Dan's research is focussed on the environmental history of the global tropics, but particularly mainland Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia) and central America.
Dan applies expertise in palaeo-botany and sedimentology to document the response of tropical ecosystems to climatic variability and human activities over long periods of time. The aim of this research is to reveal the complex mechanistic interaction between the biosphere (including humans) and the atmosphere in order to better understand the Earth System.
A key focus of Dan's work is the response of human communities to environmental change. For well over a decade Dan has studied the environmental history of medieval cities in Cambodia, particularly the world-famous city of Angkor. He has recently expanded this work to the Maya cities of central America.