Nick Loughlin

Loughlin_photo croppedPhD student



I’m a NERC / CESPAR funded PhD student (2013 to present). My work is focused on the response of tropical forests to anthropogenic impact and past changes in global climate.


My research involves the analysis of lake sediments from within the cloud forest of northern Ecuador to determine changes to the vegetation communities through the Holocene.  The cloud forest is located on the steep slopes of the Andean mountains above the tropical rainforest of the Amazon at an altitude of 700-3400 metres above sea level. It is home to an exceptionally diverse flora and contains many endemic species that are under severe threat due to human activity.

I am using a multi-proxy approach that involves the use of pollen, chironomids, non-pollen palynomorphs, charcoal and wood macro-fossils to reconstruct the vegetation dynamics of the cloud forest.  This will allow us to determine the ecological baseline of the forest and understand the impacts that humans have had on the vegetation communities through time.


  • MSc Palaeobiology, University of Bristol
  • BSc Geological Sciences, University of Plymouth


Dr Encarni Montoya, Dr William Gosling and Dr Angela Coe


Loughlin, N.J.D., and Hillier, R.D. 2010. Early Cambrian Teichichnus-dominated ichnofabrics and palaeoenvironmental analysis of the Caerfai Group, Southwest Wales, UK, Palaeogeography. Palaeoclimatology. Palaeoecology. 297, 239-251.