Dr Amy McGuire

Dr Amy McGuire


I am a Research Fellow in Quaternary Palynology, working on the ERC funded RISeR project with Prof Natasha Barlow. At present, we are using a combination of approaches, including pollen biostratigraphy, luminescence (OSL and IRSL), palaeomagnetism, and tephrochronology to develop chronologies for five sediment cores from the Dutch North Sea, in order to better understand Earth System, particularly sea-level responses to past climate variability. My primary role in this project is to use pollen biostratigraphy to link the multiple records and also to place them within the context of earlier studies, particularly those undertaken in the Netherlands in the 80s and 90s. In developing these records we seek to enhance our knowledge of the spatial nature of sea-level change in and around the North Sea basin, but also to better constrain our understanding of the timing of these changes, and the rates at which sea-level changes can occur.

Prior to joining the RISeR project, I undertook a PhD in Geography at the University of Cambridge which focussed on reconstructing the impact of millennial-scale abrupt climate changes on terrestrial ecosystems in the eastern Mediterranean during the last glacial cycle. My research included a centennial-scale study of the pollen record contained within lake sediments from Ioannina, NW Greece. The new Ioannina vegetation record was supplemented through the study of both visible and 'crypto' tephra (volcanic ash), which allowed precise dating of the sequence as well as correlation with other key archives of environmental change both in the Mediterranean region and further afield, unravelling the complex temporal and spatial variations in ecological responses to abrupt climate change.

Research interests

As a Quaternary researcher, I study past changes in climate and environment over the las 2.58 million years. More specifically, I am interested in how ecosystems responded to climatic oscillations and the variation in these responses both in time and space. My research primarily focuses on the last ca. 120,000 years, and aims to generate records of environmental change from lake and marine sediment sequences which can be compared to other past climate archives including ice core and speleothem sequences.

<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>


  • PhD, Geography, University of Cambridge
  • MSc Geographical Science, University of Manchester (Distinction)
  • BSc Geography with International Study, University of Manchester (First Class)

Professional memberships

  • Quaternary Research Association (QRA)
  • PALeo constraints on SEA level rise (PALSEA) working group
  • Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG)
  • INTegration of Ice-core, MArine, and TErrestrial records (INTIMATE) palaeoclimate network
  • British Ecological Society (BES)

Research groups and institutes

  • Earth Surface Science Institute