In the School of Natural and Social Sciences, pure and applied research into climate and environmental change is promoted under the marque of the
Centre for Environmental Change and Quaternary Research (CECQR). This centre, which was established in 1995, integrates the activities of several colleagues here and abroad who work on geochronology, climate change, environmental change and human impacts, covering a range of different timescales — from the mid-Pleistocene to late Holocene.
Specialisms within CECQR include fluvial, lacustrine, loess, and mire environments. We carry out environmental reconstruction using a variety of techniques including luminescence dating, tephrochronology, pollen analysis, diatom analysis, dendrochronology and elemental analysis. Recent projects have been supported by funding received from the European Commission (TIMECHS and ACCROTELM), the Natural Environment Research Council, the Faroes Fund, and sponsorship.
Our research activities in environmental reconstruction are supported by the Cheltenham Geochronological Laboratories (led and managed by Dr Phil Toms) and by Environmental Geochemistry laboratories.
Our research into past environmental change can provide the scientific base to inform effective environmental policy and management. For example, recent research contracts have been from Countryside Council for Wales and from Natural England, concerned with assessing recent human impact on blanket bogs and on moorland. Another strand of research concerns recent changes in species distributions and phenology, particularly birds (on population and individual-level responses to climate change), but also other taxa including plants. We also work with a number of Archaeological Trusts and Archaeological consultancies.
You can find out more about current CECQR staff and research students below.