Dr Matt Amesbury
Research Fellow


I moved to Exeter in May 2010 to work with Dan Charman on the NERC funded project ‘PRECIP’ (Palaeo REconstruction of ocean-atmosphere Coupling In Peat).  Working with colleagues in Southampton and Swansea, this project is investigating the Holocene palaeoclimate of the Atlantic seaboard of Canada and the USA through analysis of peat cores, using testate amoebae analysis (based in Exeter) as part of a wider multi-proxy approach.

From May 2012 onwards, I have split my time between two further projects.  I am Researcher Co-Investigator on a new NERC grant, with colleagues in Swansea and Wellington, New Zealand.  This project will test the suitability of isotopic records in restiad peatlands (rush-dominated) in New Zealand to act as a new palaeo-precipitation proxy.  This would potentially allow testing of important palaeoclimate hypotheses relating to the southern westerlies for which suitable methods are currently lacking.  I have posted stories and blogs about this project at www.ourfuture.net.nz, so please take a look if you are interested to find out more.

I also work on a third NERC funded project with colleagues at the British Antarctic Survey and the University of Cambridge developing records of past climate change from moss banks on the Antarctic Peninsula.  This is one of the most rapidly warming regions of the planet, yet there are few records of past climate change to put the recent rapid changes into a longer-term context.  Please visit the project website and blog to find out more.

Before my appointment at the university, I worked for an environmental charity advising the public, schools, businesses and local authorities on sustainability issues related to climate change, including energy saving, sustainable transport and renewable energy. 

My PhD, completed in 2008, aimed to determine whether fine-resolution (mm-scale), multi-proxy analyses from rapidly accumulating ombrotrophic peat bogs accurately reflected sub-decadal palaeoclimatic change.  The NERC-funded research used testate amoebae, plant macrofossil and peat humification analyses with dating was based on radiocarbon, tephra and SCP determinations and I am expert in the laboratory and identification skills required for each of these techniques. 

I am a member of the ‘Environmental Change’ research group within Geography.  I am a member of the Quaternary Research Association and American Geophysical Union and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Broad research interests:

Peat-based palaeoclimatology, Holocene palaeoclimate of the North Atlantic region, southern hemisphere palaeoclimate, fine-resolution reconstruction techniques, multi-proxy techniques, peatland isotopes, tephrochronology, peatland ecology and palaeoecology, wetland archaeology, attitudes and behaviour change related to climate change.


BSc (Hons) Geography (Plymouth), 2000
MSc Wetland Archaeology and Environments (Exeter), 2004
PhD (Southampton) – peat-based palaeoclimatology, 2008


Contact details

Internal tel5892
Tel+44 (0) 1392 725892
AddressAmory Building
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive

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