Dr Graeme Swindles

Profile

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. I am one of the founding members of Leeds Quaternary and Peat Club. Follow #leedsquaternary and #peatclub on Twitter for updates on our activities.

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; (vi) the use of quantitative reconstruction and statistical modelling techniques for understanding long-term climatic and environmental change; and (vii) extreme events. 

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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
  • Extreme events (geohazards, flooding, storm surges and tsunamis)

Masters by research students

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

2. Liam Taylor (self-funded): 'Permafrost peatlands in the Alaskan North Slope. 2017-present (Primary supervisor).

PhD students

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

2. Thomas Sim (NERC): Response of pan-Arctic permafrost peatlands to rapid climate warming. 2018 - 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). http://www.geog.leeds.ac.uk/people/e.watson

2. Dr Alex Surtees (University of Bradford - Self-funded): 'Earth Science applications of Raman spectroscopy'. 2010 - 2016 (Co-supervisor). http://www.brad.ac.uk/life-sciences/academic-divisions/chemistry-and-forensic-sciences/

3. Dr Garry Rushworth (University of Bradford - NERC): 'Late Quaternary vegetation history of the southern Yorkshire Dales'. 2007- 2012 (Primary supervisor). http://www.brad.ac.uk/archenvi/research/postgraduate/

4. Dr Ed Turner (University of Leeds - NERC): 'Testing the causes of recent environmental changes in peatlands'. Completed (Primary supervisor). http://www.geog.leeds.ac.uk/people/e.turner

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). http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/gap/Research/PostgraduateResearch/HeidiRea

6. Dr Sarah-Jane Clelland (University of Bradford - NERC): 'Archaeomagnetic dating in the British Iron Age'. Completed (Co-supervisor). http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/staff/academic/profile/index.html?staffId=643

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)

Current projects

[1] The cause of Molinia caerulea (purple moor grass) dominance in peatlands (funded by Lafarge-Tarmac).

[2] Palaeohydrological records from peatlands in Peruvian Amazonia (funded by The Royal Society).

[3] Mobility, Climate and Culture: Re-modelling the Irish Iron Age (funded by The British Academy).

[4] Reconstructing Holocene climate change and human impacts in the Canadian NWT (funded by NSERC).

Graeme's research projects have been funded by: 

  • Geological Survey of Canada
  • Department of Environment and Natural Resources (Canada)
  • Lafarge-Tarmac
  • The Royal Society
  • NERC
  • NSERC (Canada)
  • The British Academy
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
  • Battlefield Trust
  • Quaternary Research Association
  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency
  • EU - INTERACT
  • World University Network

Present positions

  1. Associate Professor of Earth System Dynamics, School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK
  2. BSc Programme Leader, School of Geography, University of Leeds, UK
  3. Professor (Adjunct), Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, Canada

Previous posts

  • 2007-2010: Lecturer in Physical Geography and Archaeology, University of Bradford
  • 2011-2012: Deputy Head of School, School of Geography, University of Leeds
  • 2010-2013: Lecturer in Earth System Dynamics, School of Geography, University of Leeds
  • 2012-2015: Director of Information, School of Geography, University of Leeds

Responsibilities

  • BSc Geography Programme Leader
  • BSc Geography-Geology Programme Leader

Research interests

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; (vi) the use of quantitative reconstruction and statistical modelling techniques for understanding long-term climatic and environmental change; and (vii) extreme events.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Qualifications

  • BSc (Hons) (2002): Geography, Durham University
  • PhD (2006): 'Reconstruction of Holocene climate change from peatlands in the North of Ireland', Scho
  • PGCHEP (2010): University of Bradford
  • FHEA (2010)

Professional memberships

  • Member of the American Geophysical Union
  • Member of the Quaternary Research Association
  • Member of the Irish Quaternary Association

Student education

  • GEOG1055 - Environmental Change
  • GEOG1000 - Fieldtrip - Malham
  • GEOG2007 - Fieldtrip - Mallorca [Module leader]
  • GEOG2115 - Research Project and Statistical Skills in Physical Geography
  • GEOG2090 - Climate Systems [Module leader]
  • GEOG2515 - Climate of the Past [Module leader]
  • GEOG2095 - Skills for Physical Geographers
  • GEOG3985 - Timescales of Global Change
  • GEOG3600 - Dissertation

Research groups and institutes

  • River Basin Processes and Management
  • Ecology and Global Change
  • water@leeds

Current postgraduate research students

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>