAGES working group)
British Institute in Eastern Africa (Number 130160)
Yorkshire Palaeo-Group (YPG)