Prof Melanie Leng

Prof Melanie Leng

Science Director for the Stable Isotope Facility & Director of the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry

Location: Keyworth

Tel: 0115 936 3515

E-mail Prof Melanie Leng

ORCID: 0000000311155166


  • Science Director, Stable Isotope Facility (part of the NERC Isotope Geoscience Facilities)
  • Director of the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry (a collaboration between University of Nottingham and BGS)
  • Chair of Isotope Geosciences in the School of Geography, University of Nottingham from 2014
  • Hirsch Factor = 39 based on 6261 citations (web of knowledge) and 46 based on 8976 citations (Google scholar).

Current projects and collaboration

  • NERC Large Grant: Integrated understanding of the early Jurassic Earth system and Timescale (JET). Co-I with Prof Stephen Hesselbo (Exeter) and others.
  • NERC Standard Grant: A 500,000-year environmental record from Chew Bahir, south Ethiopia: testing hypotheses of climate-driven human evolution, innovation, and dispersal. Co-I with Dr Henry Lamb (Aberystwyth) and others.
  • NERC Standard Grant: Silicon isotope records of recent environmental change and anthropogenic pollution from Lake Baikal, Siberia. Co-I with Dr George Swann (Nottingham) and others.
  • Co-PI on the ICDP SCOPSCO project (Lake Ohrid drilling).
  • NERC Consortium Grant: The Mid-Palaeozoic Biotic Crisis - Setting the Trajectory of Tetrapod Evolution. Co-I with Dr Jenny Clack (Cambridge) and others.

Professional association

  • Journal guest editor for 6 special issues: Quaternary Science Reviews (2004), Earth Science Reviews (2006), Journal of Quaternary Science (2008), Quaternary Science Reviews (2013), Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (2014), Journal of Quaternaty Science (2016).
  • Member of the editorial board for the journal SILICON
  • Member of the editorial board for Quaternary Science Reviews
  • Associate Editor for Journal of Paleolimnology
  • Member of the Quaternary Research Association

Research interests

  • Deep time climate change research
  • Oxygen and silicon isotopes in biogenic silica
  • Palaeoclimate and climate change research
  • Palaeolimnology, speleothem research, oceanography
  • Stable isotope geochemistry, Palaeoclimate, Limnogeology, Climate Change

Boards and committees


  • Stable Isotope Geochemistry

Published outputs

Key papers

Bailey,H.L., Kaufman,D.S., Henderson, A.C.G., and Leng, M.J. 2015. Synoptic-scale circulation controls on the ╬┤18O in precipitation across Beringia. Geophysical Research Letters.

Cockerton, H.E., Strret-Perrott, A., Barker, P.A., Leng, M.J., Sloane, H.J., Ficken, K.J. 2015.Orbital forcing of glacial/interglacial variations in chemical weathering and silicon cycling within the upper White Nile basin, East Africa: Stable-isotope and biomarker evidence from Lakes Victoria and Edward. Quaternary Science Reviews, 130, 57-71.

Smith, A., Wynn, P., Barker, P., Leng, M., Noble, S., Tych, W. 2016. North Atlantic forcing of moisture delivery to Europe throughout the Holocene. Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/srep24745

Tibby, J., Barr, C., McInerney, F.A., Henderson, A.C.G., Leng, M.J., Greenway, M., Marshall, J.C., McGregor, G.B., Tyler, J.J., McNeil, V. 2016. Carbon isotope discrimination in leaves of the common paperbark tree, Melaleuca quinquenervia, as a tool for quantifying past tropical and subtropical rainfall. Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.13277.

Dean, J.R, Leng, M.J., Mackay, A.W. 2014. Is there an isotopic signature of the Anthropocene. Anthropocene Review, 1, 276-287.

Leng, M.J. and Lewis, J.P. 2014. Oxygen isotopes in Molluscan shell: applications in environmental archaeology. Environmental Archaeology.

Pike, J., Swann, G.A.E., Leng, M.J., Snelling, A. 2013. Glacial discharge along the west Antarctic Penninsula during the Holocene. Nature Geoscience, 6, 199-202.

Barker, P.A., Hurrell, E.R., Leng, M.J., Wolff, C., Cocqyut, C., Sloane, H.J., Verschuren, D. 2011. Seasonality in equatorial climate over the last 25 k.y. revealed by oxygen isotope records from Mount Kilimanjaro. Geology, 39, 1111-1114.

Chapligin, B., Leng, M.J., Webb, E., Alexandre, A., Dodd, J.P., Ijiri, A., Lucke, A., Shemesh, A., Abelmann, A., Herzschuh, U., Longstaffe, F.J., Meyer, H., Moschen, R., Okazaki, Y., Rees, N.H., Sharp, Z.D., Sloane, H.J., Sonzogni, C., Swann, G.E.A., Sylvestre, F., Tyler, J.J., Yam, R. 2011. Inter-laboratory comparison of oxygen isotope compositions from biogenic silica. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 75, 7242-7256.

Leng, M.J. and Sloane, H.J. 2008. Combined oxygen and silicon isotope analysis of biogenic silica. Journal of Quaternary Science, 23, 313-319.

Leng, M.J. and Barker, P.A. 2006. A review of the oxygen isotope composition of lacustrine diatom silica for palaeoclimate reconstruction. Earth Science Reviews, 75, 5-27.

Leng, M.J., Lamb A.L., Heaton T.H.E., Marshall J.D., Wolfe B.B., Jones M.D, Holmes J.A. and Arrowsmith C. 2005. Isotopes in lake sediments. In: Leng M. J. (ed.). Isotopes in Palaeoenvironmental Research. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. 148-176 pp.

Leng, M.J., Marshall, J. 2004. Palaeoclimate interpretation of stable isotope data from lake sediment archives. Quaternary Science Reviews, 23, 811-831.