UCL Earth Sciences


Dr David Wilson

Isotope geochemistry, climate, weathering, ocean circulation, ice sheets

Lecturer & NERC Independent Research Fellow

David Wilson




Lecturer & NERC Research Fellow   K. Lonsdale Building, G05

Courses Taught:

GEOL0045 Paleoclimate and Paleoenvironmental Change

Research Group(s):

The London Geochemistry and Isotope Centre
Past Climate Change

Email Address:

Telephone Number:

    david.j.wilson@ucl.ac.uk020 3108 8561 (78561)

Research Summary

As an isotope geochemist and paleoclimatologist, I use geochemical tracers to explore how the Earth’s carbon cycle and climate system operate. By combining modern process studies, method development, and paleo-reconstructions, my research addresses the interconnected roles of ocean circulation, continental weathering, and ice sheet dynamics in the earth system. Such evidence provides an invaluable context for understanding modern and future anthropogenic changes.

Much of my research has focused on the Pleistocene and Holocene intervals, but I am also interested in earlier periods of the Cenozoic and the deep-time of the Paleozoic, as well as the shorter timescales of laboratory experiments and modern seasonal changes. I have expertise working with various archives (e.g. ocean sediments, foraminifera, fish teeth, deep-sea corals, speleothems) and multiple isotope systems, including radiogenic isotopes (e.g. Pb, Nd, and Sr), stable isotopes (e.g. C, O), and non-traditional stable isotopes (e.g. Li).

Recent and ongoing research projects include:

  • Millennial to centennial variability in deglacial and Holocene Southern Ocean circulation and carbon cycling, from combined Nd isotopes and radiocarbon in deep-sea corals.
  • Probing past ice sheet dynamics in Antarctica and implications for future sea level, using detrital sediment provenance analysis.
  • Quantifying the response of chemical weathering to past climate change, based on the application of Pb, Nd, and Li isotope tracers in marine archives.
  • Understanding the controls on terrestrial weathering processes, using Li isotopes in river waters, cave waters, speleothems, and sediments.
  • Exploring and calibrating geochemical weathering proxies using laboratory experiments.
  • Interactions between paleoclimate, weathering, and source-to-sink processes in Asian marginal seas.

Please get in touch if you are interested in collaborating on any of these topics, or would like to pursue doctoral research linked to any of these areas at UCL.

I sit on the steering committee of the Geochemistry Group, a Special Interest Group of the Mineralogical Society and the Geological Society. Our activities include panel discussions that aim to provide skills training and careers advice for early career researchers - recordings of recent events can be found here.