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School of Geography

Graeme Swindles Dr Graeme Swindles

Contact details

Room Garstang 10.31
School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK


+44 (0) 113 34 39127

Student hours:
Tuesday 10am - 12.30pm [not reading week]

Research overview

I am Associate Professor of Earth System Dynamics. I have quite broad research interests in Earth System Science and work on topics concerning both past and present environmental change. My work crosses the disciplines of ecology, palaeoecology and geology. I work in a diverse range of environments from Arctic tundra to tropical rainforests in a range of locations including South and Central America, Canada, Sweden, Britain, Ireland and Alaska.

Major research foci include (i) the long-term ecohydrological dynamics and functioning of temperate, tropical and subarctic peatlands; (ii) the use of testate amoebae as environmental indicators in peatlands and lakes; (iii)  high-resolution dating methods including tephrochronology; (iv) the critical examination of past human response and adaptation to climate change using palaeoenvironmental and archaeological data; (v) the use of palaeoenvironmental data and probability modelling in geohazards research; and (vi) the use of quantitative reconstruction and statistical modelling techniques for understanding long-term climatic and environmental change. I am one of the founding members of Leeds Quaternary. Follow #LeedsQuaternary on Twitter for updates on our activities.

For up to date information, have a look at my Twitter page

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PhD and Masters by research supervision

I welcome PhD and MbR applications in the following areas:

  • Palaeoclimate and palaeoecology
  • Ecohydrological and carbon dynamics of tropical, subarctic and temperate peatlands
  • Quaternary science
  • Tephrochronology
  • Volcanic ash hazards
  • Past human-environment relations
  • Testate amoebae as environmental indicators

Masters by research students

1. Elliot Kilbride (self-funded): 'Long-term dynamics of tropical peatlands'. 2016 - present (Primary supervisor).

PhD students

1. Claire Cooper (Leeds Anniversary Scholarship): 'Volcano-climate interactions in the Holocene'. 2016 - present (Primary supervisor).

Completed PhDs

1. Dr Liz Watson (University of Leeds - NERC with Willis as CASE partner): 'Refining the NW European tephra record for probabalistic modelling'. 2012 - 2016 (Primary supervisor).

2. Dr Alex Surtees (University of Bradford - Self-funded): 'Earth Science applications of Raman spectroscopy'. 2010 - 2016 (Co-supervisor).

3. Dr Garry Rushworth (University of Bradford - NERC): 'Late Quaternary vegetation history of the southern Yorkshire Dales'. 2007- 2012 (Primary supervisor).

4. Dr Ed Turner (University of Leeds - NERC): 'Testing the causes of recent environmental changes in peatlands'. Completed (Primary supervisor).

5. Dr Heidi Rea (QUB - DEL): 'Peatland archives of recent (last circa 200 years) climate and environmental change in the north of Ireland'. Completed (Co-supervisor).

6. Dr Sarah-Jane Clelland (University of Bradford - NERC): 'Archaeomagnetic dating in the British Iron Age'. Completed (Co-supervisor).

Postdoctoral researchers

1. Dr Jane Wheeler (University of Bradford): 'Finding Bosworth Battlefield' - funded by the Battlefield Trust. Completed - 2009.

2. Dr Jane Wheeler (University of Leeds): Testing the cause of Molinia caerulea dominance in peatlands' - funded by Lafarge. 2014-present.

Research assistants

1. Cassandra Raby (2013)

2. Kimberley Goodall (2014)



Contact me for a PowerPoint presentation about my research or call my office for a chat.