UCL Anthropocene


Dr Simon Turner

Academic position: Senior Research Associate

Department: Geography

Telephone number: UCL 02076790522; mobile 07765667762

Email: ucfasdt@ucl.ac.uk

UCL Website: Dr Simon Turner


I research the impact of human activity on environmental systems, mainly in lakes and wetlands, over the past 150 years and the Anthropocene. I use geochemical, physical and radiometric analyses (mercury, trace metals, nitrogen and carbon isotopes, fly-ash, microplastics, organic pollutants, weapons test and natural radionuclides) to record environmental change and the history of anthropogenic contamination and its impact on freshwater organisms 

I am currently coordinating the process to analyse selected stratotypes to formalise the Global Boundary Stratotype and Section Point (GSSP, or ‘golden spike’) for the Anthropocene. This is a collaborative project involving the Anthropocene Working Group, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) Berlin and the international collective of research institutes, including UCL Geography.

Research Projects:

In May 2022 an exhibition including a discursive and performative programme will occur at HKW, Berlin as a public forum for the scientific, cultural and socio-political impact of the geochronological research carried out by the international GSSP-research project on the Anthropocene. I have a key position in the concept development and communication of the scientific process and results with artists and interdisciplinary cultural and historical researchers.

I have been working on Anthropocene timescales of environmental change since PhD research in the late 1990s, e.g.:

  • Palaeolimnological assessment of lake acidification and environmental change in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta.Journal of Limnology,69, p92-104.
  • Cundy, A. B., Collins, P. E., Turner, S. D., Croudace, I. W., & Horne, D. 1998. 100 years of environmental change in a coastal wetland, Augusta Bay, southeast Sicily: evidence from geochemical and palaeoecological studies.Geological Society, London, Special Publications,139(1), 243-254.