Department of Geography


Photo of Dr Mark Hardiman

Dr Mark Hardiman

  • Qualifications: BSc, MSc, PhD
  • Role Title: Senior Lecturer
  • Address: Buckingham Building Lion Terrace Portsmouth PO1 3HE
  • Telephone: 023 9284 2492
  • Email:
  • Department: Geography
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science


I am a Physical Geographer whose research focuses on the investigation and reconstruction of past environments with particular emphasis on understanding abrupt climate change and Earth system response.

Between 2008-2012 I completed a PhD which formed a part of the NERC funded research consortium project RESET (REsponse of Humans to Abrupt Environmental Transitions). One of the central aims of RESET was to construct an improved chronological framework for Southern Europe and the Mediterranean using the novel approach of distal volcanic ash layers. My PhD research focused on assessing the potential of distal tephrochronology in the Mediterranean from long terrestrial palaeo-records spanning the last glacial period (c.20-50 ka BP). Besides my PhD research I also have an interest in utilising macroscopic charcoal as a proxy for reconstructing past fire histories.

In 2013 I joined the University of Portsmouth as a Lecturer in Physical Geography.

Teaching Responsibilities

I deliver Physical Geography components of the undergraduate teaching in the department. I am the co-ordinator of the following units:

Foundations of Physical Geography
Independent Study

I also contribute to the following co-taught units:

  • Geography, Skills and Prospects
  • Applied Physical Geography
  • Population, Resources and the Environment
  • Research Design and Practise
  • Environmental And Climate Change: Theory
  • Environmental And Climate Change: Practice
  • Quaternary Climates and Landscapes

I also teach on a Residential Field class to Ireland with a focus on Past Environmental Change.


I am a Physical Geographer with two research specialisms both within the field of Quaternary Science:

1) Geochronology – The key focus of my research is to augment the tephrostratigraphic framework of southern Europe during the Last Glacial Period and to test the synchronicity (or phasing) of the rapid environmental shifts which occurred during this timeframe. I also have a interest in using tephrochronology to test pre-existing age-depth models. I have expertise in detection of cryptotephra layers in sediment sequences, geochemical analysis and correlation of volcanic glass and the use of Bayesian statistics in integrating chronological datasets.

2) Wildfire in the Quaternary – My research assesses wildfires potential role in, and response to, rapid geomorphic and environmental events via charcoal analysis in both complex sediment sequences and high resolution palaeoenvironmental records. I have expertise in quantification, extraction and identification of charcoal fragments (both via optical microscopy and SEM).

Media coverage:

  • Study of California’s Channel Islands Hints at Early Human Use of Fire. Arizona Public Radio [23/06/16]
  • A fiery world aids the peopling of America. Homeland Security News Wire [24/05/16]
  • Neanderthals Didn’t Bite the Volcanic Dust. By Michael Balter. Science online news [23/07/12]
  • Mammoth-Killer Impact Rejected. By Richard A. Kerr. Science online news [30/08/10]
  • Signs of asteroid impact turn out to be fungus. By Tom Marshall. NERC PlanetEarth [14/07/10]
  • Fungi, Feces Show Comet Didn't Kill Ice Age Mammals? By John Roach. National Geographic online news [22/06/10]
  • Ash-free Spain could be emergency flight hub, p.14. The Times. [07/05/10]



Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

View profile