Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Dr. Richard Streeter

Department / group: Department of Geography & Sustainable Development, Centre for Biological Diversity
Personal URL: Not available

Research interests:

My research focuses on the uses and development of tephrochronology as a tool to understand environmental change in landscapes over decades-to-millennia timescales, particularly soil erosion in Iceland. I also have an interest in the resilience of social-natural systems to environmental change, particularly climate change and its impact on the Norse settlement of the North Atlantic. A current theme of my research is looking for early warning signals of critical transitions in complex systems, such as land surfaces, by using the morphology of recent tephra.


-Holocene environmental change

-Long-term dynamics and sustainability of coupled socio-ecological systems

-Early warning signals

-The Norse Settlement of the North Atlantic (Faroes, Iceland, Greenland)

Career history:

I am a geographer interested in tephrochronology (using layers of volcanic ash as dating controls) and particularly how it can be applied to understanding human-environment interactions over the Holocene. After completing a B.Sc. in Geography (Edinburgh, 2007) I went on to complete a Ph.D. (2011), also at Edinburgh. In this I used tephrochronology to investigate patterns and rates of soil erosion in south Iceland during a period of rapid climatic and demographic change in the 15th and 16th centuries as well as developed methods for the high-resolution measurement of tephra layers in open stratigraphic sections.

After my PhD and prior to moving to St Andrews in June 2013 I was a visiting fellow at Edinburgh where I worked on a project looking at early warning signals of impending vegetation change in tephra morphology from recent volcanic eruptions. I have also worked on projects looking at the long-term sustainability of human settlement in the North Atlantic within the research network of NABO.

Active research projects:

Not available

Recent publications:

Nelson, MC, Ingram, SE, Dugmore, AJ, Streeter, RT, Peeples, MA, McGovern, TH, Hegmon, M, Arneborg, J, Kintigh, KW, Brewington, S, Spielmann, KA, Simpson, IA, Strawhacker, C, Comeau, LEL, Torvinen, A, Madsen, CK, Hambrecht, G & Smiarowski, K 2015, ‘Climate challenges, vulnerabilities, and food security’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 113, no. 2, pp. 298-303., 10.1073/pnas.1506494113

Streeter, RT, Dugmore, A, Lawson, IT, Erlendsson, E & Edwards, K 2015, ‘The onset of the palaeoanthropocene in Iceland: changes in complex natural systems’ The Holocene, vol 25, no. 10, pp. 1662-1675., 10.1177/0959683615594468

Hreiðarsdóttir, E, Streeter, RT & Hambrecht, G 2015, Skaftártunga : archaeological investigations in 2014. Fornleifastofnun Íslands.

Streeter, RT & Dugmore, A 2014, ‘Late-Holocene land surface change in a coupled social-ecological system, southern Iceland: a cross-scale tephrochronology approach’ Quaternary Science Reviews, vol 86, pp. 99-114., 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.12.016

Streeter, RT & Dugmore, A 2013, ‘Anticipating land surface change’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 110, no. 15, pp. 5779-5784., 10.1073/pnas.1220161110

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