OUPF People

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DPhil Graduate

Alejandra Mora Soto

Visiting Professor in Zoology

Alex Rogers

DPhil Candidate

Alice Edney

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Andrew Martin

Associate Professor in Physical Climate Science

Andrew Wells

Senior NCAS Research Fellow

Antje Weisheimer

DPhil Candidate

Bétina Frinault

DPhil Candidate

Chloe Kaczvinsky

Visitor (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, NERC)

Chris Huntingford

Associate Professor of the Geology of Planetary Processes

Claire Nichols

Associate Professor of Diplomatic Studies

Corneliu Bjola

Professor of Wildlife Conservation

David Macdonald

Professor of Physical Oceanography

David Marshall

DPhil Candidate

Diana Mastracci

Associate Professor in Planetary Geology

Don Porcelli

DPhil Graduate

Eleanor Thomson

Associate Professor of Palaeobiology

Erin Saupe

Honorary Research Associate of the Environmental Change Institute

Frederike Otto

DPhil Candidate

Georgia Hole

Associate Professor of Biogeochemistry

Heather Bouman

Professor of Ocean and Climate Science

Helen Johnson

DPhil Candidate

Hila Levy

Associate Professor in Mathematics

Ian Hewitt

DPhil Candidate

Ignacio Juárez Martínez

Postdoctoral Researcher

Jeppe Aagaard Kristensen

ECI Office Coordinator

Joan Arthur

Departmental Lecturer in Geography

Jocelyne Hughes

Professor in Atmospheric Physics

Lesley Gray

Senior Research Officer

Luke Jackson

Associate Professor in Physical Geography

Marc Macias-Fauria

DPhil Candidate

Marcus Spiegel

DPhil Candidate

Maria Dance

DPhil Candidate

Matilda Becker

DPhil Candidate

Michael Coughlan

DPhil Candidate

Michaela Peykovska

Professor of Geosystem Science

Myles Allen

DPhil Graduate

Nadezhda Mamontova

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellow

Neven Fučkar

Distinguished Fellow, Rothermere American Institute.

Nigel Bowles

DPhil Candidate

Oscar Hartman-Davies

Director of Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Paul Smith

DPhil Candidate

Rellie Goddard

Chair of Geology

Ros Rickaby

Picture of Sam Cornish looking out over sea ice from research vessel Akademik Fedorov
OUPF Coordinator

Sam Cornish

Associate Professor of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Stuart Robinson

Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Earth Sciences

Thomas Hudson

Royal Society Research Professor

Tim Palmer

Research Fellow in Zoology

Tom Hart

Visiting Fellow at Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment

Trista Patterson

DPhil Candidate

William Hartz

Professor of Ecosystem Science

Yadvinder Malhi

No Results Found

DPhil Graduate

Alejandra Mora Soto

Alejandra’s research concerns the biogeography of giant kelp forests, an ecosystem extending along the temperate coastlines of the Southern Ocean and the west coast of North America. Specifically, her research is about a) mapping the global coverage of this ecosystem, b) understanding the abiotic factors and patterns of the presence of kelp forests c) exploring the differences between kelp forests in different ecoregions and landscape units, and d) monitoring the seasonal and long-term fluctuations of kelp for each ecoregion. This research has its focus in the southern coastline of South America.

Visiting Professor in Zoology

Alex Rogers

I am fascinated by the diversity, ecology, conservation and evolution of marine species. I have special interests in the deep sea, particularly seamounts, cold-water corals and chemosynthetic ecosystems. I employ molecular tools and traditional methods of taxonomy to study the evolution of marine organisms at a range of temporal and spatial scales.

These encompass current environmental factors influencing genetic structure of populations, to historical events associated with past climate change that have shaped the current biota of the oceans. I am also deeply concerned about the impacts of human activities on the oceans and in this respect I work on marine policy. I have undertaken projects for the UN International Seabed Authority, UN Division of Oceans and Law of the Sea, the IUCN and with the G8+5 Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) as a Commissioner for the Commission on Land Use Change and Ecosystems. I am also Scientific Director of the NGO the International Programme on State of the Ocean and I have also worked for other NGOs including the WWF, Greenpeace and the Deep-Sea Conservation Coalition.

DPhil Candidate

Alice Edney

Alice Edney is a DPhil student with a project focused on testing image analysis methods and citizen science data for large-scale monitoring of seabirds.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Andrew Martin

Research Title: “Can soil nutrients provide a limit on recent Arctic greening? An assessment of the progressive nitrogen limitation hypothesis in high-latitude tundra landscapes.” Andrew has wide-ranging interests across biogeography and biodiversity conservation. He is primarily interested in how biodiversity science can be informed by long-term records of environmental and ecological change. He is interested in research that utilises stable isotope analysis, dendrochronology and species distribution modelling.

Associate Professor in Physical Climate Science

Andrew Wells

I am interested in fluid mechanics and thermodynamics, motivated by geophysical processes. My work uses mathematical and numerical methods to develop theoretical models, informed by analogue laboratory experiments. Current research areas include the physics of sea ice, interaction of ice sheets and glaciers with the ocean, and turbulent buoyancy-driven fluid flow.

Senior NCAS Research Fellow

Antje Weisheimer

I am a Senior Research Fellow of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and a co-leader of the Predictability of Weather and Climate group. My main research interests are model-based weather and climate forecasts and the uncertainties associated with them. 

Areas of interest:

  • Predictability and reliability of weather and climate on time scales of days, weeks, months, seasons and years
  • Assessing model uncertainty in weather and climate forecasts
  • Seamless prediction of weather and climate
  • Multi-decadal variability in the climate system and its predictability

I hold a joint position as a senior scientist in the Research Department of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in Reading where I work on seasonal forecasts. 

Since 2014 I have been serving as an Associate Editor of the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society.

Physics Thrive is an informal mentoring network at Oxford Physics to discuss wellbeing, career progression, ED&I issues with anyone in the Department. I am a mentor in Physics Thrive and am happy to take time and listen to people’s questions, worries and concerns. I can offer to discuss their situation together and give a personal woman-in-science perspective on non-standard career paths, work-life balance and related aspects.

DPhil Candidate

Bétina Frinault

Bétina’s research broadly focuses on marine-life, population and community exploration, and conservation ecology of marine environments. She is interested by all regions from shores to continental shelves, and to the high seas and areas beyond national jurisdictions. As a member of the “Weddell Sea Expedition 2019” she is also investigating fauna, ecology, and environmental parameters of marine ecosystems found in environs of the Larsen C ice shelf, Antarctica.

DPhil Candidate

Chloe Kaczvinsky

I am interested in polar environments and ecology, especially in the context of molecular evolution and population genetics and the impact of these factors on species conservation.

I am also drawn to the intersection of scientific and biological research and public policy, focusing on climate change and conservation. I have previously worked on population genetics and disease ecology focusing on tick populations and Lyme disease in the northeastern United States. For my master’s degree I focused on the co-evolution of butterflies (Nymphalidae) and their host plants and the phylogenetics of Nearctic aphids (Aphididae). For my doctorate, I am working under Drs Adrian Smith and Tom Hart to examine the immunogenetics and ecology of gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua).

Visitor (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, NERC)

Chris Huntingford

My research is mainly about the evolving climate system, and trying to help with the effort of determining how this might alter as levels of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations rise. One interest at the moment is if a particular part of the Earth system can be described in terms of differential equations, then is there any chance that these equations can be picked apart analytically to tell us details of expected future change? Global Circulation Models (GCMs) provide our best tool to determine expected future alterations to meteorological conditions. However their complexity means in some regards, they are “black boxes” that are difficult to understand in full. A related current interest is how we may be able to re-interprete the CMIP5 database to learn more about robust features across the range of climate models available.

Associate Professor of the Geology of Planetary Processes

Claire Nichols

I use magnetism as a novel tool to understand Earth and planetary formation, the environment of early Earth and planetary habitability. Earth has undergone billions of years of complex physical and chemical evolution leaving many questions about its earliest history unresolved. By interrogating the magnetic signals preserved by ancient terrestrial and extraterrestrial materials much insight can be gained as to how our solar system and planet formed and how life subsequently emerged. I combine synchrotron and electron microscopy techniques with rock magnetism, paleomagnetism and fieldwork in an attempt to understand planetary formation and Earth’s earliest history.

Associate Professor of Diplomatic Studies

Corneliu Bjola

Corneliu Bjola received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto (2007) and previously taught and conducted research at McMaster University and the University of Toronto. He was a research fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian Defense Force Academy (2012) and China Foreign Affairs University (2016). 

His current research interests relate to the impact of digital technology on the conduct of diplomacy with a focus on strategic communication and digital influence as well as on theories and methods for countering disinformation and propaganda. 

Professor of Wildlife Conservation

David Macdonald

I am interested in the scientific underpinning of practical and policy solutions to problems in wildlife conservation. Although my background is in the behavioural ecology of mammals, my research currently spans taxa ranging from mammals to moths, and is inter-disciplinary (including teams involving environmental economics and the social sciences). Much of my research is stimulated by conflict between people and wildlife, whether it be through predation, infectious disease or invasive species.

In these contexts my team works on long-term data sets on badgers, lions, mink and Ethiopian wolves. A threat uniting many aspects of our research is the ecological basis of social organization, with particular reference to the impacts of both resource dispersion and perturbation. We have special expertise with the Carnivora, and our emphasis on the Felidae currently involves research on Scottish wildcats (problems of hybridisation), lions (problems with trophy hunting and stock-raiding), tigers and leopards (stock-raiding), and the impact of logging on Bornean felids, together with work on the impact of perceptions and attitudes regarding both pumas and jaguars.

Professor of Physical Oceanography

David Marshall

I’m a Physical Oceanographer in the Department of Physics, University of Oxford, and I’m interested in the fluid dynamics of the global ocean circulation. My work spans a wide range of scales, from meters to global, and days to millennia. I use a range of approaches including pen and paper, computational models and observations.

DPhil Candidate

Diana Mastracci

Diana is DPhil candidate at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. Her research focus is on co-developing innovative space applications to advance our ability to understand and anticipate changes in coastal Arctic communities. She has worked both at the European Space Agency (2017-2018) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (2013-2016) researching future trends of EO data dissemination and discovery in the Arctic. Diana was also a researcher for the EU project Citizen Cyberlab: Technology Enhanced Creative Learning in the field of Cyberscience and for the IPY project Dynamics of Circumpolar Land Use and Ethnicity (CLUE): Social Impacts of Policy and Climate Change. She has conducted extensive fieldwork among the Inupiaq community in the Alaskan Arctic and the Nenets reindeer herders in the Russian Arctic.

She holds an MA with Joint Honors in Russian and Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews and an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford. Her MSc thesis presented a novel remote sensing approach to land change analysis, identifying how existing space observation techniques could be used to move towards a bio-cultural study of land cover change using Sakhalin Island as a case study.

Diana also holds a diploma in documentary filmmaking from the EICTV in Cuba, was a visiting student at St Petersburg State University, Russia and a visiting scholar at the Geomatics and Cartographic Research Center at Carleton University, Canada. She is also a science advisor for the Sedna Epic Expedition, an all-female team of explorers, scientists and divers that will mount a snorkel relay of the NorthWest Passage in 2020 as a climate change/citizen science call of action.

Associate Professor in Planetary Geology

Don Porcelli

My research has been focused on understanding a range of processes in the Earth Sciences using trace element distributions and isotope ratios, both with laboratory measurements and quantitative models. This includes research in:

  • The origin of volatiles in the terrestrial planets and their distribution within the Earth using noble gas isotopes and models of planetary growth and interior structure.
  • Weathering, water-rock interaction, and aqueous transport using naturally occurring radionuclides in the U and Th decay series and a range of trace metal stable isotopes.
  •  The geochemistry of the Arctic Ocean to trace the circulation and behaviour of terrestrial inputs, to identify sediment-water interactions in coastal regions, and to quantify the fluxes of terrestrial carbon.
  • The geochemistry of the Lena River of eastern Siberia that supplies nutrients and trace metals to the Arctic Ocean, and which drains a vast area underlain by permafrost subject to substantial changes during climate warming.
  • The isotopic changes in trace elements due to weathering, water-rock interactions, and microbial processes, as the basis for developing methods for tracing environmental processes.
  • The reconstruction of paleoenvironments in depositional basins using isotopic signatures found in sediments, including redox conditions and the sources of deposited material.

I am coordinator of the EC Marie Curie Initial Training Network MetTrans (Metal Transport in the Environment).

DPhil Graduate

Eleanor Thomson

Remote sensing, Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV), Plant Traits, Carbon cycle.

Associate Professor of Palaeobiology

Erin Saupe

Erin Saupe is a palaeobiologist working to investigate interactions between life and environments over geological time scales. Research in the Saupe Lab addresses fundamental questions on the origin, maintenance, and conservation of biological diversity. More specifically, we integrate biological data with information from the fossil record to elucidate the controls on community and species’ responses to environmental change across various spatial and temporal scales. The Saupe Lab also focuses attention on the newly-emerging field of conservation palaeobiology, which applies deep-time information to current problems of species conservation. Our work in this field provides vital information for assessing how current and future climate change will impact the Earth’s biodiversity. In general, our research is question- rather than methods-driven, but we apply a diverse toolkit to investigating these lines of research, including quantitative techniques such as modelling, genetics, and environmental reconstructions.

Honorary Research Associate of the Environmental Change Institute

Frederike Otto

Friederike (Fredi) is an Honorary Research Associate of the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, and an Associate Professor in the Global Climate Science Programme.

Her main research interest is on extreme weather events such as droughts, heat waves and storms, and understanding whether and to what extent these are made more likely or intense due to climate change. She leads several projects understanding the impacts of man-made climate change on natural and social systems with a particular focus on Africa and India.

Fredi is the co-lead of World Weather Attribution (WWA), an international effort to analyse and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events, hosted at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. Through rapid attribution studies, which provide timely scientific evidence showing the extent to which climate change influenced a given event, WWA has helped to change the global conversation around climate change, influencing adaptation strategies and paving the way for new sustainability litigation.

In 2019 Fredi was named one of New Scientist‘s ‘Ones to Watch’ and in 2020 climate change attribution was named one of MIT Tech Review‘s top ten breakthrough technologies. In 2020, Fredi became one of just 10 international climate scientists to join the core writing team of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) – the document that will integrate all the IPCC reports in the current assessment cycle.

Fredi’s work has been featured extensively in global media including the FT, Economist, Times of India, the Sun, Wall Street Journal, Telegraph, Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Mail, Die Zeit, Der Spiegel, BBC, and CNN.

DPhil Candidate

Georgia Hole

My current DPhil research focuses on the Arctic environment, and specifically the interaction of climate and sea ice extent throughout the Holocene. I am using driftwood as a proxy for sea ice by tracking its age and path across the Arctic Ocean while caught up in sea-ice, enabling the concurrent ice sheet dynamics to be reconstructed. With sufficient sample collection from Arctic field sites, a pan-Arctic sea-ice reconstruction of high temporal and spatial resolution can be achieved. The expected research results will be used to address important questions on past sea-ice dynamics and the coupling of sea-ice with surface currents and atmospheric circulation. It will also feed into further environmental research, such as hypotheses on the coupling between sea-ice and arctic biota and proxy-model comparisons of sea-ice and climate. 

Associate Professor of Biogeochemistry

Heather Bouman

My interests are in understanding and quantifying marine phytoplankton production on a global scale. My approach is to combine field observations with satellite remote sensing to improve knowledge of the factors governing the taxonomic structure and biogeochemical function of phytoplankon communities. I am also interested in exploring the utility of marine bio-optics and molecular biology as tools for monitoring the ecological and physiological dynamics of marine ecosystems.

Professor of Ocean and Climate Science

Helen Johnson

I work to improve our understanding of ocean circulation and the role it plays in the climate system, using fluid dynamics theory, simple and state-of-the-art numerical models and ocean observations. I am particularly interested in the dynamics of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

DPhil Candidate

Hila Levy

One of the most poorly understood elements affecting penguin populations under environmental stress from climate change and competition for prey is the role of disease. My research aims to uncover the present state of parasite and pathogen diversity and prevalence in sub-Antarctic and Antarctic penguins. Using the latest genetic techniques, I am attempting to map host-pathogen population structure across the region to inform conservation policy.

Associate Professor in Mathematics

Ian Hewitt

I am an applied mathematician, using mathematical models to investigate a range of scientific problems. Much of my research relates to geoscience – a particular focus is on glaciers and ice sheets and their interaction with the climate system.

Research interests: fluid dynamics, glaciers and ice sheets, industrial mathematics, fluid-structure interactions, multiphase problems.

DPhil Candidate

Ignacio Juárez Martínez

Igancio’s current research makes use of technological advancements for the acquisition of biologically-meaningful data to be used for conservation. He uses time-lapse imagery from camera-trap data in order to monitor the breeding ecology of penguin colonies all over the Antarctic Peninsula and Subantarctic Islands. The plan is to not only study penguins from a conservation perspective but also to include their behavioural ecology in order to understand how can the different threats impact their populations.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Jeppe Aagaard Kristensen

Dr Kristensen is an ecosystem scientist studying the interactions between biotic and abiotic components of the Earth System. He has in recent years become increasingly interested in the role large mammals play in shaping their own physical, chemical and biological environments, i.e. as ecosystem engineers. As he also wants to make a difference outside academia, he has started collaborations with groups in Oxford (UK), Aarhus and Copenhagen (DK) to reveal the potential of megafauna rewilding for achieving climate goals while also preserving or possibly increase biodiversity.

ECI Office Coordinator

Joan Arthur

Departmental Lecturer in Geography

Jocelyne Hughes

Jocelyne’s research focuses on understanding and quantifying the ecology, hydrology and management of wetlands and freshwater habitats. She has particular interests in the ecological role of micro hydraulic environments provided by aquatic plants in rivers and wetlands; water and nutrient cycling in wetlands; wetland vegetation dynamics; constructed wetlands; biogeography of aquatic plants; non-native freshwater species; freshwater ecosystem services; and the conservation of freshwaters. She is involved in a number of digital teaching projects and public engagement initiatives for wildlife conservation.

Professor in Atmospheric Physics

Lesley Gray

Prof. Lesley Gray is a Senior Research Scientist of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). Her expertise is in understanding and modelling dynamical processs in the stratosphere and their impact on surface weather, with an emphasis on natural variablilty. This includes studies of sudden stratospheric warmings, polar vortex events, the quasi biennial oscillation (QBO), semi-annual oscillation (SAO) and the impact of explosive volcanic and the 11-year solar cycle.

Professor Lesley Gray has been elected President of the Royal Meteorological Society. Currently vice-president, she will take up the presidency for two years from October 2022 and, as is customary, assume the role of vice-president again for a further year after that. 

Senior Research Officer

Luke Jackson

Luke’s research focusses on understanding the interaction of human activity and climate change: empirical modelling of energy balance systems The project concentrates on developing econometric methods to augment climate-economic research by helping disentangle complex relationships between human actions and climate responses and their associated economic effects, masked by stochastic trends and breaks. This will lead to an improved understanding of the impact of humanity on climate and vice versa, on how econometrics can be used in climate-economic research, help create more accurate historical climate records, and reduce uncertainty in socio-economic scenarios for long-run predictions of the resulting climate damages.

Associate Professor in Physical Geography

Marc Macias-Fauria

Dr Marc Macias-Fauria is an ecologist who focuses on cold environments. His research is mostly directed at understanding the coupling of physical and biological systems (biogeoscience). He employs long-term ecological records and modelling to understand ecological and biogeographic processes as they are constrained by the physical environment.

He gained a degree in Biology at the University of Barcelona, an MSc at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, and a PhD at the Department of Geology (now Department of Geosciences & Geography), University of Helsinki, where he studied the climate controls on boreal forest wildfires, tree-growth, and insect outbreaks.

DPhil Candidate

Marcus Spiegel

Remote sensing, herbivory, terrestrial vegetation, climate change, Siberia.

DPhil Candidate

Maria Dance

Sea ice is an important seasonal habitat and dispersal corridor for many Arctic species and is a major geographic barrier for others, both marine and terrestrial. It affects population dynamics, species distributions, and species interactions. Maria’s research tests hypotheses on the influence of Arctic sea ice on ice-associated species during the Holocene period (11,700 years to present) using pan-Arctic, driftwood-based sea ice reconstructions and phylogeographic data. Comparing long-term sea ice variability with species population histories will improve predictions of the impacts of climate-driven sea ice loss on species throughout the Arctic.

DPhil Candidate

Matilda Becker

My research looks at the intersection between mining, land claims processes and environmental governance in the Canadian Northwest Territories. I endeavour to combine legal and more-than-human geographies with indigenous studies, to understand the mosaic of pressures and actors directing and affecting the economic and social development of the region. I am supervised by Professor Sarah Whatmore and Dr Catharina Landstrom.

DPhil Candidate

Michael Coughlan

I’m applying network science and complex systems theory to melting processes on a glacial scale. In particular I’m examining the formation and evolution of ice sheet melt ponds by modeling them as a network of individual ponds linked by channels distributing meltwater amongst them. By examining the system as a simple model like this we can determine the collective melting behaviour and how it affects the stability and break-up of ice sheets.

DPhil Candidate

Michaela Peykovska

My doctoral research aims to work closely with Sámi people to understand what it means to be indigenous in a modern country like Sweden.

Professor of Geosystem Science

Myles Allen

Professor of Geosystem Science in the School of Geography and the Environment, and Head of the Climate Dynamics Group in the Department of Physics. Myles Allen’s research focuses on how human and natural influences on climate contribute to observed climate change and risks of extreme weather and in quantifying their implications for long-range climate forecasts.

DPhil Graduate

Nadezhda Mamontova

Nadia’s thesis is devoted to the comparative study of spatial knowledge, language, and adaptation among the Ewenki people of Northeastern and Central Siberia. The uniqueness of the Ewenki lies in the fact that they are one of the few indigenous groups in the Arctic living in such expansive and diverse environmental surroundings as mountainous taiga, tundra, coasts and steppes. The central question of her research is how Ewenki language encodes space and landscape, and what this reveals about people’s spatial knowledge, patterns of movement, and adaptation to new environments.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellow

Neven Fučkar

Dr Neven S. Fučkar is a climate scientist who focuses on dynamics, prediction, attribution and impacts of extreme events in a changing climate by using observations, reanalysis products, impact models, initialized predictions, and CMIP5/6 and weather/OpenIFS@home simulations. Furthermore, Neven’s research interests encompass hydrological cycle, polar processes, interaction between the climate system and the human system affecting health, food production, water resources and markets, climate-related risk assessment and adaptation, and numerical, statistical and machine learning methods. From January to May 2021, Neven was a University of Oxford OPEN fellow working on the connection of climate variability and change with human health and food systems at the Climate Change and Health Group, Public Health England. Additionally, he has been awarded a COP26 Fellowship in Climate Risk by the COP26 Universities Network.

Distinguished Fellow, Rothermere American Institute.

Nigel Bowles

Prior to serving as full-time Director of the RAI, 2011-15, Nigel Bowles was for more than twenty years Tutorial Fellow in Politics at St Anne’s College, Oxford. He was previously a staff member in the House of Commons before being appointed a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Edinburgh. His intellectual interests lie in American political history and, in particular, in the history of the US Presidency. Among his publications are The White House and Capitol Hill, an exploration of the politics of presidential lobbying; and Nixon’s Business: Authority and Power in Presidential Politics, in which he examines the relationship between authority and power in five cases of President Nixon’s leadership of economic policy.

DPhil Candidate

Oscar Hartman-Davies

Oscar is an environmental and cultural geographer interested in the practices and politics of environmental sensing in the European and North American Arctic. His doctoral research investigates how the Arctic has come to be known as a sentinel or ‘canary in the coal mine’ of global environmental change, applying a material semiotic approach to trace this notion and its effects across different sensing assemblages, from community-based monitoring to citizen science projects and large transnational Arctic expeditions, and their varied efforts to assemble and mobilise concerned publics.

Director of Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Paul Smith

Prof Smith’s geological research is focussed on the interactions of Earth systems and organisms from the late Neoproterozoic to the Ordovician, using a combination of palaeobiology, sedimentology and geochemistry. Specific research questions he has addressed recently include the transition from warm-water carbonates to glacial conditions at the start of the Sturtian Snowball Earth event; complex feedback loops as drivers of the Cambrian Explosion; the sequence stratigraphy of Cambro-Ordovician carbonate systems on the Laurentian margin; and the use of oxygen isotopes in conodonts to reconstruct water masses in Ordovician oceans.

DPhil Candidate

Rellie Goddard

My research looks at measuring the paleostress that exhumed lower crustal rocks were subjected to during deformation. In particularly I am interested in mapping the stress profile, and therefore strength profile, across an exhumed lower crustal fault. My field area is the Great Slave Lake shear zone, Northwest Territories, Canada where an exposed ductile shear zone represents an ancient plate boundary. Understanding the strength of the deeper, ductile, sections of faults will help in producing more accurate models of the earthquake cycle. I am supervised by Professor Lars Hansen and Dr David Wallis.

Chair of Geology

Ros Rickaby

I am fascinated by the jigsaw of complex interactions between the evolution of organisms, ocean chemistry, atmospheric composition and Earth’s climate. The extraction of chemical signatures from fossil shells of marine micro-organisms as a tool for constraining past ocean conditions and their influence on climate is fundamental to my research. Yet frustration with the complexities of disentangling the “inorganic” geochemical signal from the overprint of the biomineralising processes has triggered me to seek innovative alternative approaches to constraining past climates and environments. Increasingly I am probing the geological past from the biology of modern day organisms. This ambition broadens into probing biological innovation and environmental change over Earth history since the feedback between the two is inescapable. All modern day organisms have experienced a long evolutionary pathway to arrive at their present incarnation and this history has been accrued to some extent within the genome and physiology of modern day organisms. Indeed such evolutionary history influences the tolerance of different algae to ocean acidification for example, or the trace metal nutrient requirements of different groups of algae across the tree of life. So my approach is to read the geological history of both climate and the chemical environment from signals of adaptation within genes, which plays out in the evolving affinity and kinetics of the expressed enzymes, or isotopic signals of adaptation within biologically relevant molecules. I lead the OceanBUG research group and my quest for a new proxy based on biological understanding of the signal is reflected in our current projects which include:

  • Species-specific coccolithophore response to ocean acidification
  • Lifting the CAP on coccolithophore calcification: characterising acidic polysaccharides which mould the calcite liths of coccolithophores as probes of the past carbon environment
  • Squelching into the fine mud: dissecting the fine fractions of sediments to read the physiological controls on the isotopes of both coccoliths and diatoms
  • Characterisation of modern and ancient algal Rubisco with implications for carbon isotopes and acquisition

OUPF Coordinator

Sam Cornish

Sam is the Coordinator of the OUPF, a hub for researchers within the university working on all things polar. The forum exists to connect polar research within Oxford, and increase its impact beyond Oxford. Please contact Sam to learn more about OUPF or to get involved.

Sam is a polar scientist himself, and has just submitted his doctoral thesis, supervised by Helen Johnson and Yavor Kostov, and funded by the NERC DTP in Environmental Research. His research concerns the changing Arctic Ocean. In particular, he studies the interactions between wind patterns, sea ice dynamics and thermodynamics, and freshwater in the ocean.

Sam is also a keen science communicator with a particular interest in audio and podcasting. He participated in the MOSAiC expedition and created a series of short podcasts that animate the science of this year-round scientific campaign in the Arctic Ocean. These can be found here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1009144 as well as on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.

Associate Professor of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Stuart Robinson

My research focuses on the study of past environments, past climates and the impacts of major environmental change. In particular, I focus on how components of the Earth system (e.g. climate, carbon cycling, oceanography) have operated in the geological past, with a particular interest in periods of extreme greenhouse warmth, such as the Mesozoic Era (250 to 65 million years ago) and early Cenozoic (65 to 35 Ma). Warm intervals in Earth history, characterised by an absence of large polar ice sheets, high sea levels, and major perturbations to ocean chemistry, provide examples of how the Earth system works under very different boundary conditions to the present day. Understanding the processes operating in the geological past can help inform our understanding of how our planet may evolve in the future in response to anthropogenic CO2 release.

I use a multidisciplinary approach drawing on geology, palaeontology and geochemistry to reconstruct Earth history and work closely with climate modellers. The comparison of model simulations of Earth’s past climates compared with proxy records of climate allows us to gain mechanistic insights into the workings of the Earth system. I have conducted fieldwork in many parts of the world and participated in two scientific ocean drilling expeditions.

Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Earth Sciences

Thomas Hudson

I am a seismologist, using geophysical observations, novel data processing methods and simple geophysical models to improve our understanding of fundamental earth system processes. My current expertise is primarily in elucidating geophysical processes at glaciers and volcanoes.

Royal Society Research Professor

Tim Palmer

My research spans a wide variety of areas, from the theoretical to the practical, in issues related to the predictability and dynamics of weather and climate. On the theoretical side, I am especially interested in aspects of the climate system which exhibit nonlinear behaviour, for example where climatic processes on different space and time scales interact.

On the practical side, I pioneered the development of probabilistic weather and climate ensemble forecast systems, and worked on the application of weather and climate forecasts e.g. for malaria prediction, flood forecasting, and crop yield estimation.

Most recently, my research has focused on the notion of imprecise computing to simulate climate at extremely high resolution. I believe strongly in the notion of a “CERN for Climate Change” to tackle many of challenges of simulating climate accurately.

Research Fellow in Zoology

Tom Hart

My research centres around how to monitor penguins and other marine predators in difficult environments such as Antarctica. Many of the most important environments on the planet are too data deficient to understand global change and to permit effective management. I spend a lot of time developing tools and techniques to scale up monitoring and data gathering from these environments. One of the most important is SnowBank – a repository and swap shop for polar samples, which aims to reduce the cost of polar research. I go to lots of remote places around the Southern Ocean – if you need samples that I can collect, please get in touch.

Population genetics of penguins. 

I am carrying out population genetic and phylogeographic studies of penguins around Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic, using microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA. The aim of this project is to see how different species of penguin populations are structured around the Southern Ocean and how these populations have changed in the past in response to changing ice conditions. The aim is to define biologically meaningful management units for policy makers and to help identify where best to place protected areas. There are many collaborators for this work, but primarily Mike Polito at Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute and Steve Emslie at UNCW.

Cameras, counts and citizen science.

Monitoring animals in such an extreme climate is challenging.  Many species spend much of their time at sea, and the environment they live in is both hostile and remote, making the visits required to monitor them, demanding and costly. For these reasons, the monitoring efforts for many penguin colonies in Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic islands have to date, been limited.  However, by adapting existing camera technology and using time-lapse photography, we are trialling the development of a new monitoring array for the southern polar region.  By monitoring remotely, we hope to be able to ask new questions about the response of Antarctic penguins to their changing world. One such site is at Port Lockroy run by the Antarctic Heritage Trust, where we have set up a camera next to a monitored colony.

By collaborating with tourist operators we are trying to reach many more potential monitoring sites over the Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands.  It is possible to expand the current monitoring network to include a far greater coverage of species and network sites, in a cost effective manner. I work closely with the Zoological Society of London, Oceanites’ Antarctic Site Inventory and Heather Lynch at Stony Brook University.

Visiting Fellow at Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment

Trista Patterson

Dr. Trista Patterson is a consulting economist, synthesis author, and senior advisor for intragovernmental organizations (UN Environment, World Bank, Nordic countries, former US govt). She specializes in emerging/disruptive technology and innovation, economic policy and valuation, systems analysis and strategic foresight for improved return on investment for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Current projects guide globally influential public/private consortia in newmedia and economic development (green/circular economy/indicators). Her synthesis and fieldwork has covered remote and under-reported regions in the Arctic, Himalayas, Africa and Brazilian Amazon.

DPhil Candidate

William Hartz

My primary research interests are in Organic Chemistry and in Polar regions. Hence I have become interested in Arctic pollution, particularly persistent organic pollutants. For my research I wish to understand this further by quantifying their presence, potentially through the development of new techniques, in abiota (and more rarely biota) with the intent of shedding more light of the movement of pollutants to and within polar regions.

Professor of Ecosystem Science

Yadvinder Malhi

As Professor of Ecosystem Science at the School of Geography and the Environment and Programme Leader in Ecosystems at the Environmental Change Institute, Prof. Malhi’s research interests focus on interactions between forest ecosystems and the global atmosphere, with a particular focus on their role in global carbon, energy and water cycles, and in understanding how the ecology of natural ecosystems may be shifting in response to global atmospheric change. More recently his interests have expanded to include the impacts and limitation of tropical deforestation.