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Department of Biology and
Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research
University of Bergen, Thormøhlens gate 53A, N-5006 Bergen, Norway

I retired from my University of Bergen position at the end of January 2015. As a Professor Emeritus, I hope to continue my research activities for several years.

Research interests and botanical activities:

My research interests and botanical activities fall into four main categories.

Quaternary pollen analysis, vegetational history, quantitative palaeoecology, and palaeolimnology
Late-Quaternary vegetational and environmental history of Norway, Scotland, northern England, Russia, and Tibet. Active collaborators in this research include Heikki Seppä (Helsinki), Jacqueline van Leeuwen (Bern), Kathy Willis (Oxford), Ulrike Herzschuh (Potsdam), LaDuo (Lhasa), Hilary Birks (Bergen), and Alistair Seddon and Florian Muthreich (Bergen: PARASOL and POLLCHEM projects).

Theory of quantitative palaeoecology, palynological theory and practical techniques, quantitative reconstruction of past environments from palaeoecological data, numerical methods for the handling and analysis of Quaternary biostratigraphical data and of modern surface samples, the use of randomisation procedures for testing palaeoecological hypothesis, estimating realised niches for northern European trees at different times in the Holocene (NoAClim project), and studying long interglacial sequences as 'natural experiments' in ecological and biodiversity dynamics (IGNEX and IGNEX-eco projects). Active collaborators include Richard Telford, Vivian Felde, Blas Benito, Joe Chipperfield, Alistair Seddon (Bergen), Henry Hoogheimstra (Amsterdam), Cajo ter Braak (Wageningen), Ulrike Herzschuh (Potsdam), Steve Juggins (Newcastle), Chronis Tzedakis and Anson Mackay (London), Donatella Magri (Rome), Paul Valdes (Bristol), Gavin Simpson (Regina),and Jack Williams (Madison).

Ecological palaeoecology and conservation palaeoecology, where palaeoecological data are used to provide long-term perspectives to ecological and conservation biological questions. Active collaborators are Kathy Willis (Oxford), Alistair Seddon (Bergen), and Des Thompson (Edinburgh).

Community plant ecology
Phytosociology and vegetational dynamics in Scotland and western Norway, community-environmental relationships, and the use of quantitative methods in community ecology, environmental monitoring, conservation evaluation, and biodiversity research. Active collaborators include Des Thompson (Edinburgh) and John-Arvid Grytnes (Bergen).

Impacts of recent climate change on ecological systems, particularly alpine systems. Collaborators include Des Thompson (Edinburgh), Gordon Rothero (Dunoon), David Long (Edinburgh), Dave Genney (Inverness), and John-Arvid Grytnes (Bergen).

Bryology is now largely a hobby but I still retain some research interests in the ecology and distribution of western oceanic bryophytes in the British Isles and western Norway, and in the bryophyte flora of the Isle of Skye.

In addition to these research activities and interests, I maintain broad general botanical interests in floristics, plant ecology, and plant geography beyond the geographical areas of my particular research activities. In conjunction with Hilary Birks, I have field experience in the Austrian, Italian, Swiss, and Slovenian Alps, Cyprus, Greece, Crete, Mallorca, Portugal, Corsica, Pyrenees, Andalucia (Spain), Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria), the South African Cape, the Drakensberg Mountains in Southern Africa, the Bale Mountains in Ethiopia, Mount Kenya, Turkey, Iran, the Russian Caucasus, the mountains of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Tien Shan and Altai (Kazakhstan), China, NW India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tasmania, SE Australia, Tibet, South Island, New Zealand, Minnesota, Florida, Alaska and Yukon, the Canadian and American Rockies, the Cascade Mountains of Washington and Oregon, Northern California, southern Peru, Chile, and Patagonia. I have particular interests in certain plant genera including Saxifraga, Pedicularis, Draba, Penstemon, Woodsia, Trichomanes, and Carex. Hilary and I maintain an extensive collection of plant photographs of over 40,000 colour slides and several thousand digital images of plant portraits and close-ups, and a collection of over 20,000 colour slides and many thousand digital images of mountain landscapes and vegetational communities. Alpine plants are a particular interest and I have led botanical expeditions for the Alpine Garden Society to North America, South America, and the Himalaya. Examples of some of our photographs can be found on this website under Botanical Expeditions.

Other affiliations:
Besides being based in Bergen, I regularly visit the Environmental Change Research Centre, University College London (director Jonathan Holmes) where I am an Honorary Fellow and Emeritus Visiting Professor.

Other personal activities:
I serve on the editorial boards of Journal of Paleolimnology; Acta Palaeobotanica; Plant Ecology and Diversity; Frontiers in Paleoecology; and The Anthropocene Review. I am a member of the Advisory Board for the Development of Palaeoenvironmental Research series published by Springer, and of the Editorial Board of the Ecology, Biodiversity and Conservation series published by Cambridge University Press.

Lecturing and teaching:
I give occasional lectures in a seminar series in Bergen on Pioneering Polymaths in Ecology, Biogeography, and Palaeoecology and invited lectures is a graduate student course on Palaeoecology.

I currently supervise two post-doctoral fellows in Bergen.

Other interests:
Besides field botany plant photography, and natural-history books, my main leisure activities are collecting and reading books on espionage, conspiracies, politics, and related topics, listening to baroque and early classical music, particularly in historically informed performances (HIP), maintaining massive collections of CDs and books, and stamp collecting.

Details of my recent publications are given on the EECRG web page with links to electronic versions where permissable. A full list of my publications since the 1960s can be found here as a pdf.