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Dr Oliver Wilson
Knowledge Exchange Fellow



Oliver joined the department as a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow in October 2022. His research explores the intersections between plants, people and climate change in the past, present and future. Prior to joining York, Oliver worked on the National Plant Monitoring Scheme with the conservation charity Plantlife, and completed his PhD in Environmental Science at the University of Reading (2022). This explored how human land use and climate changes combined to shape southern Brazil’s iconic Araucaria Forests over past millennia, and how they will affect them in the decades to come. Before that, he trained as a secondary-school biology teacher (Canterbury Christ Church University, 2015) and obtained an MSc in Ethnobotany (University of Kent, 2012) and a BA (Hons) in Biological Sciences (University of Oxford, 2011).

At York, Oliver is working on the 3D Pollen Project, an initiative he started alongside his PhD. The project aims to open up new ways for people to engage with pollen-related research by combining advanced microscopy with 3D printing to make pollen’s microscopic world not only visible, but tangible.

Oliver’s fellowship aims to develop the 3D Pollen Project into an unparalleled, globally relevant resource for pollen-related public engagement, with secondary benefits for teaching and research.  Combining long-established natural history collections and new microscopy techniques, a targeted approach will build a globally representative, open-access collection of 2D pollen scans and 3D model files that is at least an order of magnitude larger than any that currently exists. 

In addition, Oliver is exploring new ways of using 3D pollen models to connect people with pollen-related research: developing education and hybrid digital/physical interpretation resources (with RHS Garden Harlow Carr); pioneering citizen science approaches to palaeoecology (with Natural England, the University of Glasgow and the University of Hull); and working alongside Indigenous communities in southern Brazil to shed new light on palaeoecological and archaeological data (with the State University of Campinas).

You can read more about the project on the UKRI website, or from the 3D Pollen Project site.

Contact details

Dr Oliver Wilson
Knowledge Exchange Fellow
Department of Environment & Geography
University of York
YO10 5NG