School of Environment

Environmental Change

It is likely that by the end of the 21st century, if humanity continues along its currently trajectory of intense consumption and production, the environment will be in a compromised state that modern humans have never experienced. In many parts of the world ecosystem services are already at risk, and defences against natural hazards and climate change near their limits. The Environmental Change theme explores the record of past environments, past environmental change, and extreme environmental events to answer some key questions facing the world today. We are particularly interested in the origin, evolution and adaptation of life on Earth over more than 4 billion years, the adaptation of tropical islands to climate change, and proxy records (e.g. speleothems, rat middens, foraminifera) for paleoenvironmental change.


Our research topics

  • Life in Extreme Environments: undersea hydrocarbon seeps
  • Life in Extreme Environments: terrestrial thermal spring deposits – origin of life, extra-terrestrial 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/ 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


Key staff