My research focuses on the relationships between plants, people and climate change in the past, present and future. My PhD, at the University of Reading, investigated the roles of humans and climate change in shaping Brazil's iconic, ancient and threatened Araucaria Forests - covering over 21,000 years from the last Ice Age peak to the end of the 21st Century. By understanding how natural climate changes and non-climate factors - like atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, Indigenous communities, and fire - influenced the ecosystems in the past, we gain insights into what we can do in the present to protect them into an increasingly challenging future.
I'm also passionate about connecting non-expert audiences and scientists over research in my areas of interest. Pollen is a particular focus – fossil pollen is one of the best tools available for uncovering past ecological changes, but pollen's importance to the natural world and the sciences which study it goes far beyond this. However, unless you're allergic to it, pollen is all too easy to overlook. That's why I developed the 3D Pollen Project: this combines advanced microscopy with 3D-printing to scan and print the world's pollen for outreach, education and research. The models, which can be downloaded for free (https://3dpollenproject.wixsite.com/main/), have helped spark conversations about all kinds of pollen-related research in countries around the world. At the University of York, I'm expanding the 3D Pollen Project into a comprehensive and globally relevant sample of the world's pollen diversity, as well as pioneering new ways of using the data to connect with public audiences about pollination and palaeoecology.