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I am a Quaternary geologist and a physical geographer who specialises in sea-level studies. I was appointed as a Chair in Physical Geography in June 2013. Prior to coming to York I was at Plymouth University for almost 18 years, starting as a lecturer and going through several promotions until I was awarded a Chair in 2007. At Plymouth I was a member of the Quaternary Environments Research Group and headed a small research cluster in sea-level studies. I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Durham with Ian Shennan. My PhD at the University of Maine (USA) investigated Holocene sea-level changes in the Gulf of Maine and was supervised by Dan Belknap and Joe Kelley. My first endeavours in sea-level studies were in collaboration with the late Orson van de Plassche at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam where I completed an MSc in Applied Quaternary Geology.
I started my career as a Holocene sea-level scientist, but in the past two decades my efforts have focused primarily on coupling geological field evidence with tide-gauge observations to reconstruct historical sea-level changes. My main achievement is the reconstruction of the acceleration of sea-level rise during the first decades of the 20th century in sites around the North Atlantic and the Southwest Pacific. This work has led to the realisation that recent rapid sea-level changes occur on a global scale and are linked to global warming. More recently I have been involved with applying sea-level reconstruction methods developed for Holocene intertidal sediments to earlier interglacial sequences, with direct implications for understanding the dynamics of ice sheets. Over the last couple of years I have focused both on fingerprinting the sources of recent sea-level rise and investigating the links between sea-level rise and blue carbon storage in intertidal environments. An example of the latter is the C-SIDE project, which is the first large-scale empirical study of saltmarsh carbon storage, accretion rates, their drivers, and the long-term stability/resilience of these stores.