Thomas Sim

Thomas Sim


I am a third year PhD student funded by a NERC DTP scholarship, researching the response of peatlands to recent climate change. I completed a Masters by Research and undergraduate studies in BSc Geography also at the University of Leeds, with the latter including a study abroad year at the University of Queensland, Australia. 

Research interests

I am interested in all aspects of palaeoecology and environmental change. More specifically I am interested in using palaeoenvironmental records to understand how and when humans began to change environments and how we can use modern environments to understand the past.

Project overview:

  1. In the first chapter of my PhD I have investigated the divergent response of permafrost peatlands to recent climate change in northern Sweden. This work highlighted the complex dynamics of permafrost peatlands – particularly in relation to autogenic factors - and warns against an overly-simple approach when considering their ecohydrological trajectories and role as C sinks under a warming climate.
  2. For my second chapter I am examining the ecology of peatland testate amoeba on Svalbard and developing a new transfer function to reconstruct past hydrological conditions. This model will be the most northerly of its kind and enable further research into the long-term ecohydrological dynamics of these rapidly warming high-latitude ecosystems.
  3. In my final chapter I am working on the collaborative project HOLOPEATFIRE, a global-scale analysis of peatland fires during the Holocene. If you have charcoal data from a peatland with an associated chronology (e.g. 14C, 210Pb) and would like to contribute data, please get in touch.


  • MSc by Research, University of Leeds
  • BSc (Hons), Geography (International), University of Leeds

Research groups and institutes

  • Ecology and Global Change
  • River Basin Processes and Management