I could never decide which I preferred: earth science or history. That’s how I ended-up studying for a BSc in Geology and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham, and that interest in the interface between human land use and the natural environment has stuck with me throughout my academic career. During my PhD at the University of Edinburgh, I gained expertise in reconstructing past environments (palaeoecology) in the Neotropics. Now my research centres around using those techniques to understand how vegetation in Amazonia has changed over time in response to both natural factors, such as past climate change, and native human influences, such as land management.
Some central themes I try to cover in my research are: long-term, climate driven vegetation dynamics in Amazonia; the scale and nature of pre-European peoples’ impact on Amazonian environments; native agriculture; plant domestication; integrating palaeoecological and archaeological data; the development of palaeoecological techniques (especially pollen and other microfossils); making palaeoecological reconstruction relevant for modern conservation practice.
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