UCL Department of Geography


Simon Turner

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  • 2019-2022 Science Coordinator: Anthropocene Working Group, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. The transdisciplinary project “Earth Indices. Evidence and Experiment” is following the geological endeavour to formulate and explore the stratigraphic definition of the Anthropocene epoch and its wider social and cultural impacts. Environmental archives (lake, ice core, coral, marine, peat) are being investigated from multiple sites around the globe to detect markers and provide data on the global transformation of geological processes in the mid-twentieth century.
  • 2016-2019 Research Associate: NERC Hydroscape - environmental stressors and connectivity in aquatic systems. Generating and gathering multiple strands of palaeoecological and biogeochemical data to further our understanding of the effects of long-term human activity, environmental change, and contaminants on current aquatic systems. Coordination and planning of experiment design, laboratory analyses and data production for PIs, post-doc researchers and technicians. Key responsibility is managing the process from field and laboratory work, through to analysis and interpretation of data, to reporting and publication of results. Duties involve logistical and organizational planning, generating and interpreting results from a diverse array of laboratory analyses; including sediment geochemistry, trace metal analysis (ICP-MS, ICP-AES, Hg-CVAS) of ecological samples and provision of samples for macrofossil and diatom analysis. Use of analytical skills using GIS (ArcMap) and stratigraphic and statistical (SPSS, R) software and data management/reporting. The current role includes presentation of results at meetings, future conferences and production of first author and co-authored scientific publications.
  • 2016-2017 Teaching Fellow, UCL Geography: MSc Climate Change, MSc Aquatic Sciences; Undergraduate: Personal Tutor for 1st, 2nd, 3rd year undergraduates and MSc Climate Change students
  • 2012-2016 Research Associate: NERC 'Lakes and the Arctic carbon cycle'. Analysis of Holocene lake cores for biogenic Si and C/N dual isotopes from pan-Arctic sites. Production ana management of data and results between NERC research institutions.
  • 2012-2016 Research Associate: NERC ‘Lakes and the Arctic carbon cycle’. Analysis of Holocene lake cores for biogenic Si and C/N dual isotopes from pan-Arctic sites. Production and management of data and results between NERC research institutions.
  • 2012-2015 Research Associate: NERC Macronutrients Cycle Programme LTLS. Analytical work on Holocene and recent lake sediments using dual isotopes to trace changing fluxes of C and N in catchments due to climate and land use change. Production and management of sediment data for transfer between work packages and inputs required for long-term catchment modelling.
  • 2012-2015 Research Associate, Co-I with UCL Institute of Archaeology: Leverhulme Trust ‘Dark Earths and Maya civilisation’. Geochemical mapping and multi-disciplinary palaeoenvironmental techniques to assess soil and mangrove development due to human activity in coastal Belize. XRF geochemical, trace metal analyses and application of geostatistical data analysis techniques.
  • 2011-2012 Research Associate: Palaeolimnological assessment of trace element inputs to lakes in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada. Alberta Environment. Laboratory analysis of multiple lake cores using 
  • 2010-2014 Research Associate: REFRESH (EU FP7) project. Production and management of project website and outputs from EU research partners on understanding the impact of future climate changes on freshwater systems. Work package project coordination of fieldwork and laboratory analyses to assess impacts of recent hydrological/groundwater change on Turkish lakes.
  • 2010-2012 Technical support: NERC ‘Long-range atmospheric N deposition as a driver of ecological change in Arctic lakes’. Assistance provided to implement N-deposition network in W Greenland and analyses of lake cores using diatoms and C/N isotopes.
  • 2009-2012 Technical support: NERC ‘Influence of global teleconnections on Holocene climate in Kamchatka’. Analyses of lake cores using diatoms and C/N isotopes.
  • 2009-2010 Principal Investigator: Countryside Council for Wales ‘Standardised bathymetric data generation and statistical analysis of Welsh Lakes’ Compilation of disparate bathymetric datasets and development of computational process using ArcGIS and R. Project and data management and report production.
  • 2008-2012 Research Fellow: OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) Water Centre. National lake monitoring and public participation projects. Big Lottery funded. Organisation of 5-year, quarterly monitoring program of chemical (including persistent organic pollutants and trace metals), biological and physical measurements in nine English lakes. Management of laboratory tasks to produce palaeoenvironmental data for each lake. Design and production of national public participation aquatic monitoring projects. Data management and production of learning materials, project reports and academic papers.
  • 2006-2009 Research Fellow: Lake sediment evidence for long-range air pollution on the Tibetan Plateau, Leverhulme Trust. Intensive sampling program of POPs and Hg in high altitude lakes across TP. Production and management of multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental data and coordination of data/samples between UCL and Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing).
  • 2006-2007 Research and technical support: Freshwater Umbrella – The effects of Nitrogen deposition and climate change on freshwaters in the UK. DEFRA. Intensive monthly field sampling and coordination of laboratory analyses of water chemistry 
  • 2006 Research and technical support: “Paleolimnological Study of Selected Lakes in the Wood Buffalo Region” CEMA, Canada. Production and management of sediment core data (trace metals, diatoms and C/N isotopes) to assess impacts of acid deposition in Athabasca oil sands region of Northern Alberta.
  • 2006-2009; Research and technical support: EU Eurolimpacs. Fieldwork and laboratory analyses (stratigraphy, geochemistry) of lake cores collected across Europe investigating effects of climate change on freshwater systems.
  • 2004-2005 Lecturer: Department of Geography & Earth Sciences, Brunel University. Mediterranean environmental change module (Yr3) including field class in Sicily.
  • 2004-2005 Research associate: HYDRATECH: Techniques for the Quantification of Methane Hydrate in European Continental Margins, University of Birmingham, EU Contract No. EVK3-CT-2000-00043. Production of final report and website for multi-work package project.
  • 2002-2004 Research Associate: Department of Geography, University of Liverpool. Application of PhD research and development of new palaeoecological skills in multiple projects; Geophysical and sedimentological evidence of Late Holocene sea-level change, Wetland formation and recent land use change in St Lucia Wetland, South Africa, Glacial coastal sedimentation in Irish Sea basin, External funding (£25000) from Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust for production of website and learning materials for Romney Marsh Research Trust. Trace metal and pollen analysis of climate/land-use changes in lake sediments of Coastal California, Palaeoenvironmental assessment of Mode 2/3 deposits, Kalambo Falls, Zambia.
  • 2000-2001 Research Fellow: School of Geography & Archaeology, University of Exeter. Leverhulme Trust. Establishment of pollen monitoring program in English organic vineyards for archaeological assessment of Roman vineyards in UK. Species-level pollen identification, vegetation surveying and database production.
  • 1999-2000 Lecturer (PT): Department of Geography & Earth Sciences, Brunel University. 3rd year modules on Mediterranean environmental change, Oceanography, Biogeography and Surveying for Physical Geography.
  • 1995-2000 Doctor of Philosophy "High Resolution Palaeoenvironmental Analyses of Coastal Wetland Sediments from South East Sicily". Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Brunel University.
  • 1992-1995 B.Sc. Environmental Geoscience (1st Class Hons). Department of Geological Sciences, University College London



To view Dr Turner's Publications, please visit UCL Profiles:


  • Recent environmental change in aquatic systems
  • Lakes and contaminant monitoring
  • Sedimentological and palaeolimnological records of human activity
  • Public participation in environmental science
  • IT and GIS in environmental research