Department / group: Department of Geography & Sustainable Development / Environmental Change Research Group

Research interests:

My research focus is directed primarily at reconstructing past climate change from marine records, with a particular focus on the late Quaternary. I work extensively with foraminifera and have a growing research interest in the use of biogeochemical proxies and their application to foraminiferal-based palaeoceanography. Over the last decade, I have established a research interest in the application of tephrochronology to constrain North Atlantic stratigraphies, an interest which overlaps with recent work on marine radiocarbon reservoir ages. The primary geographical focus of my research is the North Atlantic continental margins and shelf seas.

Keywords: Palaeoceanography, Marine Geology, Foraminifera, Stable Isotopes, Climate Change.

Career history:

My Ph.D. at the School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales, supervised by Professor James Scourse (in collaboration with the British Geological Survey), was awarded in 1991. Following my Ph.D., I held a Royal Society of London postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Bergen, Norway, working primarily with Professor Hans Petter Sejrup. After joining the Nordic Antarctic Research Expedition to the Weddell Sea over the winter 1992/93, I moved to the Grant Institute, University of Edinburgh; first holding a NERC-funded postdoctoral fellowship to work with Professor Dick Kroon, later holding a BP/Royal Society of Edinburgh personal fellowship. In 1996, I was appointed as Lecturer in the Department of Geography, University of Durham. Missing Scotland, I was appointed as Reader at St Andrews in 1999, then Professor in 2015. I am Co-Head of School and Head of the Department of Geography & Sustainable Development.

Active research projects:

Not available

Recent publications:

McKenna, C, Berx, B & Austin, W 2016, ‘The decomposition of the Faroe-Shetland Channel water masses using Parametric Optimum Multi-Parameter analysis’ Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, vol 107, pp. 9-21., 10.1016/j.dsr.2015.10.013

Davies, SM, Abbott, PM, Meara, RH, Pearce, NJG, Austin, WEN, Chapman, MR, Svensson, A, Bigler, M, Rasmussen, TL, Rasmussen, SO & Farmer, EJ 2014, ‘A North Atlantic tephrostratigraphical framework for 130-60kab2k: new tephra discoveries, marine-based correlations, and future challenges’ Quaternary Science Reviews, vol 106., 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.03.024

Abbott, PM, Austin, WEN, Davies, SM, Pearce, NJG, Rasmussen, TL, Wastegård, S & Brendryen, J 2014, ‘Re-evaluation and extension of the Marine Isotope Stage 5 tephrostratigraphy of the Faroe Islands region: The cryptotephra record’ Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, vol 409, pp. 153-168., 10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.05.004

Todd, JA, Austin, WEN & Abbott, PM 2014, ‘Quantifying bioturbation of a simulated ash fall event’ Geological Society Special Publication, vol 398, no. 1, pp. 195-207., 10.1144/SP398.9