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Benjamin Bell

Contact details 

Previous education

  • 2013-2014 – MSc Geographical Science, The University of Manchester
  • 2010-2013 – BSc (Hons) Geography, The University of Manchester

Thesis title

Advancing the application of novel geochemical proxies in Quaternary palynology.


Research details

Understanding the response of species and ecosystems to climatic change, both past and present, is a top priority across multiple scientific disciplines. Palynology (the study of fossil pollen and spores) is one of the key palaeoecological techniques used for the reconstruction of past vegetation cover and climate. Despite the long history and contribution of pollen analysis to palaeoecology and palaeoclimatology, pollen is now one of the only Quaternary fossil groups where geochemical analytical techniques are not well developed or routinely used.

This project aims to advance the understanding and application of geochemical climate tracers in palynology including stable isotopes using the case study of the Atlantic cedar (Cedrus atlantica Manetti). The conservation status of this emblematic and economically important North African tree is threatened by climate change and anthropogenic landscape degradation. This investigation will ultimately provide new insights into historical trends in drought severity, forest dieback, and ecosystem resilience in a semi-arid region of North Africa.

Research interests

  • Quaternary environmental change
  • Environmental reconstruction
  • Climate change
  • Palynology
  • Stable isotope analysis