Environmental change

We research the origin, evolution and adaptation of life on Earth, the adaptation of tropical islands to climate change, and the use of proxy records for paleoenvironmental change.

Kauri tree rings

If humanity continues along its current trajectory of consumption and production, the 21st century will likely produce an environment more threatened than we have ever experienced. In many parts of the world, ecosystem services are already at risk, with defences against natural hazards and climate change near their limits.

Using records of past environments, previous environmental change and extreme environmental events, we seek to answer some of the critical questions facing the world today.

Our research topics

  • Life in extreme environments: undersea hydrocarbon seeps; terrestrial thermal spring deposits – the origin of life, extraterrestrial life
  • Settings for early life on Earth and hydrothermal systems
  • High-Resolution facies architecture and paleoenvironmental Analyses
  • Quaternary paleoclimate reconstruction
  • High-resolution paleolimnology of Auckland maar lakes
  • Nature and drivers of Holocene climates and environments using lake sediment records
  • Identifying human impacts on lake and estuary catchments using sediment records
  • Glacial geomorphology in Antarctica and Australasia
  • Paleodunefields in Australasia and Antarctica
  • Dendroclimatology
  • Paleoceanography
  • Estuarine and coastal dynamics and history, Auckland and Northland regions
  • Reconstructing terrestrial environmental change from the geochemistry of speleothems
  • Unravelling paleo-climatic and paleo-ocean water chemistry through analysis of coral skeletal records

Our researchers