Our research themes define the focus for our researchers, encouraging collaboration in closely related fields and targeting areas of importance.

These key themes are steered by our research strategy and intersect with our Solid, Living, Changing Earth and Ocean research groups.

Cold climates

Fascinated by Earth system processes in the most extreme environments on Earth, our experts investigate how biological, chemical and physical processes operate at low temperatures.

Earth surface processes

We study Earth's surface: the interface between the geological, biological, hydrological, and human processes that drive environmental change.

Ecosystems in deep time

We consider the co-evolution of organisms and ecosystems which is recognised to have had profound consequences for the evolution of the Earth system.

Natron geomicrobiology


We are investigating microbes in geological habitats and biosphere: geosphere interactions which have a profound effect on Earth system processes.

Marine microfossils: taxonomy, stratigraphy, and evolution

Microfossils such as foraminifera and diatoms provide the crucial framework for dating marine sediments and understanding changing environments and evolution in the oceans.

Greenland microbial biogeochemistry

Microbial biogeochemistry

We investigate the microbes and their activities that drive the main biogeochemical cycles responsible for sustaining life on Earth.

Ocean lithosphere processes

Members of this research theme investigate the mechanisms of formation and deformation of ocean lithosphere by means of multidisciplinary studies of mid-ocean ridges, marginal basins and ophiolites.

Palaeoclimate and climate systems

We study the natural range of climate variation that has occurred in the Earth's past over timescales ranging from years to millions of years.

Plants and environmental dynamics

We are studying the interactions between plants and global climate, landscape evolution, and biogeochemical cycling within Earth's terrestrial environments.

Processes in mineral deposit formation

Processes in mineral deposit formation

Focusing on the formation of magmatic deposits of PGE, Cr, V, Cu, Ni, diamond and gold deposits, we aim to generate more reliable ore forming models.

Seismic section of a submarine basin

Subsurface, lithosphere, and mantle geodynamics

We investigate the dynamical implications of Earth interior structures, from the scale of uppermost crust to whole mantle, using industry 3D seismic data and high-end computer numerical simulations.

Geoscience for Africa

This research theme brings together African expertise in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Cardiff with local partners and collaborators to meet the geoscience challenges of Africa.