Dr Natasha Barlow

Dr Natasha Barlow


I am a tenure-track Academic Research Fellow and my research focuses on Quaternary environmental change, with a strong emphasis on sea-level change. I bring to SEE expertise in developing records of past sea level from estuarine deposits along with high-precision dating, to understand the magnitude, timing and driving mechanisms of relative sea-level changes over a range of timescales. My current research particularly focuses on sea level during previous interglacial periods, where I am aiming to establish reconstructions of sea-level change from temperate latitudes, which will in turn help improve predictions of future coastal response and ice-sheet mass-balance changes.  I was recently awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant (€2 million) for the project RISeR, to further my research in this area.

Prior to arriving at Leeds in 2016 I was a postdoctoral researcher at Durham University, where I also completed my PhD (Glacial isostastic adjustment and relative sea level change over the last earthquake cycle in upper Cook Inlet, Alaska, USA) and a BSc in Geography.


  • Leader of Leeds Quaternary

Research interests

I have worked on both passive and active coastal margins developing quantitative reconstructions of near-instantaneous to multi-millennial scale sea-level changes, as well as having experience of glacial isostastic adjustment modelling. My wider research interest is the driving mechanisms of change, in particular that associated with ice sheets, climate and large earthquakes, with the aim of understanding future hazards. We have a growing sub-marine landscapes group at Leeds, conducting research with geophysical datasets and cores to better understand palaeo-landscapes and sediment mobility for offshore infrastructure. In addition to my research I am a co-leader of PALSEA, an international working which group brings together observational scientists and ice-sheet, climate, and sea-level modelers in order to better define observational constraints on past sea-level change and improve our understanding of ice-sheet responses to rapid climate change. I also co-founded and lead the cross-School Leeds Quaternary research group. I am a former leader of the QRA Sea Level and Coastal Change working group.

Current research students

  • Andrew Emery (October 2016 - present). PhD topic: Constraining Holocene coastal response to marine transgressions to predict future coastal realignment. Co-supervisor.
  • Stephen Eaton (January 2017 - present). PhD topic: Origin, evolution,and mobility of large seabed bedforms, offshore, East Anglia. Co-supervisor.
  • Luis Rees-Hughes (October 2017 - present). PhD topic: The buried coast: developing novel geophysical techniques to reconstruct coastal landscapes. Lead-supervisor.
  • Lucy Wheeler (October 2017 - present). PhD topic: Sea level past, present and future: A chronology for marine and estuarine sediments in the Quaternary. University of York. Co-supervisor.

Completed research students

  • Martin Brader (2011-2015). PhD thesis: Postglacial relative sea-level changes and the deglaciation of northwest Iceland. Durham University. Co-supervisor.
  • Christine Hamilton (2013-2014). MSc thesis: Late Glacial to Holocene relative sea-level change in Assynt, north west Scotland. Durham University. Co-supervisor.

I welcome interest from potential postgraduate students in any area of my research, in particuar sea-level change and/or Quaternary environments. Please email me.

<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, Physical Geography, Durham University
  • BSc, Geography, Durham University

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy

Student education

My teaching focuses on Quaternary climate change and landscapes; and methods of palaeoenvironmental reconstruction.

Research groups and institutes

  • Earth Surface Science Institute
  • Institute of Applied Geoscience
  • Palaeo@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>