Joanna Hall


Start date: 1st October 2013

BA and MNatSci (Earth Sciences), University of Cambridge

- Palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment reconstruction in deep time

- Bivalve sclerochronology and geochemistry

- Polar ecosystems


Did extreme seasonality in Cenozoic and Cretaceous climates influence evolution of marine and terrestrial biotas in Antarctica?


Professor Alan Haywood

Dr Stephen Hunter

Dr Rob Newton



Professor Jane Francis (British Antarctic Survey)

Dr Alistair Crame (British Antarctic Survey)

Dr Liz Harper (University of Cambridge)


Additional CASE funding by the British Antarctic Survey

Although Antarctica is now the coldest and driest continent on Earth, presence of lush forests and rich marine life during the Cretaceous and early Cenozoic indicates much warmer climates during the geological past, even though it was situated over the South Pole for the entirety of this period. In addition to being far warmer than today, research suggests that the climate was also extremely seasonal with very hot summers and cold, possibly icy winters. Seasonality is an important factor to understand when dealing with paleoclimate reconstructions, but is often overlooked in the proxy record which is usually interpreted to yield only mean annual data.

I intend to use high resolution sclerochronological techniques to reconstruct seasonal signals through the Cretaceous and Cenozoic, using bivalves from Seymour Island on the Antarctic Peninsula. I will also collect and collate previously published seasonality data from other geological sources and proxies, such as fossil wood and ocean cores into a database. This will then be analysed against a series of climate simulations using the HadCM3 model to explore the development of seasonality through time. An understanding of seasonality is important to being able to model the possible effects of future polar warming predicted in a high CO2 atmosphere scenario.


  • <div>BA and MNatSci (Earth Sciences), University of Cambridge</div>