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Students contribute to palaeoclimate research


Student Daveena Bal prepares a sediment column for sampling at Marks Tey in June 2013.

This weekend (Oct 3-5, 2014) Professor Dave Horne and his PhD students Ginny Benardout and Anna March  from the School of Geography are in Essex attending a joint meeting of the Quaternary Research Association (QRA) and the Essex Field Club on “The Quaternary of the Lower Thames”.

On Friday they will be at Marks Tey brickworks, the first stop on a field excursion, where 400,000-year-old lake sediments are the focus of research by staff and students from QMUL Geography. The QRA Field Guide published to coincide with the meeting includes a chapter on Marks Tey investigations co-authored by Dave, Ginny and Anna with colleague Dr Simon Lewis as well as undergraduates Daveena Bal and Tom Huckstepp who undertook projects there in 2013.

A conference at The Green Centre (Wat Tyler Country Park, Pitsea) on Saturday will include a talk by Dave about the use of fossil ostracods to reconstruct the climatic conditions of past interglacial periods. On Sunday, another field excursion will include a look at interglacial river deposits on a former course of the River Thames at Purfleet, where research completed in 2008 by QMUL undergraduate Cath Cherry led to her co-authorship of a paper published in Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association in 2013.


Student Cath Cherry records ancient River Thames sediments at Greenlands Pit, Purfleet, Essex, in 2007.

Several undergraduate projects supervised by Professor Dave Horne in recent years have involved the use of ostracod microfossils to reconstruct past climates (summer and winter temperature ranges) at sites in south east England, and in three cases these have resulted in the students subsequently becoming co-authors of publications to which their research findings have contributed.

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