I am a long-term ecologist and global-change ecologist studying ecological responses to environmental change. I lead the PalaeoChem research group, where we are developing new methods to (i) reconstruct UV-B radiation in sediments based on pollen-chemical biomarkers and (ii) investigate other applications of pollen chemistry in long-term ecology. I am also co-PI on the HOPE project and, as a member of the Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group, I am interested in using long-term ecological and other time-series datasets to better understand drivers of ecosystem and biodiversity change in the past, present and future.
Follow me on Twitter (@alistairseddon), and see below for some recent research highlights.
- 08/2020: In a collaboration with Christin Abel and others at the University of Copenhagen, I was part of a team to publish a new study on drivers of vegetation productivity in global drylands. See the paper in Nature Sustainability here
- 02/2020: I contributed to some of the writing in a chapter on Biodiversity in the latest Our Future on Earth Report by Future Earth. As stated in the synopsis: "Humanity is at a critical stage in the transition to a more sustainable planet and society. Our actions in the next decade will determine our collective path forward. Our Future on Earth 2020 aims to tell the story of where we are on our collective journey by connecting the dots between what society is currently experiencing – from fires to food shortages to a rise in populism – with recent developments in the research community."
- 02/2020: Florian Muthreich, PhD student in the PalaeoChem group has published his first paper in the Journal of Biogeography. Congrats Florian!
- 10/2019: Former Master student Erik Kusch awarded two second-place poster prizes at the International Society for Ecological Modelling Conference in Salzburg. Congrats Erik!
- 09/2019: A new preprint is up online at BioRxiv. PhD student Florian Muthriech's first first-author paper! We have the reviews back and are working on getting it resubmitted ASAP. In the paper we investigate whether chemical techniques can be used to distinguish pollen of different Quercus pollen types.
- 07/2019: Masters student Erik Kusch defended his thesis today! Well done Erik! His work is all up on GitHub and he will soon start a four-month position to write up this work thanks to some Fast-Track Initiative funding from the Bjerknes Center.
- 01/2019: We published a new perspectives piece describing the challenges and prospects of using UV-B absorbing compounds found in pollen and spores to reconstruct the UV-B radiation recieved by plants in the past.
- 06/2018: New paper with collegues from the University of Manchester on the drivers of UV-B absorbing compounds in Cedrus atlantica pollen.
- 12/2017: See our session on geochemical and molecular proxies in palynomorphs at the EPPC in Dublin 2018! Abstracts due 31st Jan: http://eppc2018.ie/special-sessions/#1507132426997-2ee7ed9c-89d2
- 11/2017: The second EcoRe3 workshop on functional palaeoecology workshop has been announced. See here for more details!
- 11/2017: Apply for the following summer school on climatology in Switzerland- I will be giving one of the keynote lectures here: http://www.oeschger.unibe.ch/studies/summer_school/index_eng.html
- 09/2017: I have two articles in the latest PAGES newsletter on sustaining Earth's biodiveristy using palaeoecology. Both my are articles are related to the activities in EcoRe3
- 09/2017: Interested in how to quantify UV-B absorbing compounds in pollen more accurately? Then check out our new paper here!
- 07/2017: Diatoms, diatoms, diatoms! Many new taxa described in a paper from one sample from the Diablas wetlands on Galapagos
- 02/2017: A new paper on carbon cycling in Lake Baikal using GAMs, published in Global Change Biology with Anson Mackay and colleagues, and another in Quaternay International on hydroclimate variabilty in the Holocene in North-East Australia with Ulrike Proske
- 10/2016: A new paper on priority questions for bark beetle research, led by Jesse Morris (University of Utah) is out now!
- 03/2016: Some new Masters projects at EECRG are now available. Visit this webpage to find out more.
- 02/2016: Check out our new paper published on a new metric to measure ecosystem sensitivity to climate variability in Nature!
- 01/2016: This new paper discusses trends in biodiversity over the Holocene.
- 08/2015: The PARASOL project is using fossil pollen to reconstruct past changes in high-energy (UV-B) solar radiation from sediment records. I gave a poster on some preliminary results from the project at INQUA2015.
Abel, C, Horion, S., Tagesson, T., De Keersmaecker, W, Seddon, A. W. R., Abdi, A. M. and Fensholt. R, The human–environment nexus and vegetation–rainfall sensitivity in tropical drylands. Nature Sustainability, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-020-00597-z
Muthreich, F., Zimmermann, B., Birks, H.J.B., Vila-Viçosa, C.M. and Seddon, A.W.R. (2020) Chemical variations in Quercus pollen as a tool for taxonomic identification: implications for long-term ecological and biogeographic research. Journal of Biogeography https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13817
Seddon, A.W.R., Festi, D., Robson, T.M. and Zimmermann, B. (2019) Fossil pollen and spores as a tool for reconstructing ancient solar-ultraviolet irradiance received by plants: an assessment of prospects and challenges using proxy-system modelling. Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences DOI: 10.1039/C8PP00490K
Bell, B.A, Fletcher, W.J., Ryan, P., Seddon, A.W.R., Wogelius, R.A. and Ilmen, R. (2018) UV-B-absorbing compounds in modern Cedrus atlantica pollen: The potential for a summer UV-B proxy for Northwest Africa. The Holocene DOI: 10.1177/0959683618777072
Morris, J. L., Cottrell, S., Fettig, C.J.,DeRose, J.R., Mattor, K.M., Carter, V.A., Clear, J., Clement, J. Hansen, W.D., Hicke, J.A., Higuera, P.E., Seddon, A.W.R., Seppä, H., Sherriff, R.L., Stednick, J.D., and Seybold, S.J. (2018). Bark beetles as agents of change in social–ecological systems. Front Ecol Environ 2018; 16(S1): S34–S43, doi: 10.1002/fee.1754
Long, P. R., Benz, D., Martin, A. C., Holland, P. W. A., Macias-Fauria, M., Seddon, A. W. R., Hagemann, R., Frost, T.K., Simpson, A., Power, D.J., Slaymaker, M.A., Willis, K.J. (2017). LEFT-A web-based tool for the remote measurement and estimation of ecological value across global landscapes. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 37, 379–9. http://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12924
Seddon, A.W.R., Jokerud, M., Barth, T., Birks, H.J.B., Krüger, L., Vandvik, V. and Willis, K.J. (2017). Improved quantification of UV-B absorbing compounds in Pinus sylvestris L. pollen grains using an internal standard methodology. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 247: 97-104
Mackay, A.W., Seddon, A.W.R., Leng, M.J., Heumann, G., Morley, D.W., Piotrowska, N., Rioual, P., Roberts, S., Swann, G.E.A. (2017). Holocene carbon dynamics at the forest – steppe ecotone of southern Siberia. Global Change Biology doi: 10.1111/gcb.13583
Proske, U., Stevenson, J., Seddon A.W.R., Taffs, K. (2017). Holocene diatom records of wetland development near Weipa, Cape York, Australia. Quaternary International. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2016.09.014
Morris, J.L., Carter, V.A., Clear, J., Clement, J., Cottrell, S., DeRose, R.J., Fettig, C.J., Hansen, W.D., Hicke, J.A., Higuera, P.A., Mattor, K.A., Seddon, A.W.R., Seppӓ, H., Seybold, S., Sherriff, R., Stednick, J.D. Bark beetle impacts on social-ecological systems: Priority questions to inspire future research (2016) Journal of Applied Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12782
Seddon, A.W.R., Macias Fauria, M., Long, P., Benz, D. and Willis, K.J. (2016). Sensitivity of global terrestrial ecosystems to climate variability. Nature 531: 229-231
Birks, H.J.B.B, Astrup-Felde, V. and Seddon, A.W.R. (2016). Biodiversity trends within the Holocene. The Holocene 1- 8. doi: 10.1177/0959683615622568
Lange-Bertalot, H., Witkowski, A., Kulikovskiy, M., Seddon, A.W.R. and Kociolek, J.P. (2015) Taxonomy, frustular morphology and systematics of Platichthys, a new genus of canal raphe bearing diatoms within the Entomoneidaceae. Phytotaxa 236 (2): 135–149
Willis, K.J., Seddon, A.W.R., Long, P., Jeffers, E., Caithness, N., Thurston, M., Smit, M., Hagemann, R., Macias-Fauria, M. (2015) Remote Assessment of Locally Important Ecological Features across Landscapes: How Representative of Reality? Ecological Applications 25(5): 1290-1302
Seddon, A.W.R., Macias-Fauria, M and Willis, K.J. (2015). Climate and abrupt vegetation change in Northern Europe since the last deglaciation. The Holocene 25(1): 25-36
Seddon, A.W.R., Froyd, C.A., Witkowski, A, and Willis, K.J (2014). A quantitative framework for analysis of regime shifts in a Galapagos coastal lagoon. Ecology 95(11): 3046-3055
Macias Fauria, M., Seddon, A.W.R., Long, P., Benz, D. and Willis, K.J. (2014) Spatiotemporal patterns of warming. Response to Ji et al. 2014. Evolution of land surface air temperature trend. Nature Climate Change 4: 845-846 doi:10.1038/nclimate2372
Mace, G.M., Reyers, B., Alkemade, R., Biggs, R., Chapin III F.S., Cornell, S.E., Díaz, S, Jennings, S., Leadley, P.W., Mumby, P.J., Purvis, A., Scholes, R.J., Seddon, A.W.R., Solan, M., Steffen, W., Woodward, G. (2014) Approaches to defining a planetary boundary for biodiversity. Global Environmental Change 28: 289-297
Seddon, A.W.R., Witkowski, A, Froyd, C.A., Kurdlowski, K.J., Grzonka, J. and Willis, K.J (2014). Diatoms from isolated islands II: Pseudostaurosira diablarum, a new species from a mangrove ecosystem in the Galápagos Islands. Diatom Research 29: 201-211 doi: 10.1080/0269249X.2013.877084
Seddon A.W.R, Mackay A.W., Baker A.G., Birks H.J.B., Breman E., Buck C.E., Ellis E.C., Froyd C.A., Gill J.A., Gillson L., Johnson E.A., Jones V.J., Juggins S, Macias-Fauria M., Mills K., Morris J.L., Nogués-Bravo D., Punyasena S.W., Roland T.P., Tanentzap A.J., Willis K.J., Aberhan M., van Asperen E.N., Austin W.E.N., Battarbee R.W., Bhagwat S., Belanger C.L., Bennett K.D., Birks H.H., Bronk Ramsey C., Brooks S.J., de Bruyn M., Butler P.G., Chambers F.M., Clarke S.J., Davies A.L., Dearing J.A., Ezard T.H.G., Feurdean A., Flower R.J., Gell P., Hausmann S., Hogan E.J., Hopkins M.J., Jeffers E.S., Korhola A.A., Marchant R., Kiefer T., Lamentowicz M., Larocque-Tobler I., López-Merino L., Hsiang Liow L., McGowan S., Miller J.H., Montoya E., Morton O., Nogué S., Onoufriou C., Park Boush L., Rodriguez-Sanchez F., Rose N.L., Sayer C.D., Shaw H.E., Payne R., Simpson G., Sohar K., Whitehouse N.J., Williams J.W. & Witkowski A. (2014) Looking forward through the past: Identification of 50 priority research questions in palaeoecology. Journal of Ecology 102: 256-267 doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12195
Mackay, A.W, Seddon, A.W.R., Baker, A.G. (2013) Palaeo50: The Priority Research Questions in Palaeoecology. PAGES News 21(2):89
Seddon, A.W.R. (2012) “Paleoecology.” In Oxford Bibliographies Online: Ecology. Ed. David Gibson. New York: Oxford University Press.
Seddon, A.W.R, Froyd C.A., Leng M.J., Milne G.A., Willis K.J. (2011) Ecosystem Resilience and Threshold Response in the Galápagos Coastal Zone. PLoS One 6(7): e22376. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022376
Seddon, A.W.R., Froyd, C.A. and Witkowski, A. (2011) Diatoms (Bacillariophyta) of isolated islands: New taxa in the genus Navicula sensu stricto from the Galápagos Islands. Journal of Phycology 47: 861–879. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2011.01026.x
Mayke Nieuwkerk (PhD): Greenhouse and field experimental evidence to investigate the chemical response of Pinus spp. to UV-B radiation.
Florian Muthreich (PhD): Drivers of chemical variation in Eucalyptus and Quercus pollen grains within the PollChem project.
Samuel Walker (PhD): Changes in avifauna distributions in Norway over the Holocene/
Kristina Svare (Masters): Holocene vegetation history and tree-line changes in Rondane
Ana Prohaska (PhD, defended 2016), now a Post Doctoral Research Associate at the Department of Zoology, Cambridge University
Mayke Nieuwkerk (ERASMUS Masters student from the University of Utrecht, defended 2018), now a PhD student at UiB.
Erik Kusch (Masters, defended 2019). Biotic determinants of vegetation sensitivity using remote sensing data. Now a researcher at the Nansen Center/ BIO with funding from a Bjerknes Centre Fast Track Initiative.
2016-2020: PollChem (Funded by the Research Council of Norway) (PI)
2018-2019: Experimental appraoches for understanding pollen-chemistry respones to UV-B radiation (Bjerknes Center Fast Track Initiative) (PI)
2019: Vegetation-memory quantification in dryland regions (co-PI)
2018-2022: Humans on Planet Earth (HOPE, co-PI)