Dr Andrew Johnson

Position: Visiting Research Fellow (formerly University Reader) in Sclerochronology

College: College of Life & Natural Sciences

Department: Natural Sciences

Subject area: Geology

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About

At the end of January 2015 I left my position as a lecturer in geology to focus on research, principally in the applications of bivalve sclerochronology to understanding late Cenozoic climate and oceanography of the North Atlantic region. I am continuing with some teaching duties as an associate lecturer.

Teaching responsibilities

Such teaching as I am now undertaking is principally in geological fieldwork.

Research interests

My research focuses on the use of proxy data from marine bivalve mollusc shells to document environmental change. Fine-scale (e.g. seasonal) information can be obtained from ontogenetic (through-growth) records of stable-isotopic composition, trace element concentration and growth-increment width. I have applied this methodology in investigations of the distant (Jurassic) and more recent (late Cenozoic) past, the results from the latter being relevant to prediction of future changes in climate and the biological productivity of the oceans.

Membership of professional bodies

  • Member of the Palaeontological Association
  • Member of PA Council 1999-2003; Handling Editor of Palaeontology 2000-03
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Qualifications

Undergraduate qualifications

  • BA (MA) Geology (2nd Class), 1975, University of Oxford.

Research qualifications

  • DPhil (1980) on Jurassic bivalve palaeobiology, University of Oxford.

Recent publications

Williams M, Haywood AM, Harper EM, Johnson ALA, Knowles T, Leng MJ, Lunt DJ, Okamura B, Taylor PD & Zalasiewicz J (2009) Pliocene climate and seasonality in North Atlantic shelf seas. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 367, 85-108.

Johnson ALA, Hickson JA, Bird A, Schöne BR, Balson PS, Heaton THE & Williams M (2009) Comparative sclerochronology of modern and mid-Pliocene (c. 3.5 Ma) Aequipecten opercularis (Mollusca, Bivalvia): an insight into past and future climate change in the north-east Atlantic region. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 284, 164-179.

Williams M, Nelson AE, Smellie JL, Leng MJ, Johnson ALA, Jarram DR, Haywood AM, Peck VL, Zalasiewicz J, Bennett C & Schöne BR (2010) Sea ice extent and seasonality for the Early Pliocene northern Weddell Sea determined from fossil Austrochlamys bivalves. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 292, 306-318.

Valentine A, Johnson ALA, Leng M J, Sloane HJ & Balson PS (2011) Isotopic evidence of cool winter conditions in the mid-Piacenzian (Pliocene) of the southern North Sea Basin. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 309, 9-16.

Salzmann U, Williams M, Haywood AM, Johnson ALA, Kender S & Zalasiewicz J (2011) Climate and environment of a Pliocene warm world. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 309, 1-8.

Dowsett HJ, Robinson MM, Stoll DK, Foley KM, Johnson ALA, Williams M & Riesselman CR (2013) The PRISM (Pliocene palaeoclimate) reconstruction: time for a paradigm shift. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 371: 20120524, 24 pp.

Mettam C, Johnson ALA, Nunn EV & Schöne BR (2014) Stable isotope (δ18O and δ13C) sclerochronology of Callovian (Middle Jurassic) bivalves (Gryphaea (Bilobissa) dilobotes) and belemnites (Cylindroteuthis pusoziana) from the Peterborough Member of the Oxford Clay Formation (Cambridgeshire, England): evidence of palaeoclimate, water depth and belemnite behaviour. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 399, 187-201.

Recent conferences

Valentine A, Johnson A, Leng M & Balson P (2010) Pliocene climate of the southern North Sea Basin: a sclerochronological approach. 54th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association (Univ. Ghent, Belgium, 17-20 December), Programme and Abstracts, 36.

Johnson ALA, Harper EM, Schöne BR, Finlayson A & Valentine A (2012) Evidence and reason for cool winter conditions in the Pliocene North Sea from bivalve sclerochronology. 56th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association (University College Dublin, 16-18 December), Programme and Abstracts, 71-72.

Johnson ALA, Valentine A, Williams M, Schöne BR, Harper EM, Leng MJ, Finlayson A & Knowles T (2013) Investigating a warmer world with sclerochronological data. 3rd International Sclerochronology Conference (Caernarfon, N. Wales, 18-22 May 2013), Programme and Abstracts, 54.

Mettam C, Johnson ALA, Nunn EV & Schöne BR (2013) Stable isotope sclerochronology of Callovian (Jurassic) Gryphaea and Cylindroteuthis from the Oxford Clay (Cambridgeshire, England): evidence of palaeoclimate, water depth and belemnite behaviour. 3rd International Sclerochronology Conference (Caernarfon, N. Wales, 18-22 May 2013), Programme and Abstracts, 122.

Valentine A, Johnson ALA & Leng MJ (2013) Testing the robustness of isotopic palaeotemperatures from Pliocene bivalves of the southern North Sea Basin. 3rd International Sclerochronology Conference (Caernarfon, N. Wales, 18-22 May 2013), Programme and Abstracts, 142.

Johnson, ALA (2014) Sclerochronology and the cause of Plio-Pleistocene bivalve extinction in the western Atlantic. Challenges in Macroecology: Scaling the Time Barrier (Natural History Museum, London, 1 April 2014).

Johnson ALA, Valentine A, Leng, MJ, Surge D & Williams M (2014) The cause of late Cenozoic mass extinction in the western Atlantic: insights from sclerochronology. 58th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association (University of Leeds, 16-19 December 2014). Programme, abstracts and AGM papers, 31.

Additional interests and activities

  • I was recently Director of PhD studies of Annemarie Valentine (topic: Pliocene climate and oceanography of the North Atlantic region through bivalve sclerochronology)
  • I undertake my research (and other) travel by environmentally friendly means: train to China for the 2nd International Palaeontological Congress (2006); freighter, train and bicycle to Florida for the 1st International Sclerochronology Conference (2007), to Virginia for the North American Dendroecological Fieldweek (2011) and to various research institutions in the eastern USA (2015); train for all European conference and research engagements since 2008.

Experience in industry

Research posts

  • University of Munich: End-Triassic bivalve extinction 1980-1981
  • University of Leicester: Mid-Jurassic oyster evolution 1983-1985
  • University of Mainz: Bivalve sclerochronology 2009.

International experience

I have had research stays totalling about two years in Germany and have active research links with colleagues there (University of Mainz) and in the USA (University of North Carolina).

In the media

Two interviews on Radio Derby; video interview broadcast on regional TV and posted on YouTube.

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