Professor Paul Pearson

Professor Paul Pearson


School of Earth and Ocean Sciences

+44 (0)29 2087 4579
2.49, Main Building
Available for postgraduate supervision


  • Cenozoic palaeoclimate
  • climate proxies
  • micropalaeontology
  • evolutionary palaeobiology
  • stratigraphy
  • Professor– School of Earth & Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University, UK (2003 – present)
  • Royal Society University Research Fellow and Reader in Geology – Bristol University (1995-2002)
  • Research Fellow, Natural Environment Research Council  – University of Cambridge (1990 – 1995)
  • PhD – Earth Sciences, Cambridge University (1990)
  • BA – Geology, Oxford University (1986)

I am Degree Scheme Convenor for Geology. I currently teach Year 1 Earth Surface Processes, Year 2 Formation of the British Isles and Geological Field Trip to Arran, and NERC Doctoral Training Programme on planktonic foraminifer taxonomy, stratigrapjy and evolution at the Natural History Museum. I also supervise students and Masters and PhD level.

I am interested in extracting climatic information from deep sea cores and sediments. I specialize in evolutionary and geochemical studies of planktonic foraminifera, and what they tell us about the long history of climate change on Earth. I have helped develop new proxies for determining past seawater pH and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and hence the history of the greenhouse effect. My studies range from the Cretaceous period to Recent. I am currently lead investigator on a proposal to the International Continental Drilling Project to recover the Eocene succession in Tanzania which is well known for its exceptional microfossil preservation. I was author of a recent UN report on the impacts of ocean acidification on marine life and chapter co-author of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

The following externally funded research projects are currently underway:'Carbon Cycling Since the Middle Miocene', 'Adaptive Zones and Macroevolution', 'Super-warm early Eocene temperatures', and 'IODP Expedition 363 Western Pacific Warm Pool'.

  • Cenozoic climate change
  • Planktonic foraminifer taxonomy, stratigraphy and evolution

Current supervision

Michael Nairn

Michael Nairn

Research student

Past projects

  • Dr Laura Cotton - Large benthic foraminifera of Tanzania
  • Dr Amina Mweneinda - Aptian / Albian of Tanzania
  • Dr Tracy Aze - Macroevolution of Cenozoic planktonic foraminifera
  • Dr Heather Birch - Ocean recovery from the Cretaceous / Paleogene mass extinction
  • Dr Catherine Burgess  - Middle Eocene climate of New Zealand
  • Dr Luke Handley (Bristol) - Paleogene Organic geochemistry and climate
  • Dr Tom Dunkley Jones (UCL) - Tanzania nanoplankton evolution
  • Dr Yunyan Ni (Bristol) - Boron isotopes in foraminifera
  • Dr Phil Sexton (Southampton) - foraminifer geochemistry and preservation
  • Dr Duncan Stewart (Bristol) - Evolution of globorotaliid foraminifera
  • Dr Stewart Knott (Bristol) - Extinction in the oceans
  • Dr Kate Harcourt-Brown (Bristol) - Phlogenetic tree balance and macroevolution
  • Dr Helen Coxall (Bristol) - Evolution of hantkeninid planktonic foraminifera

Areas of expertise