My research is focused on southern South American environmental change. Through reconstructing past patterns of vegetation, glacial fluctuations and distributions of volcanic tephra I have contributed to our understanding of the southern hemisphere earth-ocean-atmosphere systems as they reorganised during the Lateglacial / Holocene transition. My work in studying long term landscape change, climate change and the role of early human activity is also applied in Scotland and Mexico.
Bob undertook his PhD, supervised by Professors Chalmers Clapperton and David Sugden at Geography and the Environment, University of Aberdeen (and also at the Institute of Geography, University of Edinburgh, 1990-1993), his thesis is entitled “Palaeoenvironmental evidence for the late Wisconsin/Holocene transition in the Strait of Magellan, southern Patagonia.
Bob then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Geography, Edinburgh, where he continued to develop his research interests in the vegetation and landscape history of southern Patagonia and also branched out to include Mexico and, more closer to home, Scotland. He also designed and managed the Physical Geography facilities, including the Palaeoecology laboratory and the first Cosmogenic Isotope extraction laboratory in Scotland at Edinburgh.
In 2002 Bob took a change of career direction and qualified as a nurse specialising in Cardiology and worked at the Coronary Care Units in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Stirling Royal Infirmary.
In 2007 Bob joined Biological & Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling and is the Programme Director for the most popular degree programme of Environmental Geography. He continues to pursue his research interests in southern Patagonia and Scotland outlined below. Bob is also Convener of Theme 1: Landscape Dynamics, Scottish Alliance for Geosciences, Environment and Society.
Active research projects:
Current research interests and research collaborations are:
1) The timing and extent of the first human settlers in Fuego-Patagonia and their potential role in increased frequency of fire versus the role of climate. Collaborators: Flavia Morello and Dr Alfredo Prieto (Universidad de Magallanes), Dr Luis Borrero (Buenos Aires).
2) The timing and nature of inter-hemispheric climate reorganisation during the Last glacial / inter-glacial transition and its role in driving glacier and vegetation changes. Collaborators: Prof. David Sugden (Edinburgh), Dr Michael Bentley (Durham), Dr Ross Purves (Zurich), Professor Tasuku Akagi (Kyushu, Japan), Aloys Borys (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory / Lille).
3) The timing and nature of pre- and post-Hispanic environmental change from multi-proxy lake records in central Mexico. Collaborators: Prof. Sarah Metcalfe (Nottingham), Dr Sarah Davies (Aberystwyth), Dr Anthony Newton (Edinburgh).
4) The Holocene vegetation history of northern and upland Britain, with particular regard to the timing and nature of prehistoric and historic human activities and their impacts. Collaborators: Prof. Ian Simpson, Dr Eileen Tisdall (Stirling) and Dr Jane Downes (ORCA – UHI).
5) The application of tephrochronology, Spheroidal Carbonaceous Particles and 210Pb to establish regional correlations and to test radiometric dating methods. Collaborators: Dr Andrew Dugmore, Prof. Charles Stern (Boulder) and Dr Eileen Tisdall (Stirling).
Boy J, Godoy R, Shibistova O, Boy D, McCulloch R, Andrino de la Fuente A, Aguirre Morales M, Mikutta R & Guggenberger G (2016) Successional patterns along soil development gradients formed by glacier retreat in the Maritime Antarctic, King George Island, Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, 89 (6), Art. No.: 6.
Mansilla C, McCulloch R & Morello F Palaeoenvironmental change in southern Patagonia during the Lateglacial and Holocene: implications for forest refugia and climate reconstructions, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 447.
Tipping R & McCulloch R (2015) Identifying the prehistory of woodland management: problems and potential from a case-study in northern Scotland (Forthcoming). In: Rotherham ID (ed.). Ecology, Archaeology and Management of Ancient Woods, Sheffield.
Tisdall E, McCulloch R, Sanderson D, Simpson I & Woodward N (2013) Living with sand: A record of landscape change and storminess during the Bronze and Iron Ages Orkney, Scotland, Quaternary International, 308-309, pp. 205-215.
Tipping R, Bradley R, Sanders J, McCulloch R & Wilson R (2012) Moments of crisis: climate change in Scottish prehistory, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 142, pp. 9-25.