UCL Anthropocene


Professor Neil Rose

Academic position:   Professor

Department:   UCL Geography

Telephone number:   020 7679 0543

Email:  n.rose@ucl.ac.uk

Websites: Neil Rose


Neil Rose is Professor of Environmental Pollution and Palaeolimnology in the Department of Geography, UCL. After working with the British Antarctic Survey for over two years on the Signy Island base as a limnologist, he started at UCL in 1987. His research uses natural archives, especially lake sediments, to assess the spatial and temporal distributions of pollutants including fly-ash particles, trace metals, persistent organic compounds and microplastics. Recent research has highlighted the role of climate change on the remobilisation of legacy pollutants and the risk to aquatic organisms from the combined toxic contaminants. He has authored and co-authored 170 scientific publications and a further 90 book chapters and reports. In 2008-2012, he led the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) Water Centre encouraging public participation in aquatic science. Since 2018 he has been a member of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), a working group within the Sub-commission on Quaternary Stratigraphy. 

Research Projects:

The pollution of threatened freshwaters in southern African biodiversity hotspots. 2018 – 19. A pilot study assessing the contamination of lakes in South Africa and Lesotho from trace metals and fly-ash particles. The project also aims to assess the potential for contamination risk to biota at two sites, Chrissiemeer in South Africa and Lake Letsie in Lesotho. Funded by the National Geographic Society.

Determining the Anthropocene GSSP 2020-2022. This project, in conjunction with the Anthropocene Working Group, aims to define the Global Stratigraphic Section and Point (GSSP) for the proposed Anthropocene Epoch. A series of candidate sections including lake and marine sediments, peat sequences, ice cores and coral records are being assessed for a wide range of chemical and biological determinands to decide what marker should constitute the epochal boundary and where it should be placed. Funded by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin.

Rose, N.L. (2015) Spheroidal carbonaceous fly-ash particles provide a globally synchronous stratigraphic marker for the Anthropocene. Environmental Science and Technology 49 (7): 4155-4162.

Yang, C., Rose, N.L., Turner, S.D., Yang, H., Goldsmith,B., Losada, S., Barber, J. and Harrad, S. (2016). Hexabromocyclododecanes, polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polychlorinated biphenyls in radiometrically dated sediment cores from English Lakes, ~1950 – present. Science of the Total Environment.541: 721-728.

Waters, C.N., Zalasiewicz, J., Summerhayes, C., Fairchild, I.J., Rose, N.L., Loader, N.J., Shotyk, W., Cearreta, A., Head, M.J., Syvitski, J.P.M., Williams, M., Wagreich, M., Barnosky, A.D., Zhisheng, A., Leinfelder, R., Jeandel, C., Gałuszka, A., Ivar do Sul, J.A., Gradstein, F., Steffen, W., McNeill, J.R., Wing, S., Poirier, C. and Edgeworth, M. (2018). Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the Anthropocene Series: Where and how to look for potential candidates. Earth-Science Reviews. 178: 379-429.

Yang, H., Shilland, E.M., Appleby, P.G, Rose, N.L and Battarbee, R.W. (2018). Legacy lead stored in catchments is the dominant source for lakes in the UK: Evidence from atmospherically derived 210Pb. Environmental Science & Technology 52: 14070-14077

Rose, N.L., Turner, S.D., Yang, H., Yang, C., Hall, C. and Harrad, S. (2018). Palaeotoxicity: Reconstructing the risk of multiple sedimentary pollutants to freshwater organisms. Environmental Geochemistry and Health. 40: 1667-1682

Turner, S.D., Horton, A., Rose, N.L. and Hall, C.J. (2019). A temporal sediment record of microplastics in an urban lake, London, UK. Journal of Paleolimnology 61: 449-462 

Gałuszka, A., Migaszewski, Z.M. and Rose, N.L. (in press) A consideration of polychlorinated biphenyls as a chemostratigraphic marker of the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene Review. 

Bancone, C.E.P, Turner, S.D., Ivar do Sul, J.A. and Rose, N.L. (in press). The palaeoecology of microplastic contamination. Frontiers of Environmental Science.