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Prof Anson Mackay
208, Pearson Building
Department of Geography
UCL, Gower Street
Tel: 020 7679 0558
Fax: 020 7679 0565
Prof Anson Mackay profile picture
  • Honorary Professor of Geography
  • Dept of Geography
  • Faculty of S&HS

I work in the Environmental Change Research Centre, in the Department of Geography at UCL, one of the world’s leading universities. I am currently Vice Dean for Research in the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences (2013-2016). 

I originally studied at the University of Edinburgh (BSc Biological Sciences: Botany; 1989) and then undertook a PhD in Palaeoecology at the University of Manchester (1993). I came to UCL in 1992 on Leverhulme funded fellowship, assessing the impact of pollution on Lake Baikal. I have worked on this unique lake ever since, as well as other iconic sites, including the Aral Sea and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. 
Research Themes
Research Summary

Freshwater ecosystems are some of the most threatened environments on our planet. Globally, water quality has deteriorated rapidly since the 19th century, while water quantity is especially vulnerable in semi-arid regions. This has led to almost 80% of the world’s population being exposed to substantial water security threats. 

For over 20 years I have worked on assessing human and climatic impacts on some of the world’s most important freshwater ecosystems, including Lake Baikal and the Aral Sea in central Asia, and the Okavango Delta in southern Africa. Key to much of this work is the use biological organisms and stable isotopes to reconstruct past environments.

Teaching Summary

I teach at all levels of the curriculum, from 1st year undergraduate to supervising postgraduate MSc and PhD dissertations. Principal themes include:

  • reconstructing past environments
  • global environmental change
  • statistics for environmental geographers
  • freshwater ecology
  • development of stable isotope technqiues in diatom silica
  • interglacial climate variability and its influence on biodiversity and carbon dynamics

I am especially interested in using social media in my teaching, to encourage student engagement with environmental geographies.

01-OCT-2013 Professor in Environmental Change Geography UCL, United Kingdom
01-OCT-2007 – 30-SEP-2013 Reader in Environmental Change Geography UCL, United Kingdom
01-APR-2000 – 30-SEP-2007 Lecturer Environmental Change Geography UCL, United Kingdom
01-SEP-1992 – 31-MAR-2000 Research Fellow Geography UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1993   Doctor of Philosophy University of Manchester
1989   Bachelor of Science (Honours) University of Edinburgh
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