Richard Fewster

Richard Fewster


Currently studying a PhD funded by the NERC Panorama DTP entitled “The Past, Present and Future of Permafrost Peatlands”, which aims to identify the developmental responses of permafrost peatlands to climate change at a range of spatiotemporal scales. Perennially frozen peatlands contain a vast and vulnerable carbon stock, in the same order of magnitude as the atmospheric carbon store, which is greatly threatened by contemporary climate change. Despite increasingly widespread evidence of permafrost thaw, peatland inundation and thermokarst across the northern hemisphere, the future extent and distribution of frozen peatlands remains highly uncertain. I have previously studied a Masters by Research in the School of Geography, which focussed on identifying the climatic drivers of permafrost peatlands in North America. These controls were then used to simulate past distributions of permafrost peatlands throughout the Holocene. My current research builds upon these foundations, by developing a deeper understanding of the palaeoecolgical responses to past climate change and producing forward-looking projections of future permafrost peatland developments. During my PhD I also expect to conduct fieldwork to remote permafrost peatland sites, where cores will be extracted to produce novel palaeoecological records of these fragile ecosystems. Within the Faculty of Environment I am an active member of both Leeds Quaternary and the River Basins Processes and Management research cluster.


Research interests

  • Peatlands
  • Permafrost
  • Climate Science
  • Palaeoecology
  • Palaeoclimatology
  • Environmental Change
  • Contemporary and Future Climate Change
  • Statistical Modelling


  • BSc Geography (hons) at The University of Leeds

Research groups and institutes

  • River Basin Processes and Management
  • Palaeo@Leeds