skip to primary navigation skip to content

Dr Matthew Adeleye PhD

Assistant Professor in Physical Geography

Landscape and conservation paleoecology, island biogeography, and Quaternary environments



  • 2023-till date: Assistant Professor of Physical Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2021-2023: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Australian National University


  • PhD, Archaeology & Natural History (Paleoecology)-Australia
  • MSc, Biology (Forest ecology and Palaeoecology)-Canada
  • PMP-project management professional-Nigeria
  • BSc, Botany (Environment and paleobotany)-Nigeria


  • Isaac Newton Trust Research Grant 2024
  • Bob Anderson Award, Australian Systematic Botany Society, Australia-2021
  • Australian Government Research Training Program Award, Australia-2019
  • Kutzschan Graduate Scholarship in Forest Biology, Canada-2018
  • King-Platt Memorial Award, Canada-2018, 2016
  • Sinclair Farris Award, Canada-2018, 2016
  • The Lewis J. Clarke Memorial Fellowship, Canada-2017


My research focuses on the use of fossil proxies (e.g., pollen, charcoal, non-pollen palynomorphs) to understand long-term interactions between terrestrial ecosystems, climate and human land use over centuries to millennia, and how this deep-time knowledge can assist in addressing contemporary ecological/biodiversity issues. I am also interested in integrating Indigenous or local perspectives to paleoecological data in order to better understand past cultural interactions with ecosystems and to improve ecosystem management in the current anthropogenic world. I have worked on sites in Africa, Canada and Australia, and my current work is focused on Tasmania, southeast Australia.


  • Adeleye, M. A., Haberle, S. G., Gallagher, R., Andrew, S. and Herbert, A. (2023). Changing plant functional diversity over the last 12,000 years provides new perspective for the future. Nature Ecology & Evolution
  • Adeleye, M. A., Haberle, S. G., and Bowman, D. M. J. S. (2022). Ecosystem transformation following the mid-19th century cessation of Aboriginal fire management in Cape Pillar, Tasmania. Regional Environmental Change.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Connor, S. E., Haberle, S. G., and Adeonipekun, P. A. (2022). Long-term drivers and timing of accelerated vegetation changes in African biomes and their management implications. Global Ecology and Biogeography.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Connor, S. E., Haberle, S.G., and Adeonipekun, P. A. (2022). Using the knowledge of past ecosystem turnover to inform restoration efforts: A case study from Nigeria. PAGES Magazine.
  • Lacourse, T. and Adeleye, M. A. (2022). Climate and species traits drive changes in Holocene forest composition along an elevation gradient in Pacific Canada. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
  • Cassandra, R., Stevenson, J., Connor, S. E., and Adeleye, M. A. (2022). Fire and the transformation of landscapes. In: McNiven, I. J and David, B., The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Indigenous Australia and New Guinea (eds.). Oxford University Press. —Book chapter
  • Ibigbami, D., Adeonipekun, P. A., Oluseyi, T. and Adeleye, M. (2022). Aeroflora and pollinosis in selected areas of Lagos, Nigeria. Aerobiologia
  • Mariani, M., Connor, S. E., Theuerkauf, M., Herbert, A., Kuneš, P., Bowman, D., Fletcher, M. S., Head, L. Kershaw, A. P., Haberle, S. G., Stevenson, J., Adeleye, M. A., Cadd, H., Hopf, F., and Briles. C. (2022). Disruption of cultural burning promotes shrub encroachment and unprecedented wildfires. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Connor, S. E., Haberle, S. G., Herbert, A., and Brown, J. (2021). European colonization and the emergence of novel fire regimes in southeast Australia. The Anthropocene Review.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Haberle, S. G., McWethy, D., Connor, S. E., and Stevenson, J. (2021). Environmental change during the last glacial on an ancient land bridge of southeast Australia. Journal of Biogeography.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Haberle, S. G., Harris, S., Connor, S. E., and Stevenson, J. (2021). Assessing long-term ecological changes in wetlands of the Bass Strait islands, southeast Australia: palaeoecological insights and management implications. Wetlands 41: 88.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Connor, S. E., and Haberle, S. G. (2021). A quantitative synthesis of Holocene vegetation change in Nigeria (Western Africa). The Holocene.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Haberle, S. G., Connor, S. E., Stevenson, J., and Bowman, D. M. J. S. (2021). Indigenous Fire-Managed Landscapes in Southeast Australia during the Holocene—New Insights from the Furneaux Group Islands, Bass Strait. Fire 4:17.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Haberle, S., Harris, S., Hopf, F., Connor, S., and Stevenson, J. (2021). Holocene heathland development in temperate oceanic Southern Hemisphere: Key drivers in a global context. Journal of Biogeography.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Mariani, M., Connor, S., Haberle, S., Herbert, A., Hopf, F., and Stevenson, J. (2021). Long term drivers of vegetation turnover in Southern Hemisphere temperate ecosystems. Global Ecology and Biogeography 30 (2): 557-571.
  • Connor, S. E., van Leeuwen, J. F., (Pim) van der Knaap, W., Akindola, R. B., Adeleye, M. A., and Mariani, M. (2020). Pollen and plant diversity relationships in a Mediterranean montane area. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Hopf, F., and Haberle, S. G. (2020). Myrtaceae pollen morphology study from Bass Strait islands, Australia, is effective in separating region-specific fossil Myrtaceae pollen types. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 281: 104273.
  • ​Lacourse, T., Adeleye, M.A., and Stewart, J.R. (2019). Peatland formation, succession and carbon accumulation at a mid-elevation poor fen in Pacific Canada. The Holocene 29(11): 1694-1707.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Adebayo, M. B. and Adeonipekun, P. A. (2018). Palynological study of recent surface sediments from coastal area of Lagos, Nigeria. Ife Journal of Science 20 (1): 199-205.
  • Adeleye, M. A., Akinsoji, A. and Adeonipekun, P. A. (2017). A survey of vascular epiphytes of oil palms (Elaeisguineensis Jacq.) in Lekki conservation center, Lagos, Nigeria. FUW Trends in Science and Technology Journal 2(1): 74 -78.
  • Adebayo, M. B., Adeonipekun, P. A., Adeleye, M. A. and Kemabonta, K. A. (2017). Comparative palynology of Macrotermes sp. mounds and Vespula vulgaris nests on the University of Lagos campus, Akoka: preliminary study. Acta Palaeobotanica 57(2): 397-406.

External activities

Research affiliation: Australian National University, Canberra, Australia