Prof Melanie Leng

Prof Melanie Leng

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

Location: BGS Keyworth

Tel: 0115 936 3515

E-mail Prof Melanie Leng

ORCID: 0000000311155166

Published outputs


  • 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 = 53 based on 11,323 citations Google scholar).

Boards and committees

Current projects and collaboration

  • NERC Large Grant: Integrated understanding of the early Jurassic Earth system and Timescale (JET) with Exeter, Oxford, Leeds et al.
  • NERC Standard Grant: Climate change in equatorial Africa: testing the megadrought hypothesis and its implications for human evolution (DeepCHALLA-UK)with Lancaster, Cambridge, Belfact, SUERC
  • Newton Fund RCUK-Partnerships Call: Assessing human impacts on the Red River system, Vietnam, to enable sustainable management with University of Nottingham
  • NERC Standard Grant: A 500,000-year environmental record from Chew Bahir, south Ethiopia: testing hypotheses of climate-driven human evolution, innovation, and dispersal with Aberystwyth et al.
  • NERC Standard Grant: Silicon isotope records of recent environmental change and anthropogenic pollution from Lake Baikal, Siberia with Nottingham et al.
  • Co-PI on the ICDP SCOPSCO project (Lake Ohrid drilling).
  • NERC Consortium Grant: The Mid-Palaeozoic Biotic Crisis - Setting the Trajectory of Tetrapod Evolution with Cambridge, Leicester et al.

Professional association

  • Editorial Board: Quaternary Research
  • 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).
  • Editorial Board: SILICON
  • Associate Editor: Quaternary Science Reviews
  • Associate Editor: Journal of Paleolimnology
  • Member of the Quaternary Research Association

Research interests

  • Stable isotope geochemistry, palaeoclimate, limnogeology, climate change, hydrology, isotope tracers, archaeology


  • Stable Isotope Geochemistry

Key papers

Bailey,H.L., Kaufman,D.S., Henderson, A.C.G., and Leng, M.J. 2015. Synoptic-scale circulation controls on the δ18O 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.