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Dr David Wilson
Dept of Earth Sciences
5 Gower Place
Dr David Wilson profile picture
  • NERC Independent Research Fellow / Proleptic Lecturer in Earth Sciences
  • Dept of Earth Sciences
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

  • Lecturer, Dept of Earth Sciences, UCL, 2022-
  • NERC Independent Research Fellow, Dept of Earth Sciences, UCL, 2021-2026
  • Research Associate, Dept of Earth Sciences, UCL, 2018-2021
  • Senior Teaching Fellow, Dept of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College, 2017-2018
  • Research Associate, Dept of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College, 2013-2017
  • Research Associate, Dept of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2011-2012
  • PhD Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2011
  • BA/MSci Natural Sciences, Jesus College, University of Cambridge, 2007

Research Themes
Research Summary

As an isotope geochemist and paleoclimatologist, I use geochemical tracers to explore how the Earth’s carbon cycle and climate system operates. By combining modern process studies, method development, and paleo-reconstructions, my research addresses the 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, 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 areas 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 Nd isotope tracers in marine archives.
  • Understanding the controls on terrestrial weathering processes, using Li isotopes in cave waters, speleothems, and sediments.

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 - these can be found on YouTube.

Teaching Summary

As a senior teaching fellow at Imperial College London, I was responsible for all aspects of teaching and assessment for the following courses: Optical Mineralogy and Petrology (Y1), Igneous and Metamorphic Processes (Y1); Palaeoceanography (Y3/4); Earth Science Synthesis (Y3); and Science Communication (Y4). I also taught on Y1 field courses (Charnwood, Dorset, Spain), coordinated Y2 tutorials, and tutored a group of Y3 students.

At UCL, I am currently contributing to Advanced Geochemistry (Y3/4) and Palaeoceanography (Y4), and I supervise students in their Geoscience reports (Y3) and MSci/MSc projects (Y4). I have also taught on field courses in Charnwood Forest, Pembrokeshire, and Cornwall.

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