Dr Tim Daley

Dr Tim Daley

Associate Professor of Physical Geography

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

I am Deputy Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute (SEI) a cross-faculty university research institute focused on the development of multidisciplinary research projects and real-world impact from research. Within the Institute I lead a team of researchers focused on climate and earth system science.



PhD, Geography, University of Southampton
B.Sc (Hons) Geography, 1st Class, University of Southampton
Honour Moderations (Geography), Oxford University


2015-                   Deputy Director  - SEI

2013 - 2015        Director of the Institute for Sustainability Solutions Research, Plymouth University
2010 - 2013        Lecturer in Geography, Plymouth University
2009 - 2010        DEFRA / EA Climate Change Adaptation Co-ordinator for Northwest England
2008 - 2009        NERC QUEST Postdoctoral Research Officer, Swansea University

Professional Awards

  • Award for Best Postgraduate Research Poster, NERC RAPID International Science Meeting, Birmingham, 2006
  • Award for Best Postgraduate Research Poster, NERC RAPID 1st Annual Meeting, Nottingham, 2004
  • Florence Miller Award for Best Undergraduate Dissertation, University of Southampton, School of Geography, Class of 2003

Professional membership

Quaternary Research Association (QRA)
European Geosciences Union (EGU)
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Teaching interests

EAR 5204         Climate Change: Science and Policy                (module leader)
GGP 305          Global Climate Change                                      (module leader)     
GGH 300          Advanced fieldwork in Geography - Shanghai
GGX 2109        Field skills in Brittany

Research interests


Since 2009:

Three successful NERC grant awards, 

£180,000 of research income to Plymouth

Personal research mission:

"...Creating better understanding of the Earth System to help solve some of society's most pressing problems..."

That could sound impossibly difficult. The way I approach its delivery is through research in three key areas. Associated projects are highlighted, but please see "grants and contracts" below for full details and award values.

PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY (what causes climate change?)

- Understanding climate change in the last 21,000 years with a view to improving our ability to understand the causes and predict the effects of present and future climate change.

 - Development and application of new isotopic techniques for investigating the climate information recorded in the remains of plant material in peat bogs. This work is associated with a NERC RAPID project ISOMAP-UK  (see final RAPID brochure here ) and ongoing projects: PRECIP and PATAGON, both supported by NERC.

 - Working with numerical modellers to validate models used to predict future climate against the yardstick of past climate change data (NERC QUEST, NERC RAPID and NERC PATAGON)

CLIMATE-CARBON CYCLE INTERACTION (how does the land surface regulate carbon?)

- The investigation of changes in the carbon cycle with past climate change through 1) the synthesis of carbon isotope data from bones and sediments ( NERC QUEST grant  - QUEST Deglaciation )  and 2) through analysing the efficacy of peatlands in sequestering carbon, exploring the relative roles of methane derived- and atmospheric- carbon dioxide in bog plant growth (supported by the Royal Society and NERC BESS Programme).

Watch my 5 minute description of the key future challenge here

CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION (how does society adapt and when?)

 - Working with industry (e.g. Ecocities project ) and the public sector in the development of climate policy and practise to support the management of climate change adaptation (please click here for info on business conference address)

The best way to keep up to date with developments in this research agenda is through our facebook page:

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

PhD student completions:

PhD - Emma Rice - NERC-funded - awarded Dec 2016
PhD (Director of Studies) - Thomas Newton – awarded Jan 2017

MSc/MRes students completions
Steffie Haynes (2011, MSc Applied Marine Science)
Thomas Lawrence (2011, MRes, Marine Geosciences)
Paul Shaw (2012, MSc Sustainable Environmental Management; Merit)
Steffan Shaggeer (2013, MSc Sustainable Environmental Management)


Grants & contracts

NERC RCL award 1903.0415: ""Testing the late Holocene hydroclimatic and stable isotopic signal from ombrotrophic bogs in southernmost Chile and the Falkland Islands" £5120 - to TJD (June 2015)

NERC radiocarbon award 1740.1013: "Testing the late Holocene hydroclimatic and stable isotopic signal from ombrotrophic bogs in southernmost Chile and the Falkland Islands" £4640 - to TJD to progress the doctoral research of PhD grad student Emma Rice (December 2013)

Exmoor National Park (MIRES project): "The context of prehistoric landscapes: preliminary analysis of sites on Exmoor"  £10,700 - to Ralph Fyfe (PI, Plymouth) and TJD (Co-I) (July 2013- December 2013)

NERC Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BESS) programme grant: “Quantifying the biodiversity threshold for peatland carbon service delivery”   £20,084 -  to TJD, PI (July 2013 – June 2014)

This project seeks to use a novel molecular biomarker approach to test the relationship between microbial biodiversity and carbon sequestration in temperate peatlands. I am working with Dr Ralph Fyfe as Co-I and Dr Paola Garcia-Meneses as Post-Doctoral Technician.

Exmoor National Park: "Vegetation and climate change on Exmoor over the last millennium - Phase II" £22,795 - to Ralph Fyfe (PI, Plymouth) and TJD (Co-I)  (March 2013 - December 2013)

NERC algorithm PhD studentship to Emma Rice £85,627 - TJD DoS (October 2012 - September 2016)

Tracking Holocene changes in the southern hemisphere westerly wind belt from lakes and bogs in Tierra del Fuego.

Exmoor National Park: "Vegetation and climate change on Exmoor over the last millennium" £18,018 - to Ralph Fyfe (PI, Plymouth) and TJD (Co-I)  (Awarded July 2012)

Assessing ability to reconstruct climate and environmental change in the last millennium for peat conservation / restoration and archaeological stakeholders.

Royal Society Grant : Quantifying carbon cycling in peatlands under different hydrological conditions  - £10,040 - to TJD - PI  (December 2011 - November 2012)

Awarded October 2011

Peatlands sequester carbon, but it is unclear how much of this is drawn from atmospheric carbon dioxide or recycled from methane. Peatland re-wetting has become a widespread land management practise in response, in part, to the potential for carbon sequestration. This project will test how past bog hydrology influenced this sourcing of carbon for the growth of Sphagnum mosses. The project will have implications for the efficacy of peatland restoration as a tool for mitigating atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions and therefore have implications for global carbon farming and carbon credit trading. Outputs from the work will be exchanged directly with stakeholders through the University's new Institute, the ISSR

NERC Standard Grant: PATAGON (Palaeoclimate reconstructions from Tierra DelFuego to detect Land-Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions)  - £796,000 (£45,000 to TJD - Co-I)  (October 2011 - September 2014) (click here for project website)

Awarded August 2011

This grant brings together partners from the Universities of Aberdeen, Southampton and Swansea with Plymouth University to investigate variations in climate in Tierra del Fuego over the last 2000 years. The team will be looking to track past variations in the latitudinal position and intensity of the Southern Hemisphere Westerly wind belt over this time period from its hydroclimatic and stable isotopic footprint recorded in the sub-fossil remains of plants and amoebae in peatland sediments. Through comparison with data from an ongoing NERC grant (PRECIP) based in NE North America and involving the same team members, we aim to test for interhemispheric climate linkages. We want to see if climate at the southern end of South America varied in phase, out of phase, or was irregularly related to changes in the mid-latitude North Atlantic region.


MAPVAR (Mapping Regional Variability in Precipitation Stable Isotopes) University of Plymouth PUP fund - £1250

Awarded March 2011

Testing whether regional-scale spatial variations in δP throughout a 6 month growing season 1) reflect trajectory patterns and 2) are preserved in the modern surface mosses growing in that study area

Quaternary Research Association (QCF)  - £325    Awarded February 2011

Conference funding to cover invited attendance of EGU General Assembly, Vienna, April 3rd 2011

NERC PRECIP Standard research grant - £800,000  - Project partner -  April 2010 - March 2013

Investigating the causes of past climate changes in the last 10,000 years in the region around Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Maine. See first papers from the project under "publications" next tab : Amesbury et al (2012) & Pyne O'Donnell et al., (2012)

Quaternary Research Association (QCF)  - £4200    Awarded December 2008

Conference funding to cover invited attendance of UK peatland palaeoclimate consortium at INQUA/PAGES sponsored Peatland Palaeoclimate workshop, Estonia, 17th-19th May 2009

Roberts Training Fund  - £1000 Awarded to TJD, May 2007

Travel grant funding for the forging of US/UK international collaboration on stable isotopic analysis of water isotopes from ice cores and organics with INSTAAR, Boulder, Colorado.

Selected peer-reviewed 

(for full list see Google Scholar Citations)


van Bellen, S., Mauquoy, D., Payne, R.J., Roland, T.P., Hughes, P.D.M., Daley, T.J., Loader, N.J., Street-Perrott, F.A., Rice, E.M., Pancotto, V.A.,  (2017) An alternative approach to transfer functions? Testing the performance of a functional trait-based model for testate amoebae, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaecoecology, 468, 173-183 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.12.005


Loader, N.J., Street-Perrott, F.A., Mauquoy, D., Roland, T.P., van Bellen, S., Daley T.J., Davies, D., Hughes, P.D.M., Pancotto, V., Young, G., Amesbury, M., Charman, D., Mallon, G., Yu, Z., (2016) Measurements of Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon Isotope variability in Sphagnum moss along a micro-topographical gradient in a southern Patagonian Peatland, Journal of Quaternary Science, 31 (4), 426-435 DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2871

Daley, T.J., Barber, K.E., Hughes, P.D.M., Loader, N.J., Leuenberger, M.C., Street-Perrott, F.A., (2016) The 8.2 ka BP event in north eastern North America - first combined oxygen- and hydrogen- isotopic data in peat from Newfoundland, Journal of Quaternary Science, 31 (4), 416-425 DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2870

van Bellen, S., Mauquoy, D., Hughes, P.D.M., Roland, T.P., Daley, T.J., Loader, N.J., Street-Perrott, F.A., Rice, E.M., Pancotto, V.A., Payne, R.J. (2015) Late-Holocene climate dynamics recorded in the peat bogs of Tierra del Fuego, South America, The Holocene, 26, 489-501 DOI:10.1177/0959683615609756


Roland, T.P., Daley, T.J., Caseldine, C.J., Charman, D.J., Turney, C.S., Amesbury, M.J., Thompson, G.J., Woodley, E.J. (2015) The 5.2 ka climate event: evidence from stable isotope and multi-proxy palaeoecological peatland records in Ireland, Quaternary Science Reviews, 124, 209-223 DOI:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.07.026

Charman, D.J., Amesbury, M.J., Hinchcliffe, W., Hughes, P.D.M., Mallon, G., Blake, W.H., Daley, T.J., Gallego-Sala, A.V., Mauquoy, D. (2015) Drivers of Holocene peatland carbon accumulation across a climate gradient in Northeastern North America, Quaternary Science Reviews, 121, 110-119 DOI:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.05.012

Loader, N.J., Street-Perrott, F.A., Daley, T.J., Hughes, P.D.M., Kimak, A., Levanič, T., Mallon, G., Mauquoy, D., Robertson, I., Roland, T.P., van Bellen, S., Ziehmer, M.M., Leuenberger, M. (2014) Simultaneous Determination of Stable Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen Isotopes in Cellulose, Analytical Chemistry, 87 (1), 376 - 380 DOI: 10.1021/ac502557x


Chambers, F.M., Brain, S.A., Mauquoy, D., McCarroll, J., Daley, T.J., (2014) The 'Little Ice Age' in the Southern Hemisphere in the context of the last 3000 years: peat-based proxy-climate data from Tierra del Fuego, The Holocene, 24 (12), 1649 - 1656

van Bellen, S., Mauquoy, D., Payne, R.J., Roland, T.P., Daley, T.J., Hughes, P.D.M, Loader, N.J., Street-Perrott, F.A., Rice, E.M., Pancotto, V.A., (2014) Testate amoebae as a proxy for reconstructing Holocene water table dynamics in southern Patagonian peat bogs, Journal of Quaternary Science, 29 (5), 463 - 474


Swindles, G.T, Lawson, I.T., Matthews, I.P., Blaauw, M., Daley, T.J., Charman, D.J., Roland, T.P., Plunkett, G., Schettler, G., Gearey, B.R., Turner, T.E., Rea, H.A., Roe, H.M., Amesbury, M.J., Chambers, F.M., Holmes, J., Mitchell, F.J.G, Blackford, J., Blundell, A., Branch, N., Holmes, J., Langdon, P., McCarroll, J., McDermott, F., Oksanen, P.O., Pritchard, O., Stastney, P., Stefanini, B., Young, D., Wheeler, J., Becker, K., Armit, I., (2013) Centennial-scale climate change in Ireland during the Holocene, Earth-Science Reviews, 126, 300 - 320 (click here for online access)

Amesbury, M.J., Mallon, G., Charman, D.J., Hughes, P.D.M., Booth, R.K., Daley, T.J., Garneau, M., (2013) Statistical testing of a new testate amoeba based transfer function for water-table depth reconstruction on ombrotrophic peatlands in north-eastern Canada and Maine, United States, Journal of Quaternary Science, 28 (1), 27-39 (click here for online access)


Pyne-O’Donnell, S.D.F., Hughes, P.D.M., Froese, D.G., Jensen, B.J.L., Kuehn, S.C., Mallon, G, Amesbury, M.J., Charman, D.J., Daley, T.J., Loader, N.J., Mauquoy, D., Street-Perrott, F.A., Woodman-Ralph, J., (2012) High-precision ultra-distal Holocene tephrochronology in North America, Quaternary Science Reviews, 52, 6-11 (click here for online access)

Daley, T.J., Mauquoy, D., Chambers, F.M., Street-Perrott, F.A., Hughes, P.D.M., Loader, N.J., Roland, T.P., van Bellen, S., Garcia-Meneses, P., Lewin, S., (2012) Investigating late Holocene variations in hydroclimate and the stable isotope composition of precipitation using southern South American peatlands: an hypothesis, Climate of the past, 8, 1457-1471 (click here for online access)

Hughes, P.D.M., Mallon, G., Essex, H.J., Amesbury, M.J., Charman, D.J., Blundell, A., Chambers, F.M., Daley, T.J., Mauquoy, D., (2012) The use of k-values to examine plant 'species signals' in a peat humification record from Newfoundland, Quaternary International, 268, 156-165 (click here for online access)

Daley, T.J., Barber, K.E., (2012) Multi-proxy Holocene palaeoclimate records from Walton Moss, northern England and Dosenmoor, northern Germany, assessed using three statistical approaches, Quaternary International, 268, 111-127 (click here for online access)


Daley, T.J., Thomas, E.R., Holmes, J.A., Street-Perrott, F.A., Chapman, M.R., Tindall, J.C., Valdes, P.J., Loader, N.J., Marshall, J.D., Wolff, E.W., Hopley, P.J., Atkinson, T., Barber, K.E., Fisher, E.H., Robertson, I., Hughes, P.D.M., Roberts, C.N., (2011) The 8200 yr BP cold event in stable isotope records from the North Atlantic region, Global and Planetary Change, 79, pp. 288-302 (click here for online access)


Daley, T.J., Barber, K.E., Street-Perrott, F.A., Loader, N.J., Marshall, J.D., Crowley, S.F., Fisher, E.H., (2010) Holocene climate variability revealed by Sphagnum cellulose oxygen isotope analyses from Walton Moss, northern England, Quaternary Science Reviews, 29 (13-14), pp. 1590-1601 ( click here for online access )


Daley, T.J., Street-Perrott, F.A., Loader, N.J., Barber, K.E., Hughes, P.D.M., Fisher, E.H., Marshall, J.D., (2009) Terrestrial climate signal of the "8200-yr cold event" in the Labrador Sea region, Geology, 37, 9, pp. 831-834 ( click here for online access )

    with impact in National Geographic and affiliates and Planet Earth Online

Charman D.J., Barber K.E., Blaauw M., Langdon P.G., Mauquoy D., Daley T.J., Hughes P.D.M., Karofeld E., (2009)  Climate drivers for peatland palaeoclimate records, Quaternary Science Reviews, 28 (19-20), pp. 1811-1819 ( click here for online access )

Book reviews

Daley, T.J., (2016) Holocene Book Review: Earth's Climate Evolution, The Holocene, 26 (5), 828-829 doi:10.1177/0959683616634593

Reports & invited lectures

Newton, T., Gehrels, W.R., Daley, T.J., Long, A.J., Bentley, M.J., (2014) Holocene sea-level changes in the Falkland Islands, EGU General Assembly 2014, Vienna. Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 16, EGU2014-PREVIEW, 2014

Roland, T., Hughes, P.D.M., Mauquoy, D., van Bellen S., Daley, T.J., Loader, N.J., Street-Perrott, F.A., (2014) Multi-proxy palaeoclimate reconstructions from peatlands in southern South America, EGU General Assembly 2014, Vienna. Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 16, EGU2014-PREVIEW, 2014

Daley, T.J., Street-Perrott, F.A., Loader, N.J., Hughes, P.D.M., Charman, D.J., Mauquoy, D., Amesbury, M.J., Mallon, G., (2013) “Providing a challenge for isotope-enabled models:  stable isotopic analysis of Sphagnum alpha-cellulose from raised peat bogs” Eos Trans. AGU,  Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract PP23C-2001.

Daley, T.J., (2013) “To wet or not to wet? Climate-carbon interactions in peatlands” Invited seminar, York, November 2013.

Daley, T.J., (2012) “Hasta del fin del mundo por el amor de la cientia” Invited seminar, CNRS – ECOLAB, Toulouse, France, May 2012.

Daley, T.J., (2012) “Abrupt Climate Change 8200 years ago: how well do models simulate the data?” Invited Keynote, Annual GEOTOP research conference, Montreal, Quebec, January 2012.

Daley, T.J., (2011) “Improved understanding of Holocene climate change using peat bog stable isotopes” EGU General Assembly 2011, Vienna. Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 13, EGU2011-12961EGU

Daley, T.J., (2010) Late Holocene Patagonian Palaeoclimate Variability from Raised Peat Bog Sediments, PAGES-LOTRED 2nd International Symposium  “Reconstructing Climate Variations in South America and the Antarctic Peninsula over the last 2000 years”, 27th – 30th October 2010, Valdivia, Chile

Street-Perrott, F. A., Daley, T. J., Fraser, R., (2009) Global maps of reconstructed d13C values of terrestrial biomass from 30ka BP to present. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science 6, 072061

Daley, T.J., Street-Perrott, F.A., Loader, N.J., Hughes, P.D.M., Barber, K.E., Fisher, E.H., Marshall, J.D., (2008) “Tracking Holocene Climate Change Using Peat Bog Stable Isotopes”, Invited Keynote, 33rd International Geological Congress, Oslo, Abstract EGC06201L

Daley, T.J., Street-Perrott, F.A., Fraser, R. (2008) “New Global Maps of δ13C values of terrestrial biomass from 21ka BP to Present, 33rd International Geological Congress, Oslo, Abstract EGC06206L

Daley, T.J., Hughes P.D.M., Street-Perrott, F.A., Loader, N.J., Barber, K.E., (2006) “Evidence for the severity of the 8.2ka cold event from a peat bog in Newfoundland”, NERC RAPID International Science Meeting, Birmingham

Daley, T.J., Hughes P.D.M., Street-Perrott, F.A., Loader, N.J., Barber, K.E., (2005) “Oxygen-Isotopic Variability Across the 8.2 ka Cold Event From an Ombrotrophic Peat bog on the Bonavista Peninsula, Newfoundland” Eos Trans. AGU, 86(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract PP13A-1482

Other academic activities

PhD theses examined

2013 - Dr Samantha Allcock,
"Living with a changing landscape: Holocene climate variability and socio-evolutionary trajectories, central Turkey"

2013 - Dr Robert Barnett,
"Holocene relative sea-level changes in South Hinnoya, Arctic Norway"

Research leadership and outreach

Director for the Institute for Sustainability Solutions Research (ISSR) ( click here for website )

The Institute for Sustainability Solutions Research (ISSR) is the single point of contact for organisations wanting to collaborate with the University on sustainability. We provide an incubator for developing multidisciplinary research projects, helping to find solutions to the world's most pressing environmental, economic and social challenges. In so doing, the ISSR helps researchers develop impact from their knowledge discovery.


2012: Interview given to BBC spotlight on Climate-Carbon cycle research and economic applications during official launch of the Institute for Sustainability Solutions Research by Minister of State Greg Barker MP (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01gy918/Spotlight_30_04_2012/)

2009: Interview given to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation "Leanne Power Show" on ocean circulation driven climate change 8200 years ago

2009: Interview given to CHML900 radio for the Matt Holmes current affairs show - local/regional cooling with global warming.


Twitter: @drtimdaley (https://twitter.com/drtimdaley)