Jesse Zondervan
Profiles

Jesse Zondervan

Teaching and Support Assistant

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

Biography

Biography

From March 2021 I will work as a postdoc on the ROC-CO2 project at Durham University.

Jesse R Zondervan
PhD Research Student

First Supervisor: Dr. Martin Stokes

Qualifications


Overview:

I am a Geoscience research-trained PhD student at Plymouth University, soon starting a PDRA position at Durham University. I have a background in field geology, geomorphology, geochronology (OSL) and environmental sciences and have a particular interest in field geomorphology and spatial/topographic analysis as well as rock engineering, palaeoclimatology, neotectonics, geochemistry, geoarchaeology and science communication.

After graduating in geology from Imperial College, I pursued a PhD at Plymouth University. I have also worked at the Risø Nordic Centre for Luminescence Research in Copenhagen as a visiting PhD. Since March 2021 I am working on the ROC-CO2 project at Durham University as a postdoc.

I am involved in science communication and using geology for global development.

GENERAL INTERESTS

Surface processes controlling mountain landscape evolution

Properties of rock (e.g. lithology, rock strength, chemistry) in relation to geomorphology

Quaternary climate, the carbon cycle and its impact on human evolution and cultures

Development and application of novel dating approaches



Employment/Education:

2021 Starting as a postdoc at Durham University (ROC-CO2 project)
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

Awards:

FUNDING

BSRG Steve Farrell Fund | 250 GBP | to attend the BSRG AGM | 2020

BSG Postgraduate Conference Grant | 500 GBP | to attend the EGU General Assembly in Vienna | 2020

QRA Quaternary Conference Fund | 750 GBP | to attend the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco | 2019

International Association of Sedimentologists Postgraduate Grant | 1000 EUR | to extend my PhD lab work to do more experimental geochronology | 2018

British Society for Geomorphology Postgraduate Research Grant | 1000 GBP | to extend my PhD field sampling campaigns - “Experimental luminescence dating of Quaternary river terraces, High Atlas Mountains, Morocco” | 2018

Quaternary Research Association New Research Workers Award | 1000 GBP | to extend my PhD lab work to do more experimental geochronology | 2018

Geological Remote Sensing Group Student Award | 1000 GBP | to extend my PhD remote sensing activities by carrying out field surveys | 2018

International Association of Sedimentologists Student Travel Grant | 450 EUR | to attend the 4th Meeting of the Working Group on Sediment Generation | 2018

HONOURS

British Sedimentological Research Group Award for Undergraduate Sedimentology | for my Imperial College thesis titled "Landscape response to active faulting, southern Gulf of Corinth, central Greece" | 2017

Best Poster | Imperial College MSci Posters 2017

Engineering Dean’s list | Imperial College | 2016

Burton & Garran Distinguished Scholar | 2016

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)
  • Nederlandse Geologische Vereniging (NGV)

Teaching

Teaching

Teaching interests

Teaching Assistant (2017 - present):

GEOL2001 Sedimentology & Palaeontology

GEOL2003 Geospatial techniques

GEOL2004 Stratigraphy and Earth History

GEOL1001 The Dynamic Earth

GEOL1002 Earth Materials

GEOL1003 Geosystems

GEOL1005 Geological Maps and Structural Geology

2016-2017 Undergraduate Mentor, Imperial College London

2016-2017 Teaching Assistant, Imperial College London

ESE 3.13 Remote sensing and GIS

ESE 3.14 Sedimentary Geology

ESE 3.33 Cross sections independent field mapping workshop

Research

Research

Research interests

PhD Project: Lithological and climatic controls on fluvial landscape evolution of a post-orogenic dryland mountain belt (submitted)

Work on fluvial landscape evolution in the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains, with a focus on geomorphology, lithological strength and palaeoclimate. In particular, I have used river terraces and OSL dating techniques to understand river response to climatically forced erosion and lithological resistance in a post-orogenic mountain belt.

Innovative geochronology

Geological and archaeological material can be dated over a timespan of years to millions of years using the optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) technique. The technique is well established and is used in over 400 laboratories around the world.

I have worked with the Nordic Centre for Luminescence Research (NCLR) at DTU Risø, developer and manufacturer of OSL instruments, to apply innovative techniques and protocols to date fluvial sediments often found in mountainous settings. I also apply rock exposure dating using new techniques pioneered at this laboratory.

Updates

This project has so far been awarded five awards and grants to support extending work. Supporters are the Quaternary Research Association, the British Society for Geomorphology, the International Association for Sedimentologists and the Geological Remote Sensing Group.

The project, Quantifying landscape response to tectonics and climate using river terraces in the Atlas Mountains, central Morocco includes updates such as publications 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

Zondervan J.R., Stokes M., Boulton S.J., Telfer M.W., Mather A.E. Rock strength and structural controls on fluvial erodibility: implications for drainage divide mobility in a collisional mountain belt. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2020. [link]

MSci Project: Investigating landscape response to active faulting:

I worked with Dr. Alex Whittaker, Dr. Rebecca Bell, Stephen 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.

Zondervan J.R., Whittaker A.C., Bell R.E., Watkins S.E., Brooke S.A.S., Hann M.G. New constraints on bedrock erodibility and landscape response times upstream of an active fault. Geomorphology, 2020. [link]


Other research

Carbon dioxide emissions by rock-derived organic carbon oxidation (ROC-CO2)

The ROC-CO2 project (Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by Rock-derived Organic Carbon oxidation) aims to quantify the rates and controls on the CO2 release by chemical weathering of organic carbon in sedimentary rocks, which is a major component of the geological carbon cycle (see http://roc-co2.weebly.com/ for further information).

We know that erosion is major control on this flux: erosion increases the delivery of rocks to the near-surface weathering zone where they can be oxidised.

However, we don't know enough about where high erosion rates impinge on sedimentary rocks. Nor whether the inherent rock-mass properties of shales mean that these landscapes are naturally prone to very high rates of CO2 release by rock weathering.

To address this issue, as a postdoc on the project I combine quantitative geomorphology methods with lithological maps and geochemical datasets. We use topographic analysis and erosion models with empirically-based models of oxidative weathering rates to assess regional- to global-scale patterns in the modern-day CO2 release by rock organic carbon oxidation.

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. 

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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.



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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.

Grants & contracts

FUNDING

BSRG Steve Farrell Fund | 250 GBP | to attend the BSRG AGM | 2020

BSG Postgraduate Conference Grant | 500 GBP | to attend the EGU General Assembly in Vienna | 2020

QRA Quaternary Conference Fund | 750 GBP | to attend the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco | 2019

International Association of Sedimentologists Postgraduate Grant | 1000 EUR | to extend my PhD lab work to do more experimental geochronology | 2018

British Society for Geomorphology Postgraduate Research Grant | 1000 GBP | to extend my PhD field sampling campaigns - “Experimental luminescence dating of Quaternary river terraces, High Atlas Mountains, Morocco” | 2018

Quaternary Research Association New Research Workers Award | 1000 GBP | to extend my PhD lab work to do more experimental geochronology | 2018

Geological Remote Sensing Group Student Award | 1000 GBP | to extend my PhD remote sensing activities by carrying out field surveys | 2018

International Association of Sedimentologists Student Travel Grant | 450 EUR | to attend the 4th Meeting of the Working Group on Sediment Generation | 2018

HONOURS

British Sedimentological Research Group Award for Undergraduate Sedimentology | for my Imperial College thesis titled "Landscape response to active faulting, southern Gulf of Corinth, central Greece" | 2017

Best Poster | Imperial College MSci Posters 2017

Engineering Dean’s list | Imperial College | 2016

Burton & Garran Distinguished Scholar | 2016


Personal

Personal

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.


Links


 Twitter: @JesseZondervan

Related articles on the University website