Environmental Change Exchange... by Melanie Leng

Scientists from the University of Nottingham
arriving for the workshop
Last week a group of environmental change scientists from the BGS and the University of Nottingham met up at a networking event aimed at fostering collaboration between the two premiere environmental research organisations in the Midlands. Here Prof Melanie Leng tells us about the aims and achievements of the day… 

It was great to get so many environmental scientists together last week. The scientists were a collection of international experts and PhD students with a huge wealth of knowledge in using geology (plants, fossils, soils and sediments) to understand past environmental and climate change. The aim was to expand our research areas by working in an interdisciplinary way focusing on some of the most pressing questions facing mankind. 

The day started with each scientist giving short introductions on their specific research areas which included: using fossil plants to tell us about past concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere, the use of the chemistry of sediments as a record of human impact on our environment, and using fossils to provide information on very long term natural changes in global warming related to variations in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun… 

Sarah Roberts, @SRoberts_uk, a PhD student at the University
of Nottingham, presenting her research on recent
environmental change in Lake Baikal
After the quick-fire introductions we separated into 3 major research themed groups, on: (1) how the Tropics and Intra-Tropical zones will respond to future global warming with reference to warming periods in the past; (2) how increasing human populations are impacting the environment especially in China and Malaysia; and (3) how we can use the world class geochemistry facilities across the two Institutes to optimise the important questions in environmental change research. 

Overall, the day was a great success, it was especially impressive to hear the range of environmental change research being conducted in Nottingham, and we look forward to developing our ideas into future collaborations within the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry

By Melanie Leng, the Director of the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry, find her on twitter @MelJLeng