Current Postgraduate Research Students

Student Name   E-mail AddressResearch ClusterSupervisor
Frances Carter f.carter1@nuigalway.ie   Geopolitics and Justice Research Cluster Dr Valerie Ledwith
Guillermo Castro Camba g.castrocamba1@nuigalway.ie Environmental Change Cluster Dr Eugene Farrell
Carlos Chique c.chique1@nuigalway.ie Environmental Change Cluster Dr Aaron Potito
Michelle Curran m.curran18@nuigalway.ie    Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit (PRU) Dr Audrey Morley
Desiree Farrell    d.farrell12@nuigalway.ie Planning and Sustainability Research Cluster
Dr Liam Carr; Dr Frances Fahy
Kate Flood k.flood1@nuigalway.ie Rural Studies Research Cluster Dr Marie Mahon 
Nessa Golden n.golden1@nuigalway.ie Environmental Change Cluster Dr Chaosheng Zhang
Dilovar Haydarov    d.haydarov1@nuigalway.ie Environmental Change Cluster Dr Chaosheng Zhang
Darren Keegan       d.keegan1@nuigalway.ie Geopolitics and Justice Research Cluster Professor Ulf Strohmayer
Natasha Keenaghan n.keenaghan1@nuigalway.ie Geopolitics and Justice Research Cluster Dr Kathy Reilly
Daithí Maguire d.maguire11@nuigalway.ie    Environmental Change Cluster Dr Eugene Farrell; Dr Kevin Lynch
Axel Leahy         a.leahy8@nuigalway.ie
Environmental Change Cluster Dr Kevin LynchDr Kathy Reilly
Brian Leonard b.leonard2@nuigalway.ie Rural Studies Research Cluster Dr Maura Farrell/Dr Marie Mahon
/Dr Stephan Hynes
Carla Mateus c.pedrosomateus2@nuigalway.ie Environmental Change Cluster Dr Aaron Potito
Seamus McGinley s.mcginley3@nuigalway.ie Environmental Change Cluster Dr Aaron Potito
Yuting Meng y.meng2@nuigalway.ie Environmental Change Cluster Dr Chaosheng Zhang
Aoife Ní Fhlatharta  a.nifhlatharta7@nuigalway.ie Rural Studies Research Cluster Dr Maura Farrell
Sean Ó Flatharta j.flaherty6@nuigalway.ie Environmental Change Cluster Dr Chaosheng Zhang
Margaret O'Riordan m.oriordan10@nuigalway.ie Rural Studies Research Cluster Dr John McDonagh
Paul Rush p.rush3@nuigalway.ie Rural Studies Research Cluster Dr Maura Farrell
Karen Taylor k.taylor1@nuigalway.ie Environmental Change Cluster Dr Aaron Potito
Qianqian Wang qianqian_wqq@outlook.com Environmental Change Cluster Dr Chaosheng Zhang
Sinead Wilkes s.wilkesorozco1@nuigalway.ie Environmental Change Cluster Dr Kevin Lynch
Elaine Williams elaine.williams@nuigalway.ie Planning and Sustainability Research Cluster Dr Frances Fahy/Dr Kathy Reilly
Yuan Yumin y.yuan1@nuigalway.ie Environmental Change Cluster Dr Chaosheng Zhang

             Download 2016-2017 Graduate Handbook [ Here‌ ]


Guillermo_2017

Candidate Name:            Guillermo Castro Camba
Project title:                       Irish coastal catchments response to extreme events and perturbations(Galway Doctoral Scolarship).
Research Cluster:           Environmental Change

I obtained my BSc in Geography and Environmental Planning at the Universidad of Granada (2011 – 2015), with a focus in GIS and Physical Geography. My main research interests are coastal dynamics, remote sensing and GIS and the impacts of climate change on coastal environments.

My PhD will attempt to link coastal catchment processes in the small coastal area of Keel, Achill Island Co. Mayo. It has an integrated approach that includes inputs from various disciplines, and it aims to identify the natural and human pressures so as to assess potential risks to the functioning of the different systems and evaluate the vulnerability to climate change, measure and characterize patterns in the sediment routing system and describe the geomorphological and ecological response of coastal catchments to large scale perturbations. I will be using an innovative remote sensing technique involving RPAS (drones) and exploring its application to coastal mapping.


Michelle Curran

Name:                                     Michelle Curran
Project title:                        Assessing high-impact climate events during warmer than present environments
Research Cluster:            Environmental Change Cluster

Academic Biography: Michelle completed her BA undergraduate degree in Geography at NUI Maynooth in 2015 after which, she obtained an MSc in Coastal and Marine environments at NUI Galway in 2016. During her undergraduate years she developed a strong interest in Physical Geography and in particularly climate reconstruction, which she continued to pursue during her Masters. Michelle commenced her PhD at NUI Galway in September 2016 having been awarded a Galway Doctoral Research Scholarship. 

Project description: This research investigates the impact and variability of warmer environments for North-western Europe during one of the warmest interglacial periods of the past 500 thousand years, namely MIS 11 (405,000 years ago). The overarching aim of this study is to explore linkages between mid-latitude storms, surface ocean dynamics, and the overall Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. This will be achieved by reconstructing temperature and salinity records of surface and deep ocean waters, by means of geochemical analysis (Mg/Ca - δ18O) on planktonic and benthic foraminifera during the targeted warm period. This will provide a quantitative record of temperature and variations in ocean circulation during warmer than present environments. This research is timely as it is unclear how Ireland’s climate will react within a warming world.


Desiree Farrell
Candidate Name:            
Desiree Farrell
Project title:                       
Along the Wild Atlantic Way: Unpacking the ties that bind community identity, tourism, and environmental conservation
Research Cluster:           
Planning and Sustainability Research Cluster

Academic Biography: Desiree completed her BSc in Conservation Biology and Ecological Sustainability from Arizona State University in 2014. She moved to Ireland and earned her MSc in Coastal and Marine Environments, with First Class Honors, in 2015 at NUI Galway. She has since been awarded the Galway Doctoral Research Scholarship to pursue her PhD at NUI Galway in Geography.

 Project Description: There is a clear disconnect between policy language committing to improve public outreach and stakeholder engagement, and the implementation methods of the plans and policies put forth. As a major tourism initiative, the Wild Atlantic Way demonstrates this disconnect between top-down policy development and its local-level adoption. This PhD research is driven by the central question: what power and interest do communities have along the Way to pursue the economic potential of tourism while preserving cultural identity and supporting broader conservation efforts?

 Publication(s): Farrell, D., Carr, L., and Fahy, F. (2017). On the Subject of Typology: How Coastal Communities’ Subjectivities Reveal Intrinsic Values. Ocean and Coastal Management, 146, pp. 135-143. 

 Awards:

  • Galway Doctoral Research Scholarship, 2018
  • Outstanding Achievement Award- First in Class (2015, NUI Galway)

 LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/desiree-farrell-0ba258b9/


Candidate Name:              Kate Flood
Project title:                         Cultural Ecosystem Services in community-based conservation initiatives: participatory and
                                                      multi-stakeholder approaches to decision making
Research Cluster:             Rural Studies

Academic Biography and Project Description: Kate holds a BA in Communication Studies from Dublin City University (1995) and completed an MSc in World Heritage Management & Conservation at University College Dublin (2015). Her master’s research examined the social and cultural history of Girley Bog Natural Heritage Area in County Meath. Kate works in a voluntary capacity with the Girley Bog Meitheal, a community based group involved in the conservation and management of Girley Bog and is also a member of the Community Wetlands Forum, a national network aimed at supporting community involvement with wetlands. She was awarded a Hardiman Scholarship in 2017 to pursue PhD research at NUI Galway on cultural ecosystem services and the role of community conservation initiatives in the protection of wetlands and peatlands.

Kate’s PhD research will explore methods to identify and mainstream cultural values of wetlands and peatlands into policy and decision making, engaging with environmental governance and social-ecological systems theory, and the ecosystem services framework. It will advance mechanisms for linking communities and institutions to support holistic, multi-stakeholder approaches to ecosystem management. It will also investigate the most effective methods for eliciting cultural and shared values of ecosystems, facilitating communities to articulate these values through participatory approaches and deliberative techniques. Comparative analysis will be conducted using two case study sites in Scotland, where climate change initiatives, investment in peatland conservation, and community engagement are well established.

 CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
Oral:

  • July 2017, “In light of present knowledge’: historical perspectives on peatland conservation”, Transdisciplinary Conversations on Peatlands, University College Cork.
  • May 2017, “‘Taming the wilderness’: mapping visual representations of a peatland landscape through time”, Conference of Irish Geographers, University College Cork.
  • September 2015, Panel participant “How oral history can reveal new avenues of research: tales from Girley Bog”, Oral History Network of Ireland conference, Trinity College Dublin.

 Poster:

  • June 2016, “Integrating scientific, historic, and local knowledge for conservation and management of peatlands in Ireland”, International Conference on Natural and Constructed Wetlands, NUI Galway
  • February 2016, “Historic peatland practices as recorded in documentary sources: implications for conservation and archaeology”, Environmental Archaeology in Ireland, National Botanic Gardens.

Publications:

  • Flood, Kate, (2018) (Forthcoming) ‘Taming the Wilderness: A history of Girley Bog 1606 – 2016’, Ríocht na Midhe, Journal of Meath Archaeological & Historical Society.

Nessa Golden

Candidate Name:              Nessa Golden
Project title:                         Monitoring metals in the urban environment using magnetic susceptibility.
Research Cluster:             Environmental Change

Academic biography and project description:
I completed my undergraduate degree in 2009 with a BA in Geography and Psychological Studies. During my degree, I developed an interest in Physical Geography and decided to pursue further education in this area.

My PhD is a joint venture between the Discipline of Geography and the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, NUI, Galway.

My research focuses on the techniques involved in the monitoring of metal contamination in the environment. In particular, how magnetic susceptibility can be applied as a proxy for metal contamination or as an aid in the identification of metal contaminated sites. For example, through the application of interpolation techniques within a Geographical Information System (GIS) I was able to create spatial distribution maps of various metals and magnetic susceptibility (MS) data from an urban bonfire site and demonstrate the strong correlations between MS and metals present. I also investigated the bioavailable fractions of metals in these bonfire soils as a human health concern. My research interests also include air quality assessment. The technique I employ is the monitoring and analysis of lichen species present in an area. Lichens are known to be sensitive to various pollutants and so are considered a good biological indicator of air quality. 

Publications:

  •  Golden, N., Morrison, L., Gibson, P.J., Potito, A.P. and Zhang, C.S. (2015) Spatial patterns of metal contamination and magnetic susceptibility of soils at an urban bonfire site. Applied Geochemistry 52, 86-96.

Conference Presentations: 

  • 25th Environ 2015: 8th – 10th April 2015, Sligo IT.Oral presentation: Exploring the spatial patterns of magnetic susceptibility and metal contamination of soils of an urban bonfire.
  • Postgraduate Research Day: 17th April 2015, Geography, NUI Galway.Oral Presentation: Monitoring of urban soils using magnetic susceptibility.
  • 31st SEGH 2015: 22nd – 26th June 2015, Bratislava-Slovak Republic.

 Oral presentation:

  • Mapping the spatial distribution of metal contamination and magnetic susceptibility of urban bonfire soils.

Natasha Keenaghan

Candidate Name:            Natasha Keenaghan
Project title:                       Developing an Alternative? Social Entrepreneurship in the International
                                                    Development project
Research Cluster:           Geopolitics and Justice

Academic biography and project description: 
Prior to beginning the PhD program, I obtained a Masters in Environment, Society and Development in NUIG. During this MA I worked on a variety of projects, including the potential of critical GIS to render marginalised identities visible, and the potential for activating public space to promote notions of a more transformative citizenship in Sarajevo BiH. My MA thesis ‘Poverty in the Public Eye- A help or a hindrance? explored the role of media and in particular Comic Relief plea films (2013), in scripting public understandings of poverty and development. This research critically unpacked a scripting of poverty and development that abstracted knowledge and produced hegemonic assumptions of the ‘Global South’. From this work I developed an interest in the potential for development organizations to innovate and effectively achieve more progressive interventions in poverty reduction. My PhD aims to further engage critiques of the contemporary international development project in order to evaluate the potential of a new and steadily emerging model within development: social entrepreneurship. The research will compare the discursive constructs surrounding poverty and underdevelopment as produced by 2 different models of development organisation: the dominant aid-based charity model, and emerging development organisations promoting principles of social entrepreneurship.


Axel Leahy

Candidate Name:      Axel Leahy
Project Title:                
Enabling a bottom-up approach for Climate Change Adaptation (CCA)
Research Cluster:     Environmental Change

 Academic Biography:

 Axel Leahy graduated with a BA in Geography, Land-Use Planning and Environment at the University of Rennes 2 (Brittany) in 2015. He then completed an MSc in Coastal and Marine Environments at NUIG in 2016. Axel commenced his PhD at NUI Galway in September 2017 having been awarded a Hardiman Research Scholarship.

 Research Interests:

Axel’s research seeks to understand individual’s perceptions of coastal risks and climate change, through the use of psychometric tests and cognitive maps, and to assess approaches involving local communities within the Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) decision-making process. Public participatory approaches, such as Participatory GIS (PGIS), are a core focus in Axel’s work, as he believes that these tools will enable lay individuals from coastal communities to successfully engage with complex contemporary environmental challenges.

This multi-disciplinary research project will seek to quantify the effectiveness from these different participatory methodologies in terms of awareness-raising and incentive created to engage in local CCA policies. The research is approaching community engagement in CCA from a geographical and socio-cultural perspective by engaging diverse Atlantic coastal communities in Ireland (Achill Island, Co. Mayo; Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford), France (Gâvres, Morbihan; Aytré, Charente-Maritime), Scotland (Fort William) and Norway (Bergen).


PhD Daithi Maguire
Candidate Name:
   Daithí Maguire
Project title:              The application of satellite-borne remote sensors for monitoring coastal erosion and ecosystems in Ireland.        
Research Cluster:  Environmental Change

 Education:

  • Master of Science (Coastal & Marine Environments) – NUI Galway (2016)
  • Master of Science (Offshore & Ocean Technology) – Cranfield University (2008) 
  • Master of Science (Civil Engineering) – University of Dublin, Trinity College (1996)
  • Bachelor of Science (Structural Engineering) – Dublin Institute of Technology (1995)
  • Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge (Level A2) – NUI Galway (2016)
  • Diploma in Structural Engineering – Dublin Institute of Technology (1995) 

Project description:

Advances in the resolution and availability of imagery from satellite-borne remote sensors have presented an opportunity to utilise the data for near real-time monitoring of coastal erosion and coastal ecosystems. This research project focuses on developing a technique for measuring changes in coastal geomorphology and vegetation cover using a combination of synthetic aperture radar and multispectral imagery.

The technique is being developed, tested, and refined using data collected from The Maharees, Brandon Bay (Co. Kerry) and Golden Strand Beach, Achill (Co. Mayo).

The results are expected to be of interest to coastal ecologists, geomorphologists, managers, and engineers involved in coastal research and conservation. In particular, the research can inform coastal management strategies for coping with the increased storminess predicted by future scenarios described in many climate models.


Aoife M.Ní Fhlatharta

Candidate Name:            Aoife M.Ní Fhlatharta
Project title:                       Women and Rural Innovation: A Panacea for Peripheral Sustainability along
                                                    areas of the Wild Atlantic Way 
Research Cluster:           Rural Studies

 Academic biography and project description: 
Aoife completed her primary degree in Geography and Gaeilge in NUI Galway in 2013 after which she pursued a Masters in Nua-Ghaeilge also at NUI Galway.   In 2015, Aoife received a First Class Honours Degree in the MA in Rural Sustainability which further sparked her interest in rural geography, particularly in issues pertaining to rural development, rural innovation and rural gender studies. Her master’s thesis which drew on a participatory and a feminist tradition sought to unravel the strands of patriarchy inherent to the rural and the innovation milieu by exploring the dual role of women in rural innovation within areas of South Connemara, in addition to examining the implications of the challenging pathway which female innovators are continuously fraught with.  As part of her PhD, this research topic is further expounded upon where it aims to explore the pioneering role of women in rural innovation, namely in small to medium enterprises along peripheral regions of the Wild Atlantic Way.  Addressing the dearth of research which besieges this area within the Republic of Ireland, the research aims to explore the contribution of female innovators to the development of the economic and social trajectories of Ireland’s hinterlands, furthermore to comprehend the implications of women’s involvement in the formal economy on gender relations and hegemonic structures within the rural. 


Carla Mateus

Candidate Name:              Carla Mateus
Project title:                        Data rescue, digitisation, quality control and homogenisation of the long-term daily maximum and minimum air temperature series and extreme air temperature events in Ireland.
Research Cluster:             Environmental Change Cluster

 Academic biography and project description:

  • (2014) Master in Physical Geography, Environment and Spatial Planning. University of Coimbra. Portugal.
  • (2012) Degree in Geography – area of pre-specialization in Physical Geography. University of Coimbra. Portugal.

Intern Geographer:

  • Department of Geography, National University of Ireland, Galway (January to August 2014)
  • Geophysical Institute of the University of Coimbra (August to October 2013).
  • Portuguese Environment Agency (Hydrographic Administration of the Center Region) (September 2012 to March 2013)

I have been developing research in Climatology. My research has increasingly focused on long-term climate datasets and extreme weather events.  My PhD project aims the data recovery, digitisation, quality control and homogenisation of all long-term instrumental daily, monthly and seasonal maximum and minimum air temperature records since the beginning of the meteorological observations (back to the early and mid-19th century to the present) in Ireland. Through statistical and climate modelling methodologies I intend to assess long-term climate variability and, trends in frequency, magnitude, duration and distribution of extreme air temperature events such as cold and heat waves. Also, it is important to specify natural climate forcing and atmospheric circulation patterns which cause extreme air temperature, in order to predict the frequency and magnitude of future events through statistical climate modelling of return period and probability distributions of daily air temperature. This project is important to more accurately predict future climate change scenarios in Ireland.

Dissemination of this PhD Project at:

  • MATEUS, C.; POTITO, A.; CURLEY, M. (2017) Digitisation and homogenisation of the long term daily (max/min) summer and winter air temperature records in Ireland. p.39 in Szentimrey, T., Hoffmann, L., Lakatos, M. (eds.). Abstract Book of 9th Seminar for homogenization and quality control in climatological databases and 4th conference on spatial interpolation techniques in climatology and meteorology. 3-7 April, 2017, Budapest, Hungary, OMSZ, 58p. doi:10.21404/9.SemHQC4.ConfSI.2017. (Oral Presentation).
  • MATEUS, C. (2017) Digitisation, quality control and homogenisation of the long-term daily, maximum and minimum, air temperature records in Ireland. Postgraduate Research Symposium. Geography Department, NUIG.
  • MATEUS, C.; POTITO, A.; CURLEY, M. (2017) Methodology for quality control and homogenisation of the long term daily (max/min) summer and winter air temperature records in Ireland. 49th Conference of Irish Geographers, University College Cork, 4-6 May 2017. Conference Abstracts Book, pp.35. (Oral Presentation).  

 

Publications:

  • Mateus, Carla & Potito, Aaron (2014) Riscos climáticos em Armagh, Irlanda do Norte, entre 1844 e 2013 e Oscilação do Atlântico Norte (NAO). [Climatic risks in Armagh, Northern Ireland, between 1844 and 2013 and North Atlantic Oscillation.] XIV Iberian Colloquium of Geography. University of Minho, Portugal. Book of abstracts, pp.1858-1864.
  • Mateus, Carla; Cunha, Lúcio; NOSSA, Paulo (2014) Ondas de calor e ondas de frio em Coimbra – impactes na mortalidade da população. [Heat waves and cold waves in Coimbra – impacts on mortality of population.] XIV Iberian Colloquium of Geography. University of Minho, Portugal. Book of abstracts, pp.1791-1796.
  • Mateus, Carla & Nogueira, Helena (2003) Impacto do calor na mortalidade da população residente no concelho de Coimbra entre maio e outubro de 2003. [Impact of heat on mortality of resident population in the municipality of Coimbra between May and October 2003]. IX Congress of the Portuguese Geography. University of Évora, Portugal. Book of abstracts, pp.266-271.
  • Mateus, Carla & Silva, Nelson (2013) Demarcação do leito e da margem das águas do mar no Litoral Centro de Portugal Continental. [Limitation of equinoctial tides and margin of the coastal waters in coastal of central region of Portugal.] VI National Congress of Geomorphology. University of Coimbra, Portugal. Book of abstracts, pp.49-52.
  • Mateus, Carla & Cunha, Lúcio (2012) A Oscilação do Atlântico Norte (NAO) e riscos climáticos em Coimbra entre 1950-2010. [The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and climate risks in Coimbra between 1950 and 2010.] VII National Meeting of Risks – I Forum Risk and Safety ISCIA, Aveiro, Portugal, Book of abstracts, p.33.
  • Mateus, Carla & Lourenco, Luciano (2012) Condições sinóticas e incêndios florestais em Portugal Continental. O caso dos meses de Junho a Setembro de 2005 e 2008. [Synoptic conditions and forest fires in Portugal. The case of the months of June to September 2005-2008]. VII Colloquium of Geography of Coimbra. University of Coimbra, Portugal. Book of abstracts, p.29.

 In conference proceedings:

  • Mateus, Carla & Potito, Aaron (2014) Riscos climáticos em Armagh, Irlanda do Norte, entre 1844 e 2013 e Oscilação do Atlântico Norte (NAO). [Climatic risks in Armagh, Northern Ireland, between 1844 and 2013 and North Atlantic Oscillation.] XIV Iberian Colloquium of Geography. University of Minho, Portugal. Book of abstracts, pp.1858-1864.
  • Mateus, Carla; Cunha, Lúcio; NOSSA, Paulo (2014) Ondas de calor e ondas de frio em Coimbra – impactes na mortalidade da população. [Heat waves and cold waves in Coimbra – impacts on mortality of population.] XIV Iberian Colloquium of Geography. University of Minho, Portugal. Book of abstracts, pp.1791-1796.
  • Mateus, Carla & Nogueira, Helena (2003) Impacto do calor na mortalidade da população residente no concelho de Coimbra entre maio e outubro de 2003. [Impact of heat on mortality of resident population in the municipality of Coimbra between May and October 2003]. IX Congress of the Portuguese Geography. University of Évora, Portugal. Book of abstracts, pp.266-271.
  • Mateus, Carla & Silva, Nelson (2013) Demarcação do leito e da margem das águas do mar no Litoral Centro de Portugal Continental. [Limitation of equinoctial tides and margin of the coastal waters in coastal of central region of Portugal.] VI National Congress of Geomorphology. University of Coimbra, Portugal. Book of abstracts, pp.49-52.
  • Mateus, Carla & Cunha, Lúcio (2012) A Oscilação do Atlântico Norte (NAO) e riscos climáticos em Coimbra entre 1950-2010. [The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and climate risks in Coimbra between 1950 and 2010.] VII National Meeting of Risks – I Forum Risk and Safety ISCIA, Aveiro, Portugal, Book of abstracts, p.33.
  • Mateus, Carla & Lourenco, Luciano (2012) Condições sinóticas e incêndios florestais em Portugal Continental. O caso dos meses de Junho a Setembro de 2005 e 2008. [Synoptic conditions and forest fires in Portugal. The case of the months of June to September 2005-2008]. VII Colloquium of Geography of Coimbra. University of Coimbra, Portugal. Book of abstracts, p.29.

 Conference Presentations:

  • Mateus, Carla & Potito, Aaron (2014) Riscos climáticos em Armagh, Irlanda do Norte, entre 1844 e 2013 e Oscilação do Atlântico Norte (NAO). [Climatic risks in Armagh, Northern Ireland, between 1844 and 2013 and North Atlantic Oscillation.] XIV Iberian Colloquium of Geography. University of Minho, Portugal.
  • Mateus, Carla; Cunha, Lúcio; Nossa, Paulo (2014) Ondas de calor e ondas de frio em Coimbra – impactes na mortalidade da população. [Heat waves and cold waves in Coimbra – impacts on mortality of population.] XIV Iberian Colloquium of Geography. University of Minho, Portugal.
  • Mateus, Carla & Nogueira, Helena (2013) Impacto do calor na mortalidade da população residente no concelho de Coimbra entre maio e outubro de 2003. [Impact of heat on mortality of resident population in the municipality of Coimbra between May and October of 2003]. IX Congress of the Portuguese Geography. University of Évora, Portugal.

Seamus McGinley

Candidate Name:                 Seamus McGinley  (Galway Doctoral Scholar)
Project title:                            Palaeolimnological insights into later prehistoric (1000BC- 400AD)          
                                                         settlement activity in Central Ireland.
Research Cluster:                Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit

Academic biography and project description:
Seamus obtained first class honours in his M.A. (Landscape Archaeology), B.A. (Geography and Archaeology), and Diploma in Scientific Studies (Geology) at NUIG.

This study opens in the Late Bronze Age (1000BC-600BC) when hillforts first appear in the archaeological record and there is a major opening up of the woodlands and expansion of grasslands. During the Iron Age (600BC-AD400) monument building continued at the ‘royal sites’ but there is little archaeological evidence for contemporary domestic settlement. In terms of the environmental evidence, the most prominent feature of the period is the Late Iron Age Lull; a phenomenon characterised by forest regeneration and reduced farming activity which is sometimes attributed to population decline driven by climate change and/or natural catastrophes.

The main study area comprises two lakes in Co. Westmeath, Lough Lugh on the Hill of Uisneach (the mythical centre of Ireland), and Mount Dalton Lough 3km further northeast. This multi-proxy palaeolimnological study uses chironomid (non-biting midge-flies), geochemical (C:N ratios,15δN and13δC)  and pollen analysis, combined with evidence from the archaeological record to identify changing settlement intensity and land-use patterns. Additionally chironomid analysis from an isolated lake (Lough Meenachrinna in SW Donegal) will provide a quantitative record of temperature changes in Later Prehistory.

Publications:

  • McGinley, S., Potito, A.P., Molloy, K., Schot, R., and Stuijts, I. (under review). Lough Lugh, Uisneach: from natural lake to archaeological monument. Journal of Irish Archaeology.
  • Schott, R., Stuijts, I., McGinley, S., and Potito, A.P. (2014). Chapter 5. Reflections on a lake: a multi-proxy study of environmental change and human impacts at Lough Lugh, Uisneach, Co. Westmeath. Discovery Programme Reports 8, Dublin. Ireland

Conference Presentations:

Oral

  • McGinley, S., Potito, A.P., Molloy, K., Schot, R., and Stuijts, I. (2015). Lough Lugh: Natural site or archaeological monument - the palaeolimnological evidence. 47th Conference of Irish Geographers, Queens University, Belfast, UK.
  • McGinley, S., Potito, A.P., Molloy, K., Schot, R. and Stuijts, I. (2014). A Palaeolimnological Investigation of Lough Lugh: at the Mythical Centre of Ireland. Irish Quaternary Association (Spring Meeting), NUI Maynooth, Ireland.

Poster

  • McGinley, S. (2014). On the Trails of the ‘Invisible People’: a multi-proxy palaeolimnological study focussed on the Irish Iron Age (600BC-400AD). European Association of Archaeologists (20th Annual meeting), Istanbul, Turkey.

 Yuting Meng

Candidate Name:           Yuting Meng
Project title:                       Quantifying and visualizing the decimeter-scale spatial variation of phosphorus 
                                                    in sediments and measuring spatial variations in correlations between
                                                    phosphorus and other geochemical variables
Research Cluster:           Environmental change

 Academic biography and project description:

  • 2008-2012  Bachelor of Engineering in Bioengineering, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China
  • 2012-2015  Master of Nature Science in Palaeontology & Stratigraphy, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences), Nanjing, China

There are two parts in my research. Firstly, assess the feasibility of using neighbourhood statistics within a GIS environment to quantify and visualise spatial variation of bio-available phosphorus (dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP)) in sediments with decimeter-scale. Secondly, investigate the use of a geographically weighted regression (GWR) method for the spatial modelling of DRP. The environment factors such as dissolved sulfide, dissolved iron (Fe) and other relative metals will be estimated and included as the independent variables to establish the GWR model. Discuss the correlations between phosphorus and other relevant geochemical variables.


Sean O Flatharta

Candidate Name:             Sean ó Flatharta
Project title:                        Precision Agriculture: Assessing Ireland’s phosphorus levels within Irish farmlands.
Research Cluster:            Environmental Change

Academic biography and project description:
Sean graduated from NUI Galway with a Bachelors degree in Geography and Political Sociology in 2014. His research interests lies in spatial analysis of the environment and soils, namely metals and nutrients. Sean is currently undertaking a PhD in Geographic information systems (GIS).  His core research project statistically examines soil nutrients, namely phosphorus levels within the soils of Ireland’s farmlands through the utilization of spatial statistical techniques and GIS.


 Karen Taylor

Candidate Name:               Karen Taylor (IRCSET Scholar, Hardiman Scholar)
Project title:                          Environmental impacts of early farming in western Ireland
Research Cluster:              Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit (PRU)

Academic biography and project description:
My research area of interest is palaeolimnological and palaeoenvironmental studies with a focus on the development of prehistoric farming during the Neolithic (4000 – 2000 BC) and Bronze Age (2000 – 600 BC) in Ireland. My work has a unique quality, as it is interdisciplinary combining scientific techniques from palaeolimnology and applying them to archaeological inquiry. The amount of information accessible through archaeological investigations at times can be quite limited. In contrast, palaeolimnology offers an uninterrupted chronology of sediment which allows for multiple types of analysis and the production of detailed information. My work bridges the gap between the two subjects and provides new insight into our past and the previously known archaeological database.

My research aims to assess both the intensity and effects of Neolithic and Bronze Age farming practices through a multi-proxy analysis of lake sediment cores from multiple sites in northwest Ireland. This will be investigated through palaeoenvironmental proxy evidence including chironomid, macroscopic charcoal, pollen and stable isotopic analysis of carbon and nitrogen (δ13C, δ15N, and C:N). These proxies will detect various prehistoric human impacts in the study site lake catchments, and will help to inform early farming practices in the region.

This study will also emphasize the usefulness of chironomids in archaeological research and will provide insight into the human-environmental relations of the Neolithic and Bronze Age people and their development of agriculture in the northwest of Ireland. This scientific methodology has already been proven to be highly successful in detecting the impact of human activity at one study site, Lough Dargan in County Sligo as the focus of my research MLitt. And so, my PhD will be a continuation of this research, by expanding the multi-proxy approach on a larger scale.

Publications: 

  • Taylor, K.J., Potito, A.P., Beilman, D., Ghilardi, B., O’Connell, M., 2013. Palaeolimnological impacts of early prehistoric farming at Lough Dargan, County Sligo, Ireland. Journal of Archaeological Science 40, 3212-3221.

Conference Presentations:

  • 2015 ‘A high resolution palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the Neolithic at the Carrowkeel-Keshcorran complex, County Sligo, Ireland’. Conference of Irish Geographers (CIG), Queen’s University Belfast.
  • 2015 ‘A high resolution palaeoenvironmental assessment of the Neolithic at the Carrowkeel-Keshcorran complex, County Sligo, Ireland’. Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) Spring meeting, Maynooth University.
  • 2014 ‘Ecological impacts of prehistoric farming in northwest Ireland’ Poster presentation. NUIG Research Showcase, National University of Ireland Galway.

 Qianqian Wang

Candidate Name:              Qianqian Wang  王倩倩
Project title:                         China’s Involving Role In The ICT Global Value Chain
Research Cluster:             Environmental Change

Academic biography and project description:

  • 2010-2013, Shanghai Normal University (CHINA),  Human Geography,  Master Degree
  • 2013-NOW, East China Normal University (CHINA), Human Geography, PHD Candidate
  • 2015-2016, National University Of Ireland, Galway,  Human Geography ,Visiting PHD Student

Sinead Wilkes

Candidate Name:             Sinead Itzel Wilkes Orozco
Project title:                        The response of Beach-Dune systems to extreme storms in The Maharees,
                                                     Castlegregory, Co. Kerry.
Research Cluster:            Environmental change

 Academic biography and project description:
I graduated from the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), Mexico, with a first class degree in Oceanography. My research interests are mainly focused on the study of coastal processes, such as coastal erosion, stability of the coastline, and the variability of coastal dunes due to large perturbations.

The aim of this project is to study the major drivers of coastal geomorphic behaviour in The Maharees, Castlegregory, Co. Kerry, and know in what way the Beach-Dune systems responds to these. In order to identify the response after large storm events, data will be collected during 12 months. In recent years the tombolo in Castlegregory, as in all the west coast of Ireland, has had big rates of erosion, mostly after extreme storms events. This means that in the next years severe coastal flooding is likely to occur in that area, which could be prevented making the correct studies and management strategies to help with the system recovery.


Elaine Williams

Candidate Name:            Elaine Williams
Project title:                       Creating Opportunities for Engagement: Exploring the relationship between
                                                    the Burren landscape and civil society.
Cluster:                                 Environment and Planning

Academic biography and project description:
Elaine graduated with a BA in Geography and English (2011) and an MA in Environment, Society and Development in (2012) from NUI Galway. She has a keen interest in community wellbeing research and has held positions as a Teaching Assistant, Wellbeing Project Coordinator and an Outreach Officer before commencing her PhD here in Geography (September 2015).

Using a mixed method ethnographic approach to enquiry, Elaine’s PhD investigates the role of the civil society organisation Burrenbeo Trust (BBT), in encouraging community engagement (CE) within the Burren landscape. More specifically, her research asks: What benefits stem from CE and how does such engagement contextualise the construction of the Burren as a community of communities, nested within a unique landscape laden with multiple societal values?

 In order to facilitate rich and reflective findings that can be distilled through the multifaceted lens of a research professional; a CE official and an activist, Elaine conducts her research from within BBT two days a week. Under the title ‘Community Engagement Officer’, she coordinates numerous events and activities all across the Burren, interacting with the community on a daily basis. Not only does this PhD endeavour to build on CE and Landscape research, but it aims to offer an invaluable insight into community-university relationships.

 Conference Presentations:

  • Williams, E. (2014) Community Engagement: We Need Opportunities!. Unpublished paper presentation at: North Clare Health and Wellbeing Conference, Lisdoonvarna, 14 November 2014.
  • Williams, E. (2013) The Capability Approach: A Method for Identifying Wellbeing Constraints within an Irish Ghost Estate?. Unpublished poster presentation at: 45th Conference of Irish Geographers, 16-18 May 2013, National University of Ireland, Galway.
  • Williams, E. (2013) Breaking Down Barriers to Wellbeing in an Irish Ghost Estate: A Capability Approach. Unpublished paper presentation at: 3rd Annual Symposium on Environment, Society and Development, 24 August 2012, National University of Ireland, Galway.

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Student Testimonial

Student testimonail geography conwayMy time as a post graduate student of Geography at NUI Galway was both educationally and personally enriching. The wide variety of undergraduate modules and postgraduate courses available is testament to the appeal of the department and the varied interests of the staff, whom were always available and approachable. Overall, studying Geography at NUI Galway was a very rewarding experience. (Therese Conway, PhD graduate, 2014)