ARP 2051 – Palaeoenvironmental Techniques

Module Overview

Through a series of lectures and practicals, this module provides students with an introduction to some of the leading techniques and proxies used to reconstruct past environments. Lectures present an overview of the methodological principles and applications, showcasing relevant scientific studies to illustrate the potential of the techniques. A field trip and practicals provide students with hands-on experience, including coring, stratigraphic recording, proxy identification and analysis, and sample preparation. Relevant statistical and graphical techniques to interpret fossil proxy time series and put them onto secure time-scales are also introduced. The practicals are intended to give students a taster for a range of palaeoenvironmental techniques that could be employed for their final-year dissertations.

Learning outcomes

You will gain an understanding of past events of abrupt climate and environmental change, and of how these events have been reconstructed from a range of fossil evidence. You will also develop an awareness of the potential and limitations of fossil proxy evidence in informing us about environmental change, and an ability to put current climate change into a longer-term context.


Module Co-ordinator: Dr Maarten Blaauw


Other Contributor: Dr Gill Plunkett