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Dr Mark Grosvenor

Dr Mark Grosvenor

Research Technician


 +44 (0) 1392 725324

 Hatherly Room 440 (Laver)/ B6 (Hatherly


Hatherly Building, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4PS, UK


Mark is currently working in the wildFIRE Lab within the Earth System Science Research Group where he splits his time between managing the lab, and undertaking research on the ERC funded ECOFLAM Project

Mark’s background is in palaeoenvironmental studies, in particular the identification of human impact upon past landscapes. During his PhD within Geography at the University of Exeter, he focussed on the analysis of pollen and charcoal preserved in lake sediments to identify changes to the vegetation structure of the English Lake District during the Mesolithic and Neolithic.

Mark has a wide range of laboratory and fieldwork skills. His field experience has ranged from lake sediment coring in China, to controlled forest fires in the USA. In the laboratory, Mark has a very broad range of skills including flammability testing of natural fuels, acid-processing of rock/sediment samples, microscopic analysis.

Broad research interests

  • Reconstructing past environments
  • Human impact on the landscape
  • Palaeoclimate
  • Flammability of plants and wildfires


PhD (Physical Geography), University of Exeter
Mid-Holocene landscape change and human impact in Cumbria
Funded by University of Exeter and Sir John Fisher Foundation (supervisors: Richard T Jones, Dan J Charman, Chris S M Turney)

BSc (Hons) Geography, University of Exeter
Quaternary Research Association Undergraduate Dissertation Prize winner


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Research interests

Mark’s research interests have developed through his postgraduate, technical, and research positions and include reconstruction of past environments (mostly through analysis of lake sediments), and more recently contemporary wildfires. Mark is particularly interested in reconstructions of past fire activity and the impact they have upon the landscape. Mark has used a wide range of proxy techniques including analysis of pollen, charcoal, chironomids, sediment geochemistry (including Carbon Nitrogen analysis, and scanning x-ray fluorescence), and radiocarbon dating.

Research projects


Controlled forest burns, New Jersey, USA. Burning of fully instrumented forest plots and subsequent charcoal analysis in relation to fire behavior and severity

Post wildfire assessment of ecosystem damage, carbon loss, and monitoring of recovery, Woodbury Common, Devon, UK.

PAST Project: Precolumbian Amazon Scale Transformations. Preparation and interpretation of pollen datasets.


Post wildfire severity analysis of Winter Hill (Lancashire) and Carn Brea (Cornwall) heathland fires.

Amazonian Pollen Reference Collection. Preparation and mounting of 330 herbarium pollen samples for species reference collection (NERC Newton Fund)


Understanding and interpreting the Eden Project’s peatland biome (Eden Project/University of Exeter Collaboration Fund). An interdisciplinary study of contemporary ecology, hydrology, and palaeoecology of an ecologically important anthropogenic peatland.

ECOFLAM – The impact of plant evolution on fire behaviour. Laboratory experimental design, undertaking of experiments, and analysis/interpretation of data.


The pollution impact of tourism on a natural landscape: Juizhaigou National Park, China. Palaeolimnological analysis to identify the impact of pollution related to a rapid increase in tourism of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pollution signals in recent lake and pond sediments near to industrial sites of North-West England.

Lunt Meadows archaeological site, North-west England. Laboratory processing and interpretation of sediment samples from a site of Neolithic settlement.


Met Office Pollen Monitoring. Set up, analysis, palynological training of staff, and quality control of the Exeter pollen monitoring station for the Met Office pollen forecast.

Research Groups

Earth System Science

Ecology group

Environmental Change

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Mark is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has contributed to a range of taught undergraduate modules including:

GEO2330 Reconstructing Past Environments

GEO3321 Dissertation

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