Staff profile

Dr Stephen Lokier

Senior Lecturer

Stephen Lokier teaching sedimentology in the Abu Dhabi Sabkha


Geography, Geology, Geoscience, Research, Mineral Products, Environmental Science


College of Science and Engineering


School of Built and Natural Environment, School of Environmental Sciences




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am an academic at the University of Derby with more than 20 years of practical applied experience in the fields of sedimentary geology, reservoir characterisation, palaeontology, sequence stratigraphy and environmental geology, working with academia, industry, local government and NGO’s.

After receiving my undergraduate degree in Geological Sciences from Oxford Brookes University I moved to Royal Holloway, University of London where my PhD looked at the development of Miocene Carbonates in a volcanic island arc setting, particularly focusing on the interactions between carbonates and siliciclastic sediments.

On completing my PhD, I spent four years in industry working on a wide range of petroleum reservoir systems throughout the Middle East. In 2004 I joined the recently-formed Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi where I taught a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and led numerous research projects looking at recent and ancient sedimentary systems. One of the long-term topics of my research has been the sedimentary systems of the Abu Dhabi sabkha where three projects are currently active focusing on the effects of sea level rise, early diagenetic systems, and facies mapping. 

I am passionate about public outreach and societal engagement, speaking at a range of public and societal events both in the UK and internationally.

I am the General Secretary of the International Association of Sedimentologists and the founder of Seds Online - an Open Access online community for sedimentologists globally. 

I currently supervise two PhD students.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach on numerous modules in years five, six and seven including; Applied Sedimentology, Basin Analysis, Global Energy Challenges, Subsurface Geology, Subsurface interpretation, Well planning and reservoir modelling, Integrated Energy Evaluation. I am a module leader on Applied Sedimentology. I supervise undergraduate students during their third year Independent Research Projects, Masters Projects and PhDs.

Professional interests

My current roles and responsibilities

Research interests

I study a broad range of recent sediments and ancient sedimentary rocks in order to understand depositional processes and apply this understanding to interpreting ancient depositional environments. A particular focus of my research has been the study of carbonate deposition in stressed environments including settings under the influence of volcanic activity and arid high-salinity settings such as those found in the Arabian Gulf. My research has academic, industrial and societal applications.

Current PhD Students

  • Tanja Unger – Facies architecture, palaeoecology and biotic spatial self-organization of a Devonian, sediment-impacted carpet reef (Joint with Ruhr-Universität Bochum) Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • Christine Zhong – Formation and diagenetic evolution of actualistic, aragonite-cemented seafloor carbonates. (Joint with Ruhr-Universität Bochum) Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

My research has been disseminated in over 130 presentations at national and international conferences. For the sake of brevity, only the five most recent presentations are listed here:

Experience in industry

I have four years experience of being directly employed in industry working on a wide range of sedimentary systems throughout the Middle East. I have over 20 years of research collaboration with industry - working on a range of projects to better characterise and understand the sub-surface. More recently, I have undertaken consultancy work for both the energy sector, governmental organisations and educational institutions.

International experience

My research has taken me all over the world studying, describing, interpreting and explaining recent and ancient sedimentary systems in a global context. I have lived in the Middle East for over 16 years and have spent extended periods in Southeast Asia and Europe. I have taught field courses in the UK, Spain, Italy, Oman and the UAE.

In the media

My research on microbial communities and sea level rise has been featured in news articles.

I have advised on numerous documentaries including the BBC’s Wild Arabia. I have also contributed to the design and development of the Earth Sciences Galleries of the soon to be opened Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi. 

Recent publications

Below are some of my most recent publications: For a more complete overview of my research, please see my ResearchGate and Google Scholar profiles.