COE St Audries cycles
Cyclic Triassic deposits, UK

An essential component in understanding climate change, and predicting its future progression and consequences, is determining the course and drivers of past changes in the Earth system from the geological record. The Earth's record of sedimentary deposits provides us not only with a spectrum of events of different magnitudes and drivers, but also the opportunity to study the feedbacks and recovery from the event, as well as the onset.

Coming Soon
Lake sediment sampling, S. America

Members of the team based at the Open University who research palaeoenvironmental change have a long-standing reputation for the reconstruction of past environments from biological, chemical and physical measurements in sedimentary deposits and other natural archives. We are using these measurements and archives to advance our knowledge of changes in atmospheric, marine and terrestrial processes, carbon cycling among Earth’s reservoirs, and the interaction of life with the environment. We benefit from the use of a suite of state-of-the-art geochemical, micropalaeontological, sediment processing and numerical modelling facilities at the Open University.

We work from the poles to the equator, throughout the oceans and across a range of terrestrial environments.  We address fundamental problems spanning from annual to multi-million year timescales  and from the last few hundred years back to hundreds of millions of years ago.

Our research strengths include:

  • development and application of microfossil, elemental concentrations, stable and radiogenic isotopic research tools (‘proxies’)
  • past changes in carbon cycling between and within reservoirs, including ocean acidification
  • measuring ocean de-oxygenation and its biological consequences
  • reconstructing past sea surface temperatures, sea-level change, deep ocean temperatures and global continental ice volume
  • ecological, biogeographic and evolutionary processes in oceanic and terrestrial environments, both past and present
  • physics of the atmosphere, ocean and cryosphere
  • development and exploitation of high and intermediate complexity Earth system models
  • determining the rate and duration of Earth processes using astrochronology, palaeomagnetism and radiometric dating
  • determining the impacts of early humans on the environment
  • expertise on Earth surface processes ranging from the tropics to the poles.

     T H E M E S

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