Department of Geography
Visualising future landscapes; Portsmouth in the year 3000
Dr Mark Hardiman recently took part in the Portsmouth Café Scientifique series, where members of the public get to discuss issues with working scientists. Mark considered how the climate and landscape of Portsmouth will change over the next 1000 years, and put these changes into context by considering how this area has changed in the recent geological past. In particular the discussion considered how global policy decisions surrounding reducing greenhouse emissions taken over the last few decades will have far reaching consequences, indeed potentially the survival or submergence of Portsea Island by AD 3000.
This month, geography students who participated 2017's Cold Climates field trip to New Hampshire (USA) and/or 2016's European Fieldclass trip to Arctic Lapland (Finland) converged at Albert Road's Balti House for a reunion before completing their degrees this summer. Supervising staff were invited to the join the students as a token of their appreciation.
Find out more about the department's field trips
From left to right: Meghan Tomlinson, Apichol Thapthimthong, James Spackman, Dr Nick Pepin, Martin Schaefer, Dr Tara Woodyer, Spencer Read, Tom Singleton, Richard Hargreaves, Emma Gale, Dr Mark Hardiman, Sharon Jakobek, Tom Gardner.
Royal Geographical Society funding award
Linley Hastewell was successful in securing funding of £500 from the Royal Geographical Society’s Dudley Stamp Memorial Award.
The funds were awarded for PhD research into the impacts of contemporary storm activities on the transport of boulders at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. Existing research into boulder mobility focuses on dynamic coastlines subjected to considerable wave activity, such as the North Atlantic. Despite exhibiting distinct boulder assemblages indicative of storm events, to date, there is no research relating to coastal areas subjected to low to moderate wave activity such as that within the Solent.
The research aims to monitor and quantify the mobility of large boulders, some weighing in excess of five tonnes using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. This is effectively a miniaturized version of the anti-theft tags used in the retail industry to prevent theft. Whilst this technology has been used previously to observe sediment transport the tags haven't been used in boulders of this size before. Over 100 RFID tags have been embedded into boulders across two research sites. Each tag has a GPS coordinate recorded at the commencement of the study. Subsequent surveys relocate the tagged boulders after storm events and a further GPS coordinate is recorded. Over time this creates a transport pathway for those mobile boulders indicating the direction and degree to which transport has occurred.
Storm wave conditions within the Solent have the ability to mobilise large boulders weighing over 5 tonnes. This image highlights storm activity following Storm Katie in March 2016. Previous boulder location is highlighted by the yellow circle; the arrow denotes the direction of transport.
Researcher presents to University of Malta students and academics
On a recent field work visit to Malta, Linley Hastewell was fortunate to get the opportunity to present his research to a group of Geography students and academics from the University of Malta. Linley's research focuses on the response of rocky coasts to the impacts of contemporary storm events, particularly the ability of storms, and the subsequent wave activity to transport large boulders.
The Geography department in Malta are also engaged in similar research on the effect of extreme wave events in the Mediterranean. So, there was much reciprocated interest in the respective areas of research.
Linley commented, "It was a really worthwhile experience being able to communicate my research to a broader audience. It also provided a fantastic opportunity to discuss the potential for collaboration in the future. There is certainly interest on both sides and we may look to seek joint funding to facilitate further research in the years ahead."
Portsmouth Geographers at annual Royal Geographical Society Postgraduate Forum Mid-Term Conference
Wednesday 19th April marked the beginning of the annual Royal Geographical Society Postgraduate Forum Mid-Term Conference held at Cardiff University, attended by a number of our MRes and PhD students. The conference was spread over two and a half days, beginning with a keynote talk by self-titled guerrilla geographer, Daniel Raven-Ellison, on his campaign to make London the world’s first National Park City.
The next two days gave postgraduate students from all realms of geography the opportunity to present their papers with topics as far ranging as migration and citizenship, resistance, riot and action and valuing nature and environment. Our own Cornelia van Diepen presented a paper entitled “Understanding health risk co-behaviours through Twitter”. As well as paper sessions the conference offered the opportunity for research group networking events, specialist workshops and poster presentations. Portsmouth’s Stuart Dick and Katherine Brailsford both presented posters on their current postgraduate research.
Overall the conference provided the opportunity for networking and discovery regarding the depth and scale of research within our discipline. Roll on next year!
Understanding why Volcanoes erupt - new research on Santorini Volcano, Greece
Santorini is often described as one of the most dangerous volcanos in Europe, and indeed a catastrophic eruption there during the Late Bronze Age (1627-1600 BC) is thought to have directly contributed to the downfall of the Minoan civilisation. While Santorini is a well-studied volcano there is still much uncertainty surrounding the timing of past eruptions, of which many have occurred during the recent geological past. These gaps in our knowledge limit our ability to understand what may control these most dangerous, but awe-inspiring of natural phenomena over longer timeframes.
A new project led by Dr Chris Satow of Kingston University (funded 'in-kind' by the Natural Environment Research Council, £54,000 value) aims to answer some of these questions. The project involves a large collaboration of international researchers including Dr Mark Hardiman of the Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth. During March 2017 Mark and Chris both visited Santorini volcano in order to sample the volcanic rocks, detailed geochemical analyses of these will now be undertaken.
Dr Mark Hardiman also recently jointly coordinated the ‘The European Night of Volcanoes’ outreach event with Dr Carmen Solana from the SEES Department. This was the University of Portsmouth contribution to a series of events that ran across Europe.
Five Maps that will change how you see the world
Professor Donald Houston, Head of the Department of Geography, has written an article for academic website, The Conversation. The article is about how different displays of the world map can change our perspective of different parts of the world. Five different projections are discussed in the article, including pros and cons of using each with the conclusion that neither is more correct than the other, that we need to see the world from different perspectives.
See the article on The Conversation.