Prof Sarah Davies

BA Geography (1995), University of Sheffield MRes (1996), PhD (2000), University of Edinburgh

Prof Sarah Davies


Head of Department (Geography)

Department of Geography and Earth Sciences

Contact Details


I joined DGES in September 2002 as a lecturer in Physical Geography and Environmental Science. I was appointed Senior Lecturer in October 2008 .My research focuses on reconstructing climatic and environmental change using evidence from lake sediments. I am particularly interested in the interactions between people, climate and environment over a range of timescales. Most of my work to date has focused in tropical regions such as Mexico and Ethiopia, where I am involved in ongoing projects. Closer to home, I also work on sedimentary and historical records of climatic variability and extreme weather and their impacts in Wales and the UK.


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I am a Co-Investigator on an AHRC-funded research project investigating historical weather extremes in the UK (Spaces of experience and horizons of expectation: the implications of weather extremes, past, present and future). With Dr Cerys Jones and Dr Marie-Jeanne Royer, I am focusing on gathering archival research and oral histories of the impacts and responses to weather extremes in Wales over the past three centuries. Our project involves collaboration with Natural Resources Wales and is supported by the Climate Change Consortium of Wales. We teamed up with cooleague at Llen Natur to celebrate the launch of the online transcribed diaries of William Bulkeley, Llanfechell, Anglesey. These diaries, written between 1734 and 1760 represent a key source for our project.

I am participating in the Hominin Sites and Paleoenvironments Drilling Project (2014-2017), which focuses on continental records of climate variability in eastern Africa spanning key periods of human evolution and dispersal. This is an international collaboration between the USA, Germany, Ethiopia and UK scientists, funded by ICDP, NSF, NERC and CRC. As co-investigator on a NERC project led by Prof Henry Lamb, my role is to analyse the diatom record from a 500,000 year record from Chew Bahir in Southern Ethiopia, in collaboration with Prof Phil Barker (Lancaster University).

Current PhD Students

  • Gwydion Jones, Swansea University (external supervisor, with Prof. Siwan Davies and Dr. Neil Loader)
  • Melanie Kingsbury, University of Stirling (external supervisor, with Dr. Bob McCulloch)

Postdoctoral Supervision

  • Dr Marie-Jeanne Royer

Research Groups


Gaffney, V, Fitch, S, Bates, M, Ware, RL, Kinnaird, T, Gearey, B, Hill, T, Telford, R, Batt, C, Stern, B, Whittaker, J, Davies, S, Sharada, MB, Everett, R, Cribdon, R, Kistler, L, Harris, S, Kearney, K, Walker, J, Muru, M, Hamilton, D, Law, M, Finlay, A, Bates, R & Allaby, RG 2020, 'Multi-Proxy Characterisation of the Storegga Tsunami and Its Impact on the Early Holocene Landscapes of the Southern North Sea', Geosciences, vol. 10, no. 7, 270.
Jones, G, Davies, SM, Staff, RA, Loader, NJ, Davies, S & Walker, M 2020, 'Traces of volcanic ash from the Mediterranean, Iceland and North America in a Holocene record from South Wales, UK', Journal of Quaternary Science.
Peti, L, Augustinus, PC, Gadd, PS & Davies, S 2019, 'Towards characterising rhyolitic tephra layers from New Zealand with rapid, non-destructive μ-XRF core scanning', Quaternary International, vol. 514, pp. 161-172.
Lamb, H, Bates, CR, Bryant, CL, Davies, S, Huws, DG, Marshall, MH, Roberts, HM & Toland, H 2018, '150,000-year palaeoclimate record from northern Ethiopia supports early, multiple dispersals of modern humans from Africa', Scientific Reports, vol. 8, 1077, pp. 1-7.
Davies, S, Metcalfe, SE, Aston, BJ, Byrne, R, Champagne, M, Jones, MD, Leng, MJ & Noren, A 2018, 'A 6,000-year record of environmental change from the eastern Pacific margin of central Mexico', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 202, pp. 211-224.
More publications on the Research Portal