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School of Geography

MSc by research projects (2018 start) supervised by Graeme Swindles 

 

1. Why do hiatuses and spontaneous recoveries in peatlands occur?

Rationale: There is much concern that peatlands will dry out under warming climate and switch from sinks to sources of carbon.

Details: The student will carry out an analysis of existing data alongside computer modelling to examine the conditions under which peatlands have a net loss of peat. Spontaneous recovery of peatlands following disturbances will also be investigated.

Methods: Literature-based data collection and numerical analysis/computer modelling.

 

2. Evidence of the 8.2 ka BP climate event from Dead Island bog, Northern Ireland

Rationale: The 8.2 ka BP event is one of the most pronounced climate events of the Holocene and is thought to have been caused by meltwater release into the North Atlantic. However, there is little evidence for it in British terrestrial palaeoclimatic archives.

Details: In this project a core will be taken from Dead Island bog, Northern Ireland and analysed to achieve a high resolution multiproxy dataset. Evidence for the peatland’s response to the rapid 8.2 ka BP climate event and other early Holocene events will be evaluated.

Methods: The project will involve fieldwork in N. Ireland and laboratory analyses.

 

3. What are the dominant periodicities of Holocene climate?

Rationale: To fully understand present and future climate change and understanding of natural climate variability is needed.

Details: This project involves a large meta-analysis of proxy climate data from literature alongside statistical modelling to determine the dominant periodicities of Holocene climate and decipher noise from signal.

Methods: The project is a computer-based investigation.

 

4. Defining the Anthropocene using statistical methods

Rationale: There has been much debate over the formalisation of the Anthropocene as a formal geological epoch and when the new epoch should begin.

Details: We will use a variety of statistical and numerical methods to model when the proposed Anthropocene epoch began using a variety of indicators.

Methods: The project is a computer-based investigation.

 

5. Testate amoebae as environmental indicators in natural and artificial peat pools

Rationale: Methods for biomonitoring of natural and artificial peat pools are needed.

Details: We will investigate the ecology of testate amoebae in natural and artificial peat pools and test their potential as environmental indicators.

Methods: The project will involve fieldwork in N. England and laboratory analyses.


6. Volcanic ash stratigraphy of the Alaska North slope

Rationale: Little is known about the volcanic ash record of Arctic Alaska.

Details: This project will focus on developing a detailed tephrostratigraphy from peatlands in the Alaska Arctic.

Methods: Laboratory-based analysis.

 

7. The use of testate amoebae in geoforensic soil descrimination

Rationale: The potential of testate amoebae for forensic soil discrimination needs to be fully evaluated.

Details: This project will focus on developing an experiment to test the efficacy of testate amoebae for forensic soil discrimination.

Methods: Fieldwork in Britain and laboratory-based analyses.