I’ve always been fascinated by the natural world and love being outdoors in general. My childhood dream was to be an astronaut (a hope I’ve still not totally abandoned!), but I began my current career direction after developing a passion for geology at A-level. I followed that up with an undergraduate degree in Earth Sciences at Oxford. Once those four years were over, I realised that there was so much more I still wanted to discover and learn, so I applied for PhDs at a few different universities, but ended up continuing at Oxford!
I’m interested in learning about ancient organisms and the way that they both affect and are affected by their environment. The geological record is an incredible resource documenting ancient life and environments. By looking at rocks drilled from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, I am investigating how ecosystems responded to climate change over the past 4 million years. I want to use that information to predict how life might be impacted by manmade climate change over the next few centuries.
You can often find me in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History for Science Saturdays talking to young people about ancient life, and I’ve also worked with the museum on outreach activities themed around climate change and natural history for all sorts of age groups. I’m also an enthusiastic promoter of the Black Country UNESCO Geopark, where I’ve created educational materials and sporadically contribute a Geoblog.
Lockdown Walks - Is this a fossil I see before me?
You find fossils on the beach, right? If you're really lucky and spend ages looking? WRONG! Fossils - by which we mean the preserved remains of ancient life - can be found all around us! Including, as Matt Sutton tells us, in the centre of town...Make sure you look out for one next time you're out for a walk around town!