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Ms Tatiana Bebchuk

PhD student

Which climate story does yew tell us: the potential of Taxus baccata to reconstruct environmental changes of South-Eastern England in Middle Holocene.



  • 2021-present PhD student (probationary), Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 2018-2019, 2021-pres. Research assistant in a Tree ring laboratory at the Institute of Geography of Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.
  • 2021 Internship at the Laboratory of tree rings structure, V.N.Sukachev Institute of Forest SB RAS, Krasnoyarsk.
  • 2017 Cartographer at the Institute of Environmental Surveys, Moscow.


  • 2019-2020 MPhil in Polar Studies, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, UK. Thesis title: Multiscale approach to estimating forest biomass, the Sakha Republic, Russia.
  • 2015 – 2019 BSc. in Cartography and Geoinformatics, Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia.
  • Diploma (2019) title: Three-dimensional modelling of northern forests, case study of the central Kola Peninsula, Russia
  • Thesis (2018) title: Research of natural factors influencing the position of the upper forest boundary in the Khibiny Mountains, Russia.


  • 2021-2024 Hill Foundation, Cambridge Trust
  • 2020 NERC, University of Southampton
  • 2019-2020 Cambridge Trust Scholarship
  • 2019-2020 Cambridge Scott Polar Research Institute award
  • 2019-2020 Cambridge Trinity College Bursary Scholarship


Broadly, my PhD project reconstructs environmental and climate conditions in the past at high resolution using plant rings. While last centuries are spanned with data from living trees, far past can be reconstructed with using sub-fossil wood. This material is rarely found because it requires both high decay resistance of species and specific conditions preserving wood.

South-Eastern England is one of unique areas containing sub-fossil trees that are currently excavated from soil. Although plenty of yew trees are exhumed, there is no record of native yew tree growing in the region nowadays. This suggests that the conditions of coastal regions in Middle Holocene differed significantly from what we observe today.

In my PhD, I aim to build a Taxus baccata chronology that will explain environmental changes in Middle Holocene, according to climate response in relic yew tree rings, and investigate what caused Taxus baccata to seemingly, suddenly decline at 4000 years BP.

To conclude, my PhD research will contribute to:

  1. reconstructing palaeo-environmental conditions in South-Eastern England, including triggers for yew decline and conservation conditions;
  2. reconstructing palaeo conditions in the coastal area of North-Western Europe;
  3. expanding dataset of mid-Holocene natural proxies;
  4. establishing yew as a viable dendroclimatological proxy;
  5. establishing theories on the Relationship between stem morphology and ring-width patterns;
  6. formulating measures to Taxus baccata conservation in coastal regions.


  • (2020) Multiscale approach to estimating forest biomass, the Sakha Republic, Russia. doi:10.17863/CAM.59050
    (Master thesis at the University of Cambridge)
  • (2020) Application of ground measurements of forest characteristics for accuracy estimation of growing stock volume maps based on MODIS products. doi:10.21046/18DZZconf-2020a
    (Joint with V. Zharko, S. Bartalev, O. Tutubalina, G. Rees. Abstract of the XVIII All-Russian Open Conference “Modern problems of the remote sensing of the Earth”, Moscow, November 2020., in Russian)
  • (2018) Research of natural factor influencing the position of the upper forest line in the Khibiny Mountains. doi:10.21046/2070-16DZZconf-2018a
    (Joint with O. Tutubalina. Abstract of the XVI All-Russian Open Conference “Modern problems of the remote sensing of the Earth”, Moscow, November 2018., in Russian)


Individual supervising History of Art, Math, English language, Physical Geography.