Geography and Environment


Dr David Ryves PhD (University College London)

Photo of Dr David Ryves

Reader in Environmental Change

Academic career

2008 onwards: Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, Loughborough University. 
2004 - 2008: Lecturer in Physical Geography, Loughborough University. 
1998 – 2003:   Post-doctoral Project Researcher, Geological Survey of Denmark & Greenland (GEUS), Copenhagen, Denmark. 
1995 – 1998:   Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Environmental Change Research Centre (ECRC), UCL.

Professional responsibilities

2013 onwards: Editorial board member for Hydrology (Open Access journal launching in 2014). 
2011 – 2015: External examiner for physical geography undergraduate degree programme and MSc Dissertations, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland.

I am a quantitative palaeoecologist, specialising in the study of diatoms (siliceous microalgae) in a wide range of aquatic environments from inland freshwater and saline lakes, to coastal fjords and lagoons. My main research interest lies in using sediment records from lakes, fjords and estuaries to explore the nature of past environmental change under changing climatic regimes and cultural impacts. Key research interests focus on a long-term perspective on the development, variability and response of aquatic environments and nutrient cycles (Si, C, P) to both natural and anthropogenic drivers (e.g. eutrophication) on inland and coastal systems. As well as in the UK, I have worked on sites in North America, Italy, Denmark, Greenland, Siberia (Lake Baikal) and East Africa (Uganda, Ethiopia) supported by funding from NERC, NSF, Danida and the Carlsberg Foundation, for example.

One theme that runs through my research is the critical analysis of palaeoenvironmental data and methodologies. I am especially interested in the transformation of living diatom communities to fossil assemblages, using limnological monitoring, sediment traps and experimental study data to inform and improve palaeoenvironmental inferences. More recent NERC-funded research has focussed on testing the application of stable isotopes in diatom silica (18O and 30Si) as proxies for lake hydrology and productivity; and combining archaeological and environmental science in Danish Baltic coastal sites to test hypotheses concerning human diet and patterns of subsistence, and changes in the marine environment over key periods in the Holocene. This last topic is the focus of a currentLeverhulme Project Grant (“Stories of subsistence: people and coast over the last 6,000 years in the Limfjord, Denmark”) involving researchers in Queen’s University Belfast, Aarhus University and Copenhagen University.

My teaching focuses on paleoecology and lake system dynamics.

Current postgraduate research students

Katie Loakes: Late Quaternary Palaeolimnology and Environmental Change in the Debub Wollo Highlands, Ethiopia.

Recent postgraduate research students

Matthew Hill (2015): Macroinvertebrate biodiversity associated with ephermeral and perennial ponds at the rural-urban interface.
Daniel Scott (2014): Carbon fixation, flux and burial efficiency in two contrasting eutrophic lakes in the UK (Rostherne Mere and Tatton Mere).
Antonia Liversidge (2012): The role of climate in determining the ongoing trends of low arctic lakes, south western, Greenland.
Sally Little (2012): The impact of increasing saline penetration upon estuarine and marine benthic macroinvertebrate fauna.
Jonathan Lewis (2011): Holocene Environmental change in costal Denmark: Interactions between land, sea and society.
Keely Mills (2009): Ugandan Craker Lakes: Limnology, Palaeolimnology and Palaeoenviromental history.

Ryves, DB, Anderson, NJ, Flower, RJ, Rippey, B (2013) Diatom taphonomy and silica cycling in two freshwater lakes and their implications for inferring past lake productivity,Journal of Paleolimnology, 49(3), pp.411-430, ISSN: 0921-2728. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-013-9694-x.

Lewis, JP, Ryves, DB, Leng, MJ, Rasmussen, P, Petersen, KS, Knudsen, KL, Kristensen, P, Olsen, J, Philippsen, B, McGowan, S (2013) Environmental change in the limfjord, Denmark (ca 7500-1500cal yrsBP): A multiproxy studyQuaternary Science Reviews, 78, pp.126-140, ISSN: 0277-3791. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.05.020.

Stager, JC, Ryves, DB, Chase, BM, Pausata, FSR (2011) Catastrophic drought in the Afro-Asian monsoon region during Heinrich Event 1Science, 331(6022), pp.1299-1302, DOI:10.1126/science.1198322.

Ryves, DB, Mills, K, Bennike, O, Brodersen, KP, Lamb, AL, Leng, MJ, Russell, JM, Ssemmanda, I (2011) Environmental change over the last millenium recorded in two contrasting crater lakes in western Uganda, eastern Africa (Lakes Kasenda and Wandakara)Quaternary Science Reviews, 30(5-6), pp.555-569, ISSN: 0277-3791. DOI:10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.11.011.

Ryves, DB, Battarbee, RW, Fritz, SC (2009) The dilemma of disappearing diatoms: incorporating diatom dissolution data into palaeoenvironmental modellingQuaternary Science Reviews, 28(1-2), pp.120-136, DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2008.08.021.

Ryves, DB, Battarbee, RW, Juggins, S, Fritz, SC, Anderson, NJ (2006) Physical and chemical predictors of diatom dissolution in freshwater and saline lake sediments in North America and West Greenland, Limnology & Oceanography, 51, pp.1355-1368, ISSN: 0024-3590.

Ryves, DB, Amsinck, SL, Anderson, NJ, Appleby, PG, Clarke, AL, Jeppesen, E, Landkildehus, F (2004) Reconstructing the salinity and environment of the Limfjord and Vejlerne Nature Reserve, Denmark, using a diatom model for brackish lakes and fjords,Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 61, pp.1988-2006, ISSN: 1205-7533. DOI: 10.1139/f04-127.

Ryves, DB, Jewson, DH, Sturm, M, Battarbee, RW, Flower, RJ, Mackay, AW, Granin, NG (2003) Quantitative and qualitative relationships between planktonic diatom communities and diatom assemblages in sedimenting material and surface sediments in Lake Baikal, Siberia, Limnology & Oceanography, 48, pp.1643-1661, ISSN: 0024-3590.