Mr Jesse Zondervan

Mr Jesse Zondervan

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)


Mr. Jesse R Zondervan
PhD Research Student

First Supervisor: Dr. Martin Stokes



I'm a Geoscience research-trained PhD student at Plymouth University. I've got a background in field geology and environmental sciences and have a particular interest in neotectonics, field geomorphology and remote sensing as well as palaeoclimatology, geoarchaeology and science communication.


2017 MSci (Hons) Geology, Imperial College London (First Class)
2016-2017 Undergraduate Mentor, Imperial College London
2016-2017 Teaching Assistant, Imperial College London
2016 Exchange student, The Australian National University (High Distinction)
2016 Research intern, University of Amsterdam


2017 BSRG Award for Undergraduate Sedimentology

Professional membership

  • Fellow of the Geological Society of London (FGS)
  • Postgraduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS)
  • Geology for Global Development (GfGD)
  • Association of British Science Writers (ABSW)
  • British Society for Geomorphology (BSG)
  • British Sedimentological Research Group (BSRG)
  • Geologists' Association (GA)
  • Quaternary Research Association (QRA)
  • International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS)
  • Geological Remote Sensing Group (GRSG)
  • American Association of Petroleum Geoscientists (AAPG)
  • Koninklijk Nederlands Geologisch Mijnbouwkundig Genootschap (KNGMG)
  • Nederlandse Geologische Vereniging (NGV)

Teaching interests

Teaching Assistant:

GEOL2003 Geospatial techniques
GEOL1003 Geosystems

Research interests

PhD Project Title: Tectonic and climatic controls on Quaternary fluvial landscape development in NW Africa

Work on river catchments in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, with a focus on geomorphology and neotectonics. In September I explored the Ouarzazate region with Dr Martin Stokes and Professor Anne Mather. In particular, I will be using river terraces and OSL dating techniques to understand river response in tectonically active regions.

The project, Quantifying landscape response to tectonics and climate using river terraces in the Atlas Mountains, central Morocco includes updates on ResearchGate.

My PhD is part of an ongoing effort to understand landscape evolution in the High Atlas Mountains by Dr Martin Stokes, Prof Anne Mather and Dr Sarah Boulton: 

Long term landscape evolution of the Moroccan High Atlas


Investigating landscape response to active faulting:

I worked with Dr. Alex WhittakerDr. Rebecca BellStephen Watkins and Sam Brooke at Imperial. I'm trained as a geologist and my background is in erosion and sedimentation, fluvial geomorphology, structural geology, climate and tectonics. My MSci project Investigating landscape response to active faulting, Southern Gulf of Corinth, Central Greece is what got me interested in the PhD project.

This dissertation was awarded the BSRG Award for Undergraduate Sedimentology.


Other research

Population dynamics and environment in South America

Another active project I contribute to is one with Dr Crystal McMichael and Dr Suzette Flantua at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). 

Collecting a complete radiocarbon database and using statistical analysis and modelling to determine the interaction between environment and population dynamics. 


Palynology of Lake George

I've also done a project with  Dr. Janelle Stevenson  and  Professor Brad Pillans  at the Australian National University (ANU) on the palynology of Lake George, which hosts the longest paleoenvironmental record in Australia. Feel free to check my report Palynology of Lake George -A review of palynology, Lake George and regional & global Quaternary comparisons and the start of palynological analysis of a new Lake George core.


Preserved fossil coral heads as indicators of Holocene high sea level

I'm still waiting for some paleoreef samples to be dated at the Australian National University, as I collected these on an undergraduate project with Dr Bradley Opdyke. This research,  Preserved fossil coral heads as indicators of Holocene high sea level on One Tree Island  goes into sea level records and isostatic adjustment models.

Conference Papers
Zondervan JR, Stokes M, Boulton SJ, Mather AE & Telfer MW 2018 'Catchment changes in response to tectonics and climate: using river terraces and DEM data in the southern High Atlas Mountains (Morocco)' 4th Meeting of the Working Group on Sediment Generation, Dublin PEARL
Zondervan JR 2018 'Geoscience in a rapidly changing world: what could go wrong?' Geologists' Association Student Symposium, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London PEARL
Zondervan JR, Stokes M, Mather AE & Boulton SJ 2017 'Fluvial archives of NW African climate and tectonic evolution, Atlas Mountains, central Morocco' Earth Sciences Research Conference, Plymouth University PEARL
Whittaker A, Boulton S, Kent E, Zondervan J, Hann M, Watkins S, Bell R & Brooke S 2017 'Evaluating the competing effects of lithology and sediment supply on the erosional dynamics of rivers crossing active faults' 11779-11779
Zondervan JR 2016 Palynology of Lake George-A review of palynology, Lake George and regional & global Quaternary comparisons and the start of pal-ynological analysis of a new Lake George core.
Zondervan JR 2016 Preserved fossil coral heads as indicators of Holocene high sea level on One Tree Island.

Additional information

Geoscience Communication & Outreach:

Geoscience Editor, Scienceseeker

Contributing author, Geology for Global Development

Pollen - Collecting Tiny Pieces of Story

What are pollen and what is the story they have to tell us? In this short 8 minute documentary and podcast, I will take you on a journey through the world of palynology.

Featuring Dr. Janelle Stevenson, Research Fellow at the ANU Department of Archaeology and Natural History, Professor Bradley Pillans, Researcher at the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences and Dr. Nicholas Matzke, Postdoctoral Scientist at the ANU Moritz Lab for Evolutionary Biogeography & Conservation.


 Twitter: @JesseZondervan