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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Staff and Governance

Core Staff

The day-to-day running of IMEMS is the responsibility of the Core Executive Committee, comprising the Director and Associate Directors and the Administrator. 

Publication details for Prof. James Baldini

Brett, M.J., Baldini, J.U.L. & Gröcke, D.R. (2014). Environmental controls on stable isotope ratios in New Zealand Podocarpaceae: implications for palaeoclimate reconstruction. Global and Planetary Change 120: 38-45.

Author(s) from Durham


Stable isotope ratios of various proxies are widely used for palaeoclimate reconstruction, and it is often assumed that isotope ratios reflect vegetation abundance or type. However, very little research exists on the isotopic equilibration of extant biomes under variable environmental conditions. In this study, carbon and oxygen isotope ratios from leaves of various Podocarpaceae genera, endemic to New Zealand, are linked to environmental parameters from the Land Environments New Zealand model. The dominant influence on stable isotope ratios within the majority of Podocarpaceae studied here is vapour pressure deficit (VPD). A simple latitudinal trend does not exist, and neither temperature nor rainfall (decoupled from VPD) controls the stable isotope ratios. The results suggest that modern spatial heterogeneity in VPD affects the stable isotope values of vegetation, and that historic VPD variability would change the stable isotope ratios of Podocarpaceae without necessitating a change in vegetation type, density, or productivity. This represents an alternative model for temporal isotope change within geochemical proxies and reinforces the need for increased stable isotopic research in modern plant ecosystems to better understand modern, and eventually palaeoclimatic processes affecting the terrestrial biosphere.

Full Executive Committee

Our Full Executive Committee is made up of the Core Executive Committee, listed above, plus a number of executive members including:

International Advisory Board

We are extremely fortunate to have be able to call on the help and guidance of colleagues from around the world who help to shape and guide our direction, strategy and international reach. Our current Advisory Board members are: