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Dr Mark Stevenson

Postdoctoral Research Associate

BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geography401+44 (0) 191 33 43478


  • 2021 – present Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Geography, Durham University
  • 2017-2021 Research Associate, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University
  • 2012-2017 PhD in Geography, School of Geography, University of Nottingham - “Carbon cycling in Arctic lakes: sedimentary biomarker reconstructions from Disko Island, West Greenland”
  • 2011-2012 MSc in Environmental Management, School of Geography, University of Nottingham
  • 2008-2011 BSc in Geography, School of Geography, University of Nottingham (1st Class Hons)
Research Overview

I am an environmental biogeochemist with a particular geographical interest in answering earth science questions intersecting the carbon cycle and paleoclimate especially in northern and southern latitudes.

My current research in the Department of Geography is affiliated with the EU funded ANTSIE project (ANTarctic Sea Ice Evolution from a novel biological archive) in which I now use novel biological archives to reconstruct Antarctic sea-ice conditions at a variety of timescales. These biological remains formed from the preserved remains of regurgitated stomach contents from snow petrels, which feed within and at the edges of the sea-ice pack.

Previously I worked at Newcastle University on the organic geochemical aspects of the NERC Changing Arctic Ocean Seafloor (ChAOS) project in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. I participated in summer 2017, 2018 & 2019 NERC cruises aboard the RRS James Clark Ross to collect sediment cores along a changing sea ice gradient in the Barents Sea. In this project I analysed these sediments for a range of lipid biomarkers to quantify the bioavailability, transformation and cycling of organic carbon, focusing on its burial at the seafloor.

My PhD (University of Nottingham) developed organic geochemical paleoenvironmental reconstructions of carbon cycling using lake sediments on Disko Island, West Greenland to understand the drivers of recent and Holocene-scale climate change.

Research interests

  • Biogeochemistry
  • Organic geochemistry
  • Palaeoclimate
  • Aquatic ecology
  • High latitude environmental science


Journal Article

  • Chen, Xu, McGowan, Suzanne, Qin, Bo, Huang, Xianyu, Stevenson, Mark A, Zhang, Zhiqi, Zeng, Linghan & Bai, Xue (2021). Effects of climate change on a subtropical montane peatland over the last two centuries: Evidence from diatom records. The Holocene 31(7): 1112.
  • März, Christian, Freitas, Felipe S., Faust, Johan C., Godbold, Jasmin A., Henley, Sian F., Tessin, Allyson C., Abbott, Geoffrey D., Airs, Ruth, Arndt, Sandra, Barnes, David K. A., Grange, Laura J., Gray, Neil D., Head, Ian M., Hendry, Katharine R., Hilton, Robert G., Reed, Adam J., Rühl, Saskia, Solan, Martin, Souster, Terri A., Stevenson, Mark A., Tait, Karen, Ward, James & Widdicombe, Stephen (2022). Biogeochemical consequences of a changing Arctic shelf seafloor ecosystem. Ambio 51: 370-382.
  • Liang, Jie, Lupien, Rachel L., Xie, Haichao, Vachula, Richard S., Stevenson, Mark A., Han, Bo-Ping, Lin, Qiuqi, He, Yue, Wang, Mingda, Liang, Peng, Huang, Yongsong, McGowan, Suzanne, Hou, Juzhi & Russell, James M. (2021). Lake ecosystem on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau severely altered by climatic warming and human activity. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 576: 110509.
  • Stevenson, Mark A., McGowan, Suzanne, Pearson, Emma J., Swann, George E. A., Leng, Melanie J., Jones, Vivienne J., Bailey, Joseph J., Huang, Xianyu & Whiteford, Erika (2021). Anthropocene climate warming enhances autochthonous carbon cycling in an upland Arctic lake, Disko Island, West Greenland. Biogeosciences 18(8): 2465.
  • Faust, Johan C., Stevenson, Mark A., Abbott, Geoffrey D., Knies, Jochen, Tessin, Allyson, Mannion, Isobel, Ford, Ailbe, Hilton, Robert, Peakall, Jeffrey & März, Christian (2020). Does Arctic warming reduce preservation of organic matter in Barents Sea sediments? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 378(2181): 20190364.
  • Freitas, Felipe S., Hendry, Katharine R., Henley, Sian F., Faust, Johan C., Tessin, Allyson C., Stevenson, Mark A., Abbott, Geoffrey D., März, Christian & Arndt, Sandra (2020). Benthic-pelagic coupling in the Barents Sea: an integrated data-model framework. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 378(2181): 20190359.
  • Liang, Jia, Huang, Chunling, Stevenson, Mark A., Qiao, Qianglong, Zeng, Linghan & Chen, Xu (2020). Changes in summer diatom composition and water quality in urban lakes within a metropolitan area in central China. International Review of Hydrobiology 105(3-4): 94.
  • Stevenson, Mark A., Faust, Johan C., Andrade, Luiza L., Freitas, Felipe S., Gray, Neil D., Tait, Karen, Hendry, Katharine R., Hilton, Robert G., Henley, Sian F., Tessin, Allyson, Leary, Peter, Papadaki, Sonia, Ford, Ailbe, März, Christian & Abbott, Geoffrey D. (2020). Transformation of organic matter in a Barents Sea sediment profile: coupled geochemical and microbiological processes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 378(2181): 20200223.
  • Chen, Xu, Qiao, Qianglong, McGowan, Suzanne, Zeng, Linghan, Stevenson, Mark A., Xu, Lei, Huang, Chunling, Liang, Jia & Cao, Yanmin (2019). Determination of geochronology and sedimentation rates of shallow lakes in the middle Yangtze reaches using 210Pb, 137Cs and spheroidal carbonaceous particles. CATENA 174: 546.
  • Stevenson, Mark A. & Abbott, Geoffrey D. (2019). Exploring the composition of macromolecular organic matter in Arctic Ocean sediments under a changing sea ice gradient. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis 140: 102.
  • Chen, Xu, McGowan, Suzanne, Xiao, Xiayun, Stevenson, Mark A., Yang, Xiangdong, Li, Yanling & Zhang, Enlou (2018). Direct and indirect effects of Holocene climate variations on catchment and lake processes of a treeline lake, SW China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 502: 119.
  • Chen, Xu, Stevenson, Mark A., Zeng, Linghan & Qiao, Qianglong (2017). Diatom distribution in an alpine basin (central China) in relation to environmental factors and substrata. Diatom Research 32(3): 251.
  • Chen, Xu, Bu, Zhaojun, Stevenson, Mark A., Cao, Yanmin, Zeng, Linghan & Qin, Bo (2016). Variations in diatom communities at genus and species levels in peatlands (central China) linked to microhabitats and environmental factors. Science of The Total Environment 568: 137.
  • Stevenson, Mark A., McGowan, Suzanne, Anderson, N. John, Foy, Robert H., Leavitt, Peter R., McElarney, Yvonne R., Engstrom, Daniel R. & Pla-Rabés, Sergi (2016). Impacts of forestry planting on primary production in upland lakes from north-west Ireland. Global Change Biology 22(4): 1490.
  • Taranu, Zofia E., Gregory-Eaves, Irene, Leavitt, Peter R., Bunting, Lynda, Buchaca, Teresa, Catalan, Jordi, Domaizon, Isabelle, Guilizzoni, Piero, Lami, Andrea, McGowan, Suzanne, Moorhouse, Heather, Morabito, Giuseppe, Pick, Frances R., Stevenson, Mark A., Thompson, Patrick L. & Vinebrooke, Rolf D. (2015). Acceleration of cyanobacterial dominance in north temperate-subarctic lakes during the Anthropocene. Ecology Letters 18(4): 375.
  • Chen, Xu, Qin, Yangmin, Stevenson, Mark Andrew & McGowan, Suzanne (2014). Diatom communities along pH and hydrological gradients in three montane mires, central China. Ecological Indicators 45: 123.