Originally from Canada’s east coast, my interest in past environmental change was sparked as an undergraduate when I learned of the rapid climate and vegetation shifts that occurred in the North Atlantic region.
I studied for my PhD at the University of Edinburgh (2005 – 2009) where I examined climate and vegetation change from the last glacial period until present in the world’s largest tropical wetland. From there, I continued my research into human and climatic causes of tropical environmental change and I joined Northumbria University in January 2015
My research contributes to understanding the climatic and human influences on tropical biome distribution, species abundance, and biodiversity. Using pollen and other microfossils preserved in sedimentary environments, such as algal remains and microscopic charcoal, I analyse how tropical plant communities have responded to historical disturbances. My research also extends as far back as the last ice age to gauge how tropical biomes have responded to high magnitude climate change
– Elucidating patterns of Pre-Columbian land-use in South and Central America using empirical and modelling approaches
– Investigating origin of biodiversity hotspots in the central Andes
– Exploring tropical peat formation and vegetation dynamics in Mesoamerica and Amazonia