The Environmental Change Research Cluster brings together researchers who are interested in improving our understanding of environmental systems. A consistent theme that runs through much of the work is the way in which spatial and temporal variability is influenced by issues relating to climate change and human activities at various scales. A driving motivation of our research cluster is the conviction that informed decision making must be based upon scientific data as we try to predict how these natural systems will respond to short- and long-term changes.

A range of geographical perspectives and expertise are employed by our research cluster, including palaeoclimatology, palaeolimnology, environmental geochemistry, historical climatology, process geomorphology, coastal dynamics, coastal and marine spatial planning, sediment transport, risk management, natural and environmental hazards, and geographical information science (GIS).

The research cluster’s work is funded by national and international bodies, with graduate research as a core element. While students of the cluster’s MSc in Coastal and Marine Environments contribute directly to the research the primary goal of it is to prepare students for the work place, where informed decision in coastal and marine environments should be based upon appropriate scientific evidence.

We are proud of our multidisciplinary approach, its international outlook, and its extensive network of collaborations with private and government organizations, linked to a strong research tradition. Our members have many collaborative partnerships with active, interdisciplinary research clusters including, but not limited to, The Palaeoenvironmental Research Unit (PRU), International Network for Environment and Health (INEH), Marine, Environment and Energy research groups in the Ryan Institute, all located in NUI Galway, as well as many international research collaborations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Portugal, UK and USA. Our strategic intent is to become a leading research entity in Ireland and Europe and play a vital role in maintaining and enhancing the NUIG’s international profile.






• The Development of a Predictive Decision Support Tool to Improve Farm Financial Management,Teagasc Walsh Fellowship (with Teagasc Athenry)

• Mainstreaming Controlled Traffic Techniques and Optimization of Movements (DEM-CTT/OptiMove) ICT-AGRI 2015 Enabling Precision Farming, European Union (with Teagasc Johnstown Castle).

• Sensing soil quality using optical sensing techniques in headland crop management. Teagasc Walsh Fellowship (with Teagasc Johnston Castle)

• Associations between geochemistry of London soils and socio-economic factors. RIA/RS International Exchange Cost Share Programme (with British Geological Survey)

• Development of a web-based, real-time digital nutrient management system based on agronomy modelling and GIS for land management practitioners - FarmEye, Commercialisation Fund Programme, Enterprise Ireland

• Coastal Flooding and Erosion: Post-Storm Recovery of Beach-Dune Systems in Ireland (The Maharees, Castlegregory, Co. Kerry). Funding: Office of Public Works. Principal Investigators: Dr. Eugene Farrell (NUIG, Geography), Dr. Kevin Lynch (NUIG, Geography)

• From Source-To-Sink: The response and recovery of coastal catchment ecosystems to large perturbations (Keel, Achill Island, Co.Mayo). Funding: EPA, Principal Investigators: Dr. Eugene Farrell (NUIG, Geography), Dr. Kevin Lynch (NUIG, Geography), Dr. Terry Morley (NUIG, Geography), Dr. Tiernan Henry (NUIG, Earth and Ocean Sciences), Dr. Mary Bourke (Trinity College Dublin), Dr. Jonathan Turner (University College Dublin), and Dr. Barry O'Dwyer (University College Cork).

• Application of innovative UAV-based (drone) & Earth Observation (ESA, Copernicus) remote sensing techniques to coastal dynamics. Morphodynamics of mäerl beaches. Millennium Fund, NUIG.

• Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Ireland - Meeting Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive targets for Ireland’s transitional and coastal waters through implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management. Sustainable Water Network (SWAN), Ireland.

• I Like Beaches – A University community knowledge initiative (CKI) to promote civic engagement. EXPLORE programme, NUIG.



Chen, M.S., Ding, S.M., Liu, L., Wang, Y., Xing, X.G., Wang, D., M.D., Zhang, C.S., 2017. Fine-scale bioturbation effects of tubificid worm (Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri) on the lability of phosphorus in sediments. Environmental Pollution (June online, page no to be assigned)

Chen, M.S., Ding, S.M., Zhang, L.P., Li, Y.Y., Sun, Q., Zhang, C.S., 2017. An investigation of the effects of elevated phosphorus in water on the release of heavy metals in sediments at a high resolution. Science of The Total Environment 575, 330–337 (January) DOI:

Farrell D., Carr, L.M., and Fahy, F. In Review. On the subject of typology: how Irish coastal communities’ subjectivities reveal intrinsic values towards coastal environments. Ocean & Coastal Management.

Jackson, N.L., Nordstrom, K.F., Farrell, E.J. (2017, accepted). Longshore sediment transport and foreshore change in the swash zone of an estuarine beach. Marine Geology.

McGinley, S., A.P. Potito, K. Molloy, R. Schot, I. Stuijts and D.W. Beilman (in press) Lough Lugh, Uisneach: From natural lake to archaeological monument? Journal of Irish Archaeology.

McGrory, E.R., Brown, C., Bargary, N., Williams, N.H., Mannix, A., Zhang, C.S., Henry, T., Daly, E., Nicholas, S., Petrunic, B.M., Lee, M., Liam Morrison, L., 2017. Arsenic contamination of drinking water in Ireland: A spatial analysis of occurrence and potential risk, Science of The Total Environment 579: 1863-1875,

Rosenthal, Y., Kalansky, J., Morley, A. and Linsley, B., 2017. A paleo-perspective on ocean heat content: Lessons from the Holocene and Common Era. Quaternary Science Reviews, 155, pp.1-12.

Taylor, K.J., A.P. Potito, D.W. Beilman, B. Ghilardi and M. O’Connell (in press) Impact of early prehistoric farming on chironomid communities in northwest Ireland. Journal of Paleolimnology. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-017-9942-6.

Taylor, K.J., S. Stolze, D.W. Beilman and A.P. Potito (in press) Response of chironomids to Neolithic land-use change in northwest Ireland. The Holocene. DOI: 10.1177/0959683616675935.


In 2016

Carr, L.M. and Heyman, W.D. 2016. Testing fisher-developed alternatives to fishery management tools for community support and regulatory effectiveness. Marine Policy 67: 40-53.

Carr, L.M. and Liu, D.Y. 2016. Measuring stakeholder perspectives on environmental and economic stability for a tourism-dependent community. International Journal of Tourism Research 18: 620-632.

Chen, M.S., Ding, S.M., Liu, L., Xu, D., Gong, M.D., Tang, H., Zhang, C.S., 2016. Kinetics of phosphorus release from sediments and its relationship with iron speciation influenced by the mussel (Corbicula fluminea) bioturbation. Science of The Total Environment 542, Part A: 833–840 doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.10.155.

Ding, S.M., Wang, Y., Wang, D., Li, Y.Y., Gong, M.D., Zhang, C.S. 2016. In situ, high-resolution evidence for iron-coupled mobilization of phosphorus in sediments. Scientific Reports 6: 24341. doi:  10.1038/srep24341

Ding, S.M., Wang, Y., Zhang, L.P., Xu, L., Gong, M.D., Zhang, C.S. 2016. New holder configurations for use in the diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) technique. The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Advances 6:88143-88156. DOI: 10.1039/C6RA19677B

Ding, S.M., Xu, D., Wang, Y.P., Wang, Y., Li, Y.Y., Gong, M.D., Zhang, C.S., 2016. Simultaneous Measurements of Eight Oxyanions Using High-Capacity Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films (Zr-Oxide DGT) with a High-Efficiency Elution Procedure. Environmental Science & Technology 50 (14): 7572–7580. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b00206

Fu, W.J., Zhao, K.L., Zhang, C.S., Hu, J., Tunney, H., 2016. Outlier identification of soil phosphorus and its implication for spatial structure modeling. Precision Agriculture 17(2): 121-135. doi:10.1007/s11119-015-9411-z 1-15.

Han, C., Yao, L., Xu, D., Xie, X.C., Zhang, C.S., 2016. High-resolution Imaging of pH in Alkaline Sediments and Water Based on a New Rapid Response Fluorescent Planar Optode. Scientific  Reports 6: 26417. doi:  10.1038/srep26417

Harland, R., Asteman, I.P., Morley, A., Morris, A., Harris, A. and Howe, J.A., 2016. Latest Quaternary palaeoceanographic change in the eastern North Atlantic based upon a dinoflagellate cyst event ecostratigraphy. Heliyon, 2(5), p.e00114.

Irvalı, N., Ninnemann, U.S., Kleiven, H.K.F., Galaasen, E.V., Morley, A. and Rosenthal, Y., 2016. Evidence for regional cooling, frontal advances, and East Greenland Ice Sheet changes during the demise of the last interglacial. Quaternary Science Reviews, 150, pp.184-199.

Kandrot, S., Farrell, E.J., and Devoy, R. (2016) The morphological response of foredunes at a breached barrier system to winter 2013/2014 storms on the southwest coast of Ireland. Earth Surface Processes And Landforms, 10.1002/esp.4003.

Liu, J.L., Li, X.H., Lin, T., Dai, L., Zhang, G.Q., Zhang, C.S., Ye, H., Gibson, V., Zhao, Q.J., 2016. Spatial analysis of gastric cancer morbidity in regions of rapid urbanization: a case study in Xiamen, China. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment 30(2): 713–723. DOI: 10.1007/s00477-015-1141-2.

Liu, X., Sheng, H., Jiang, S.Y., Yuan, Z.W., Zhang, C.S., Elser, J.J., 2016. Intensification of phosphorus cycling in China since the 1600s. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) 113(10): 2609–2614,  doi: 10.1073/pnas.1519554113.

Lynch, K., Jackson, D. W. T. and Cooper, J. A. G. (2016) The Fetch effect on aeolian sediment transport on a sandy beach: A Case study from Magilligan Strand, Northern Ireland, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 41, 1129–1135, DOI: 10.1002/esp.3930

MacDonald, G.M., K.A. Moser, A.M. Bloom, A.P. Potito, D.F. Porinchu, J.R. Holmquist, J. Hughes and K.V. Kremenetski (2016) Prolonged California aridity linked to climate warming and Pacific sea surface temperature. Scientific Reports 6: 33325; doi: 10.1038/srep33325.

McKeown, M. and A.P. Potito (2016) Assessing recent climatic and human influences on chironomid communities from two moderately impacted lakes in western Ireland. Hydrobiologia 765: 245-263.

Molloy, K., and M. O’Connell. 2016. Farming impact in Ireland from the Neolithic to recent times with particular reference to a detailed pollen record from east Galway. Pp. 27-43, In: O’Connell, M.,  Kelly, F. and McAdam, H.J. (Eds.). Cattle in Ancient and Modern Ireland: Farming Practices, Environment and Economy. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. 230 pp.

Nordstrom K.F., Jackson N.L., Farrell E.J., Rafferty P., and Tengwall, C. (2016) Restoring Sediment to Compensate for Erosion of an Estuarine Shore. Geomorphology, 262, 37-46.

Sun, Q., Ding, S.M., Wang, Y., Xu, L.,Wang, D., Chen, J., Zhang, C.S., 2016. In-situ characterization and assessment of arsenic mobility in lake sediments. Environmental Pollution 214:  314–323 (July).

Wang, D., Gong, M.D., Li, Y.Y., Xu, L., Wang, Y., Jing, R., Ding, S.M., Zhang, C.S., 2016. In Situ, High-Resolution Profiles of Labile Metals in Sediments of Lake Taihu. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(9), 884; doi:10.3390/ijerph13090884

Wang, Y., Ding, S.M., Gong, M.D., Xu, S.W., Xu, W.M.,  Zhang, C.S., 2016. Diffusion characteristics of agarose hydrogel used in diffusive gradients in thin films for measurements of cations and anions. Analytica Chimica Acta 945:47-56

Wong MH, Chan YSG, CS Zhang, Ng. CWW, 2015. Comparison of pioneer and native woodland species growing on top of an engineered landfill, Hong Kong: Restoration programme. Land Degradation & Development 27(3) 500-511. DOI: 10.1002/ldr.2380.

Xiong, J.K., Li, G.Y., An, T.C., Zhang, C.S., Wei, C.H., 2016. Emission patterns and risk assessment of polybrominated diphenyl ethers and bromophenols in water and sediments from the Beijiang River, South China. Environmental Pollution, Available online 24 June 2016.

Zhuang, P., Li, Y.W., Zou, B., Su, F.,  Zhang, C.S., Mo, H., Li, Z., 2016. Oral bioaccessibility and human exposure assessment of cadmium and lead in market vegetables in the Pearl River Delta, South China. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 23: 24402–24410.  doi:10.1007/s11356-016-7801-z. 

Zhuang, P., Zhang, C.S., Li, Y.W., Bi Zou, B., Mo, H., Wu, K.J., Wu, J.T., Li, Z., 2016. Assessment of influences of cooking on cadmium and arsenic bioaccessibility in rice, using an in vitro physiologically-based extraction test. Food Chemistry 213: 206–214


2015 and Earlier

Anfuso G, Lynch K, Williams AT, Perales JA, Pereira da Silva C, et al. (2015) 'Comments on Marine Litter in Oceans, Seas and Beaches: Characteristics and Impacts' Annals of Marine Biology and Research, 2 (1)

Farrell, E.J., and Sherman, D.J. (2015) The fall velocity of sand grains in air: a review. Progress in Physical Geography, 39(3),361-387.

Flannery, W., Kindermann, G., Lynch, K. and Potito, A. (2013) Biodiversity in the Coastal Zone: Status and Governance: A Report for the Working and Educating for Biodiversity (WEB) Group. Working and Educating for Biodiversity (WEB) Group.

Flannery, W., Lynch, K., and Ó Cinnéide (2015) Consideration of Coastal Risk in the Irish Spatial Planning Processes, Land Use Policy, 43, 161–169, DOI:10.1016/j.landusepol.2014.11.001

Galvin, S.A., A.P. Potito and K.R. Hickey (2014) Evaluating the dendroclimatological potential of Taxus baccata (yew) in southwest Ireland. Dendrochronologia 32: 144-152.

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

Guo, X., A.P. Potito, L. Luo, and D.W. Beilman (2013) Twentieth century human and climate impacts on a large mountain lake in southwest China. Hydrobiologia 718: 189-206.

Irene Delgado-Fernandez, Derek W.T. Jackson, J. Andrew G. Cooper, Andreas C.W. Baas, J.H. Meiring Beyers, Kevin Lynch (2013). Field characterization of three-dimensional lee-side airflow patterns under offshore winds at a beach-dune system. Journal of Geophysical Research:  Earth Surface, 118, 706–721, DOI: 10.1002/jgrf.20036

Jackson, D.W.T., Beyers, J.H.M.,  Delgado-Fernandez, I.,  Baas, A.C.W., Cooper, J.A.G., Lynch, K. (2013) Airflow reversal and alternating corkscrew vortices in foredune wake zones during perpendicular and oblique offshore winds, Geomorphology, 187, 86-93,

Lynch, K., Delgado-Fernandez, I., Jackson, D.W.T., Cooper, J.A.G., Baas, A.C.W., and Beyers, J.H.M. (2013) Alongshore variation of aeolian sediment transport on a beach, under offshore winds. Aeolian Research, 8, 11–18, DOI:10.1016/j.aeolia.2012.10.004

Lynch, K., Ó Cinnéide, M, Douglas, I. DiLucia, A., Ní Oistín, M. and Massey, J. (with contributions from the ANCORIM partnership) (2012) Decision making and coastal risks: a good practice guide. Atlantic Network for Coastal Risk Management (ANCORIM), Interreg IVB programme - Atlantic space

Molloy, K. 2014. Mooghaun, south east Clare: archaeology, landscape change and early farming. In: Dalton, C and O’Carrol, E (eds) Limerick and Shannon Estuary Region. Irish Quaternary Fieldguide No. 32, Irish Quaternary Association, Dublin.

Molloy, K. and O’Connell, M. 2014. Post-glaciation plant colonization of Ireland: fresh insights from An Loch Mór, Inis Oírr, western Ireland. In: Sleeman, D.P., Carlsson, J. and Carlsson, J.E.L. Mind the Gap II: new insights into the Irish postglacial. Irish Naturalists' Journal, Belfast.

Molloy, K., Feeser, I. and O’Connell, M. 2014. A pollen profile from Ballinphuill bog: vegetation and land-use history. In: McKeon, J. and O’Sullivan, J. (eds.), The quiet landscape: Archaeological investigations on the M6 Galway to Ballinasloe national road scheme. NRA Scheme Monographs 15. National Roads Authority, Dublin, pp. 116–118.

Morley, A., Heslop, D., Rühlemann, C., Mulitza, S. Paul, A. and Schulz, M. (2015) 'Detecting Holocene changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation: Integration of Proxy Data and Climate Simulations (DAMOCLES)' In: Integrated Analysis of Interglacial Climate Dynamics (INTERDYNAMIC). Heidelberg: Springer Briefs in Earth System Sciences.

Morley, A., M., Rosenthal, Y., deMenocal, P., (2014). Ocean-Atmosphere climate shift during the mid-to-late Holocene transition. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 388, 18-26.

Pelletier J.D., Sherman D.J., Ellis J.T., Farrell E.J., Jackson N., Li B., Nordstrom K.F., Maia L.P., Omidyeganeh M. (2015) Dynamics of sediment storage and release on aeolian dune slip faces: A field study in Jericoacoara, Brazil. Journal Of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface, doi: 10.1002/2015JF003636.

Potito, A.P., C.A. Woodward, M. McKeown, and D.W. Beilman (2014) Modern influences on chironomid distribution in western Ireland: potential for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. Journal of Paleolimnology 52: 395-404.

R. Schott, I. Stuijts, S. McGinley, A.P. Potito (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.

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