Dr Stephen Kershaw BSc(Hons), Phd, CGeol, FGS

Brief history:

1975: BSc in Geology and Zoology from Manchester University,UK

1979: PhD in palaeontology from Cardiff University, UK

1980 onwards: Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in various aspects of Geology, Geography and Biology, and their societal impacts, currently at Brunel University, located in west London, UK. I teach BSc & MSc, and supervise Mphil & PhD degrees.

Research theme: Interpretation of ancient (millions of years), recent (thousands of years) and modern environments and processes on Earth, and their applications.

Summary description: My research is a diverse range of studies that encompass a broad range of Earth-surface environments including: shallow marine, coastal and terrestrial environments in geologically recent and older sedimentary deposits. Within this broad spectrum, four areas have developed, outlined below. The primary aim is to interpret environmental change (including sea-level change) in Earth surface environments in areas associated with active change in the Earth crust (in three separate project areas); a secondary aim, where applicable, is to assess modern geohazards, some of which are in the same locations, and related to, project areas.

Current research focus is therefore on four distinct themes named as:

1. Quaternary Environmental Change: processes of environmental change and climate change (including sea-level change) in coastal areas of geologically recent (Quaternary Period, last 2 million years) evidence in the eastern Mediterranean area (Greece), the Black Sea, central Asia & southern China.

2. Ancient Environmental Change: palaeoenvironment reconstruction of ancient organic reef deposits and associated rocks (of the Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian Periods, several hundred million years old) in UK, parts of mainland Europe, China, North America, and Sweden.

3. Mass Extinction Research: a separate category of ancient environmental change work dealing with rapid change associated with mass extinction events in Earth history. Projects on the Late Ordovician event (c.440 million years ago), and the Late Permian event (c.250 million years ago when c.90% of all species were killed), studied in parts of Asia & Europe.

4. Geohazard research (some of which is associated with climate change): application of Earth science knowledge in assessments of hazards affecting local populations, currently in Greece, Mexico and Iraq. This work currently involves changes in aquifers, reservoirs, flood risk and landslides, and is primarily studied by research students.

More details, including publication list at: Steve Kershaw, Brunel University webpage


MICROBIALITES My key discovery of Permian-Triassic mass extinction microbialites in China led to my most-cited paper (112 citations, by December 2013). This paper triggered a major research focus on microbialites by Chinese geologists & led to three collaboration invitations (Beijing, Nanjing, Wuhan) & one in France. Numerous high-profile papers include the first global synthesis of mass extinction microbialites. Microbialite work also led to my co-lead in International Geoscience Programme UNESCO-funded project IGCP572, & a current follow-up proposal. I am named in EU-funded Eclipse II project, led from Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris. In November 2007 I was visiting professor in the Geology Dept. of Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris, invited by Dr Sylvie Crasquin, for mass extinction work and some teaching. Dr Crasquin named a Permian ostracod species for me, to acknowledge my contribution to mass extinction work (Bairdia kershawi, see Crasquin et al. 2008, Revista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia, 114 (2), 233-262, plate 4, photos 18-19). Recent key presentations for international level are: A) May 2010: keynote at IGCP572 conference on Permo-Triassic ecosystems, collapse & rebuilding, Wuhan; B) Nov 2011: invited lecture at the Palaeontological Institute and Museum, Zurich; C) Sept 2013: invited lecture at the 1st International Palaeogeography Conference, Beijing. In total, I have 20 papers on the Permian-Triassic boundary.

STROMATOPOROIDS I joined the global team of sponge specialists revising calcified sponges for the prestigious international Treatise on Paleontology. This first revision since 1956 includes a synthesis of 4 decades of my work. In total I have 40 papers on stromatoporoids and related sedimentary rocks. 2011-2015, I am coordinator of stromatoporoid research for two more IGCP projects: 1) IGCP591 - The Early to Middle Paleozoic Revolution: Bridging the Gap between the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event and the Devonian Terrestrial Revolution; and 2) IGCP596 - Climate change and biodiversity patterns in the Mid-Palaeozoic (Early Devonian to Late Carboniferous). I am Co-author of the exciting discovery of the first sponge spicules, in Devonian stromatoporoids.

QUATERNARY My Quaternary coastal research led to collaboration with Universities of Caen, Genoa, Chania (Crete), ENEA in Rome. I am co-author of a recent global compilation of coastal uplift data in an Impact Factor 8 journal. For 2011-2014, I am member of EU IRSES project CLIMSEAS for modern climate change. Two visits to Russia are leading to project development with the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology in Moscow. In Quaternary rocks of Greece I discovered pendent coralline algae (Kershaw & Guo 2006) in ancient marine caves, previously unknown even to specialists, in a globally unique geological setting. I have 18 papers on Quaternary shorelines. Geohazard and environmental research are development areas, 3 papers so far.

EDITORIAL AND REVIEWING Starting in 2003, on the platform of my international and diverse research profile, I began supporting journals, and am currently on Editorial Boards of: a) Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology; b) Facies; c) 2 national journals (J. Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai, Seria Geologia, Romania; J. of Palaeogeography, China). Starting 2011, I joined the NERC Peer-Review College, and their responses suggest that my grant proposal reviews are appropriate and useful for their decision-making. I also review papers and grant proposals internationally, normally 10-15 per year.

Below are some front cover photos by Steve Kershaw

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