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Amy McGuire

Amy McGuire

PhD Candidate

Amy is a physical geographer, interested in the environmental impacts of abrupt changes in past climate.


As a Quaternary researcher I study past changes in climate and environment. More specifically, I am interested in how ecosystems responded to rapid changes in climate, and the variation in these responses both in time and space.


  • 2014-2015: MSc Geographical Science, University of Manchester (Distinction)
    Dissertation: The potential of cryptotephra as a geochronological tool in Lukenya Hill cave and Panga ya Saidi rockshelter, east Africa.
  • 2010-2014: BSc Geography with International Study, University of Manchester (First Class)
    Dissertation: Reconstructing Environmental Change in Salt Marshes at Kouchibouguac, NB, and Covehead Bay, PEI.


  • Lab and Fieldwork Committee, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (PhD Representative; 2016-Present)
  • Climate and Environmental Dynamics Research Group, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (Co-convenor; 2017-Present)
  • Postgraduate Forum, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (Co-convenor; 2017-Present)


Resolving abrupt palaeoenvironmental changes in a lake sediment sequence from Ioannina, northwest Greece

Supervisor: Professor Christine Lane

The Quaternary period, the last 2.58 million years of the Earth's history, is marked by a number of shifts in climate on a range of temporal and spatial scales. Some, such as glacial-interglacial cycles, occur over tens of thousands of years and are marked by dramatic variations in global ice volume. Others, such as Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles, demonstrate abrupt changes on far shorter, often sub-millennial time scales. My PhD will focus on the latter, particularly their impact on terrestrial ecosystems in the Eastern Mediterranean.

To do this I am undertaking a centennial-scale study of the pollen record contained within lake sediments from Ioannina, North West Greece. This vegetation record will be supplemented through the study of both visible and 'crypto' tephra (volcanic ash), which will allow precise dating of the record. Tephra horizons will also allow the vegetation record at Ioannina to be precisely correlated with other key archives of environmental change both in the Mediterranean region and further afield, allowing a consideration of temporal and spatial variation in ecological response.


Geographical Tripos

  • Part IA: Physical Geography - Life on Earth (Supervisor; 2017, 2018)
  • Part IA: Physical Geography - Environmental Change during the Quaternary (Supervisor; 2017, 2018)
  • Part IA: Geographical Skills and Methods (Demonstrator; 2016-2018)
  • Part IB: Quaternary Climates and Environments (Demonstrator; 2017, Supervisor; 2017, 2018)

External activities


  • Quaternary Research Association (QRA)
  • INTegration of Ice-core, MArine, and TErrestrial records (INTIMATE) palaeoclimate network
  • Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG)
  • British Ecological Society (BES)


  • Sutton Trust Summer School (Co-convenor, Geography; 2017)
  • Experience Cambridge (Co-convenor, Geography; 2017)
  • Cambridge Science Festival (Volunteer; 2017)
  • Pint of Science (Co-convenor, Planet Earth Theme; 2017)