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# PhD student Morgan Seag is working to improve diversity and inclusion in polar research.

(Image on slide from US Navy)

PhD student Morgan Seag is working to improve diversity and inclusion in polar research. She was one of several Cambridge geographers attending POLAR2018 last month, a conference of 2500 researchers, science supporters, and policymakers working on the Arctic, Antarctic and global cryosphere. The conference featured a 300-person luncheon and panel discussion on gender equality, titled "From Entering the Field to Taking the Helm, Women's Perspectives on Polar Research." Morgan sat on the panel of five alongside researchers and institutional leaders from several countries. Panelists explored the accomplishments, challenges, and prospects for women in the field, discussing the experience of women at all career stages and emphasizing the need for greater inclusion of LGBTQ+ researchers, indigenous women, and women of color. The discussion integrated both personal experiences and cutting-edge research to highlight productive paths toward a stronger and more inclusive future for polar research.

Morgan is continuing to work on these issues through her PhD research in the department; as a Council member for the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists; and through international research and policy collaborations.

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# Dr Richard Powell summoned as witness before Environmental Audit Committee

In July 2018, Dr Richard Powell appeared as a witness before the Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into the Changing Arctic, to provide expertise in UK Arctic social sciences and humanities and advise on formation of UK Arctic research and policy.

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# Collapse of civilizations worldwide defines youngest unit of the Geological Time Scale

The Late Holocene Meghalayan Age, newly-ratified as the most recent unit of the Geologic Time Scale, began at the time when agricultural societies around the world experienced an abrupt and critical mega-drought and cooling 4,200 years ago.

Agriculture-based societies developed in several regions after the end of the last glaciation, but experienced an abrupt and critical mega-drought and cooling around 4200 years ago. This 200-year climatic event affected agricultural societies that formed after the last Ice Age, forcing the collapse of civilizations and migrations and regenerations in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and the Yangtze River Valley. Evidence of this period, now called the 4.2 kiloyear climatic event, has been found on all seven continents.

The International Commission on Stratigraphy, which is responsible for standardising the Geological Time Scale, approved the definition of the beginning of the youngest unit of the Geological Time Scale based on the timing of this event. Furthermore, it approved proposals for two other ages: the Middle Holocene Northgrippian Age and the Early Holocene Greenlandian Age with beginnings defined at climatic events that happened about 8,300 years and 11,700 years ago, respectively. The three ages comprise the Holocene Epoch, which represents the time since the end of the last Ice Age. The Commission then forwarded these proposals to its parent body, the IUGS, for consideration, and the executive committee of IUGS voted unanimously to ratify them.

This is a key achievement for the International Union of Geological Sciences and particularly for its Commission on Stratigraphy, of which Professor Philip Gibbard of the University of Cambridge is Secretary General and participating member.

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# New paper: When defining boundaries for nexus analysis, let the data speak

A new paper on the water- energy-food nexus by PhD student Oliver Taherzadeh, Professor Keith Richards, and Dr Mike Bithell has been published by the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling.

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# Seminar: Tidal flat morphodynamics: Sediment sorting, self-weight consolidation and marsh distribution'

BIOGEOGRAPHY & BIOGEOMORPHOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP SUMMER SEMINAR

Thursday 19th July 11:00-12:00, Department of Geography Seminar Room, ALL WELCOME!

'Tidal flat morphodynamics: Sediment sorting, self-weight consolidation and marsh distribution'

Dr Zeng Zhou, Associate Professor in Coastal Geomorphology

Hohai University, Nanjing, China

Dr Zeng Zhou is a coastal geomorphologist focusing on the (bio-)physical mechanisms underlying the formation and evolution of coastal and estuarine landscapes. He is currently entering the field of coastal biomorphodynamics, with a particular focus on tidal flat systems where tidal channel networks and salt marshes are commonly present. Recently, he is leading a small group of young researchers and graduate students to explore some interesting questions using various approaches e.g. field and laboratory experiments, numerical modelling and UAV imagery. His group aims to gain fundamental insight into the biophysical effects of salt marshes (and biofilms) and their two-way interactions with coastal and estuarine morphology, so as to evaluate and predict the response of tidal flats, channels and marshes to climate change (e.g. sea level rise, increasing frequency of storms) and human activities (e.g. large-scale reclamation, nearshore fishery).

# How strong a storm destroys protective coastal marshes?

The new NERC-funded RESIST project, led by the Department's Iris Möller, will investigate resistance of coastal salt marshes to extreme storms. Salt marshes contribute to the wave buffering function of shallow water regions on the coast, thus acting as a first line of defence against storm surge waves. Their buffering role protects shorelines from the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise and stormier seas. However, little is known about how resistant these buffers are to continued battering by waves and tidal currents. The project will supply the first ever data on the resistance of marsh structures to waves, showing which soil and plant types cause greater or lesser stability. The team will be able use the data to create a "physical vulnerability index" of coastal wetlands.

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# The Changing Arctic?

Geographer Richard Powell will appear today, 11 July 2018, as a witness before the Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into the Changing Arctic. The inquiry is assessing the UK Government's Arctic policy, and examining whether the UK, as one of the Arctic's nearest neighbours, should be doing more to protect this vulnerable region. Richard will provide expertise in UK Arctic social sciences and humanities and advise on formation of UK Arctic research and policy.

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# Congratulations to Han Cheng on receiving the RGS-IBG Hong Kong Research Grant 2018

Congratulations to PhD student Han Cheng, who has been awarded the 2018 RGS-IBG Hong Kong Research Grant for PhD fieldwork for his project " Producing International Development Knowledges: China Agricultural University", looking at Chinese international development partnerships in Tanzania and India.

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# Papa Momodou Jack's research will focus on access to healthcare in Ethiopia.

Papa Momodou Jack, a Gates Cambridge Scholar who will start his PhD with the Department this October, discusses his research on access to healthcare in Ethiopia, which will focus on Community-Based Health Insurance.

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# Lessons learnt from 100 years of coastal flooding in the UK with Professor Ivan Haigh- Monday 25th June 2018

Biogeography and Biogeomorphology Research Group- Easter Term Seminar

Join Professor Haigh (Associate Professor in Coastal Oceanography, University of Southampton) for a seminar on "Lessons learnt from 100 years of coastal flooding in the UK".

Mon 25 June, 12 noon-1pm

Room 101, Hardy Building, Downing Site

Please see attached poster for further information.

ALL WELCOME

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