Hi! I am a Lecturer in Earth Science and contribute to both our
Geography and Geology teaching programmes. I am also Admissions
tutor for all the Geography, Geology and Archaeology programmes run
out of Geography, Environment and Earth Science, so please get into
contact if you have any questions – no matter how small or
I joined Hull as a Research Fellow, part funded by the UK
Research Councils. Before then I spent two years as a postdoctoral
researcher at the University of Utrecht (Netherlands). I did my PhD
at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, subsequent to
BSc and MSc degrees in Geology and Petroleum Geology at Imperial
My interests are rather broad, including past climate change,
micropalaeontology, carbonate sedimentology and alkaline waste
remediation. In all cases, I am interested in the processes causing
change and forming products in these systems, and I like to
approach them using theoretical and laboratory approaches to
address problems identified in the field. Method development is
therefore key to what I do, and I am particularly interested in
developing physical modelling solutions to a range of geochemical
problems from the fate of zinc contamination in upland streams in
the UK to the growth and characteristics of carbonate deposits in
the Mesozoic of the southern Atlantic.
Where I can, I bring my research into the classroom, enabling me
to bring cutting-edge research into the lecture theatre. This is
particularly true for my dissertation students, who can find
themselves solving problems coming from anywhere from climate
science, to metal pollution remediation to petroleum reservoir
development. I’m also committed to teaching in the field – Geology
I’m mostly interested in the environmental and climate records
contained in the skeletons of marine plankton (foraminifera), in
stalagmites and in freshwater limestones (“tufa”). All these things
are mostly comprised of calcite, and so a single range of chemical
techniques can be used throughout this work. It is wonderfully
varied and stimulating work, and I can be doing ocean physics in
the morning, solution chemistry at noon and microbial ecology by
evening while chasing a single idea!
This kind of research can lead you in strange directions as
well, and I also work on passive remediation of alkaline industrial
waste, biomining of technological metals from waste materials and
provide solutions to develop hydrocarbon reservoirs for the
I enjoy fieldwork and am an active caver, but also like to work
in laboratories and using mathematical models to understand how the
Earth System works. Variety is after all the spice of life!
Current Funded Projects
Do humid phases in costal Libya reflect an intensified
Atlantic storm Track?" (NE/J014133/1)
Past climate change did not simply occur as a sequence of
alternating warm and cool periods. Some of the most important
changes caused by naturally occurring climate cycles are related to
alterations to the state of circulation in the ocean and
atmosphere. A good example is the extreme cooling experienced by
northwest Europe as a consequence of weakening in the Gulf Stream /
North Atlantic Drift system that maintains Britain's relatively
mild climate. A crucial concern for understanding future, man-made
climate change scenarios are the physical "rules" understanding
these changes in circulation. This project aims to generate new
understanding of the physical mechanism underlying changes in
rainfall in the southern Mediterranean and North African
There is convincing evidence that large magnitude and
geographically widespread increases in rainfall occurred throughout
North Africa during particular periods of the Earths past. These
are periods when the northern hemisphere is receiving a relatively
high share of the total incoming solar energy. The additional
rainfall caused formation of new lakes and rivers in regions that
are now desert and changed the distribution of a range of plants
and animals, including early humans. It is thought that the
additional rainfall is being routed to North Africa via a northward
movement of the African monsoon, but this change is difficult to
simulate in climate models and does not seem to fit with all of the
data. Other mechanisms therefore also need to be investigated.
This project will test whether some of the rainfall involved in
greening the Sahara was derived from storms coming in from the
Atlantic, rather than the African monsoon. We will do this by
measuring the properties of water trapped within a stalagmite
during its formation. The stalagmite we will use came from the
north coast of eastern Libya, and is perfectly positioned to
receive and retain water from the Atlantic storm track. The water
trapped in the stalagmite is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, both
of which come in two common isotopes - 1-H or 2-H and 16-O or 18-O
respectively. Mediterranean water is slightly more rich in 2-H and
18-O than Atlantic water. Combined with additional measurements of
18O made on the calcite of the stalagmite itself, we therefore
expect to be able to differentiate between these two sources using
a simple modelling approach.
The suggestion that Atlantic moisture was supplied to North
Africa as rainfall in storm events raises a further possibility for
this stalagmite, which is positioned within a few kilometres of the
coast. Seawater has a characteristic ratio of the two common
isotopes of strontium (87 and 86) which is different to that of
most freshwaters. As seawater is transported into the atmosphere as
aerosols during storm events, it is highly likely that the
Sr-isotope ratio in our stalagmite will be shifted towards marine
values during periods with higher occurrence of major storms. We
can therefore exploit this measurement as a "storm index" in
support of the oxygen and hydrogen isotope work.
Finally, we will build on our existing evidence that the time
period we are investigating was more humid than today by measuring
a suite of trace elements in the calcite of the stalagmite. Many
elements respond to humidity in a variety of ways, with some only
being available when a rich soil is in place (e.g. sulphur) and
others being supplied in atmospheric dust during arid periods (e.g.
If the tests our work provides show that our understanding of
this system is correct we and other international research groups
can carry on working within our existing paradigms. If our test
proves that rainfall events are occurring at different places at
different times, then researchers can adjust their efforts to
investigate more appropriate representations of the system and
develop new paradigms for glacial-interglacial changes in major
This project is generously supported by the Natural Environment
A New Network for Research into Past Shifts of the
Mediterranean-Saharan Climate Boundary
This exciting new project will create an unprecedented
improvement in our knowledge of the late Quaternary climate history
of central North Africa. The projects webpage can be found here,
with full lists of network participants. The project is generously
supported by the Leverhulme Trust.
Current Research Projects
The Mediterranean Sea represents a unique natural laboratory for
palaeoclimate research, where changes in oceanic and atmospheric
conditions result in significant alterations of circulation. In
particular, I am interested in constraining changes in circulation
on glacial / interglacial timescales. This behaviour depends upon
the exchange with the Atlantic via the Strait of Gibraltar and the
rate of loss of freshwater from the basin via evaporation.
The Strait of Gibraltar
The Strait of
Gibraltar represents the only natural connection between the
Mediterranean Sea and the global ocean. Consequently, it plays a
dominant role in determining the response of the Mediterranean to
regional and global climate changes. By synthesising empirical and
modelling evidence of past exchange conditions, it is possible to
develop a robust understanding of the way the
Atlantic-Mediterranean exchange responds to a variety of climatic
forcings. This understanding allows us to relate regional events,
such as the stagnation of the deep western Mediterranean at the end
of the last glacial period, in the light of global processes
occurring at the same time. Changes in the Gibraltar Exchange also
has implications for regional circulation on the mid-latitude
eastern North Atlantic margin and potentially has a role in
governing the Atlantic "meridional overturning circulation". My
recent work has been looking at the relationship between the
settling depth of the Mediterranean Outflow Water and the density
structure of the eastern North Atlantic. We have been able to show
that it is likely that the Mediterranean acts as a negative
feedback to changes in the Atlantic, add salt when overturning is
slow and reducing salt addition when it is strong.
The Mediterranean freshwater
the Mediterranean marine and terrestrial records, it is possible to
identify past changes in regional ocean-atmosphere-land water
exchange. While conventional archives of terrestrial conditions,
most notably lakes, have given significant insight into the history
of atmospheric circulation, as we enter the Age
of the Speleothem (stalagmites / stalactites) it is clear that
freshwater carbonates will play a pivotal role in the future: and
enthusiastic caver, I'm not about to miss out on an opportunity
I am part of
ongoing projects investigating speleothems, tufas (and freshwater
snails; see above) from Libya (in collaboration with colleagues at
Bristol and Tripoli) and Slovenia (in collaboration with colleagues
from Southampton, Oxford, Postojna and Ljubljana). These projects
aim to fully integrate these important archives with the already
well developed marine record. This integration will mainly be via
looking at changes in the oxygen stable isotope characteristics of
the carbonates that make up the tufa and speleothems and which
comprises the shells of a group of marine microorganisms known as
Foraminifera. The semi-closed system of the Mediterranean gives the
possibility of extracting detailed and specific knowledge about the
past from comparing these datasets.
In vitro experimentation on freshwater carbonates
Tufas have unique
potential for constraining past precipitation conditions, both in
support of speleothem work and in isolation of it. They are also
becoming recognised as important reservoirs for hydrocarbons, and
microbial calcite precipitation is key to understanding how toxic
metals can be removed from polluted water courses. However, these
systems are difficult to understand. Here at Hull, we have built a
unique facility for growing tufas (and anything else!) under
controlled conditions. For the first time, this will allow physical
and geochemical properties of tufa to be directly linked to
conditions at the time of precipitation. Already we have
demonstrated that the morphology and physical distribution of
calcite precipitates are different in sterile systems and in
systems colonised by the complex microbial consortia found in
naturally occurring tufa systems. We have also shown that the
organic mats (biofilms) produced by these consortia are capable of
storing large inventories of divalent metal ions (Ca, Mg, Sr, Ba).
This storage is sufficient to affect ambient water chemistry and
may significantly alter the chemistry of the calcite deposited
within the biofilm. This work gives strong support to the
suggestion that naturally occurring precipitation is strongly
influenced by microbial consortia.
Transportation and disturbance of benthic
properties of bottom dwelling shell-forming protists (benthic
foraminifera) during transportation in addition to the manner,
timescale and successional order of foraminiferal recolonisation is
currently poorly known. However, these organisms are important to
palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and may be able to provide vital
information about the functioning and recovery of benthic marine
ecosystems in physically disturbed environments, both modern and
fossil. Improved understanding of the response of assemblages to
disturbance and the life-histories of individual taxa will benefit
marine stewardship and improve the quality of environmental
reconstructions from marine deposits. My previous work has shown
that signatures of disturbance are preserved in benthic work seek
to investigate the timescales and patterns of recolonisation in
shallow water systems and post-mortem transportation in deepwater
systems. My recent research student, Angela Kelham, as able to take
this further and develop a completely novel method to identifying
transport in these assemblages, and even un-mixing the transported
and indigenous populations.
Horsfield is investigating two Slovenian stalagmites which grew
very rapidly (up to 0.5mm per year) during the Holocene. These
stalagmites potentially contain records of humidity and moisture
source for the Northwest Balkans, and will add considerably to our
knowledge of the sub-millennial climate changes and archaeological
history of this region.
Ashley Jones is working on
zinc pollution in mine-water affected streams in northern England.
The legacy of centuries of mining means many apparently pristine
upland waterways are in fact seriously affected by metal
pollutants, but we still have little understanding of their
dynamics and ultimate fate. Using a mixing of field and
experimental work, Ash is aiming at solving that problem.
Victor Oty is working on biomining of steel slags for e-tech
metals, and remediation of the leachate solutions that arise from
this activity. This work combines a complex suite of biological,
chemical and environmental work, and is a unique effort at
simultaneously solving major resource and environmental issues.
This work comprises part of NERC project NE/K015648/1 led by
Will Mayes in our Centre for Ecology and Marine Science.
I am interested in supporting future research studentships in
any topic relevant to the above topics, or allied topics in
palaeo-climate / -oceanography, biogeochemistry or benthic
google scholar profile for full details of my
Below is a list of my recent papers, and you can find hyperlinks
to them all on my Google Scholar profile. If you can’t access any
of these through your institution / subscription, please email me
at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will
send you a PDF.
Foster, W.J., Armynot du Châtelet, E. and Rogerson, M., 2012.
Testing benthic foraminiferal distributions as a contemporary
quantitative approach to biomonitoring estuarine heavy metal
pollution. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 64(5):
Jones, A., Rogerson, M., Greenway, G., Potter, H. and Mayes, W.,
2013. Mine water geochemistry and metal flux in a major historic
Pb-Zn-F orefield, the Yorkshire Pennines, UK. Environmental
Science and Pollution Research: 1-12.
Rogerson, M., Rohling, E.J., Bigg, G.R. and Ramirez, J., 2012a.
North Atlantic Density gradients since the Last Glacial Maximum. .
Climate Dynamics, 39: 589–598.
Rogerson, M., Rohling, E.J., Bigg, G.R. and Ramirez, J., 2012b.
Palaeoceanography of the Atlantic-Mediterranean Exchange: Overview
and first quantitative assessment of climatic forcing. .
Reviews of Geophysics, 50: DOI:
Rogerson, M., J. Schönfeld, and M. Leng, Qualitative and
quantitative approaches in palaeohydrography: A case study from
core-top parameters in the Gulf of Cadiz. Marine Geology,
2011. 280: p. 150-167.
Rogerson, M., Rohling, E.J., Bigg, G.R. and Ramirez, J., 2012.
North Atlantic Density gradients since the Last Glacial Maximum.
Climate Dynamics, 39: 589–598.
Rogerson, M., et al., What Mechanisms Underlie
Palaeoceanographic Changes in the Mediterranean Outflow?
Geo-Temas, 2010. 7: p. 141-142.
Rogerson, M., et al., Enhanced Mediterranean-Atlantic Exchange
During Atlantic Freshening Phases. . Geochemistry Geophysics
Geosystems, 2010. 11: p. doi:10.1029/2009GC002931.
Pedley, H.M. and M. Rogerson, eds. Speleothems and Tufas:
Unravelling Physical and Biological controls. Geological Society
Special Publication, ed. J. Gregory. Vol. 336. 2010, Geological
Society of London: London.
Pedley, H.M. and M. Rogerson, In vitro investigations of the
impact of different temperature and flow velocity conditions on
tufa microfabric. , in Speleothems and Tufas: Unravelling Physical
and Biological controls, H.M. Pedley and M. Rogerson, Editors.
2010, Geological Society of London: London. p.
Hoffmann, D.L., et al., A speleothem record of the
’Mediterranean monsoon’ during MIS 3 in Northern Libya, in 3rd
Workshop of Daphne Working Group, A. Mangini and C. Spötl, Editors.
2010: Kranebitterhof, Innsbruck. p. 46.
Rogerson, M., H.M. Pedley, and R. Middleton, Microbial Influence
on Macroenvironment Chemical Conditions in Alkaline (Tufa) Streams;
Perspectives from In Vitro Experiments, in Speleothems and Tufas:
Unravelling Physical and Biological controls, H.M. Pedley and M.
Rogerson, Editors. 2010, Geological Society of London:
London. p. 65-81.
Pedley, H.M., M. Rogerson, and R. Middleton, The growth and
morphology of freshwater calcite precipitates from in Vitro
Mesocosm flume experiments; the case for biomediation.
Sedimentology, 2009. 56, : p. 511-527.
Jimenez-Espejo, F.J., et al., Climate and oceanographic
variability in the westernmost Mediterranean since the Last Glacial
Maximum: detrital input and productivity fluctuations.
Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 2008. 9(11): p. doi:
Rogerson, M., et al., A Dynamic Explanation For The Origin Of
The Western Mediterranean Organic Rich Layers. Geochemistry
Geophysics Geosystems, 2008. 9(Q07U01): p.
Osborne, A., et al., A humid corridor across the Sahara for the
migration of early modern humans out of Africa 120,000 years ago.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United
States of America, 2008: p. doi_10.1073_pnas.0804472105.
Rogerson, M., et al., New Insights into Biological Influence on
the Geochemistry of Freshwater Carbonate Deposits. Geochimica
et Cosmochimica Acta, 2008. 72: p. 4976-4987.