August 28, 2019, by lzzeb

INQUA 2019 conference in Dublin

A blog by Professor Sarah Metcalfe

At the end of July, the School was well represented at the INQUA (International Quaternary Association) conference in Dublin.  Held once every four years, INQUA is the largest, global gathering of researchers working on all aspects of the Quaternary period – the last 2.8 million years.  This year’s meeting was attended by around 2,500 people, all in the Conference Centre Dublin on the banks of the Liffey and in an area that was formerly the Dublin docks (main image).

The old docks have undergone major regeneration and the area is now a major finance centre, with a range of restaurants and bars (always good for conference goers). Ten Geography staff, researchers and research students from both the UK and China campuses attended INQUA (Charlotte Briddon, Ping Fu, Laura Hunt, Tengwen Long, Michela Mariani, Suzanne McGowan, Sarah Metcalfe, Andrea Snelling, George Swann, Linghan Zeng).

The conference ran for 7 days, with a day off to recover on the Sunday allowing everyone to explore Dublin, including the renowned National Botanic Gardens ( and the local coast. The wide ranging programme ran in multiple parallel sessions. Geographers presented in sessions including:

– Are North Atlantic ‘Heinrich Stadials’ cooling or warming events…or both?

– Continuous records of tropical climate and environmental history

– Reconstructing Holocene cultural landscapes in Australia using pollen-based models

– Stable isotopes in palaeoenvironmental reconstructions: understanding climate change and nutrient cycling

– Terrestrial hydroclimate variability

– Humans and the Biosphere

Participants with posters and giving talks

If running around between sessions (or even staying put in one session) proved too much, then there were plenty of spaces to sit, work and catch up with colleagues to discuss future fieldtrips and research plans.

Colleagues utilising their time efficiently


The main conference

Towards the end of the meeting a special presentation was made to John Lowe and Mike Walker, authors of ‘Reconstructing Quaternary Environments’, a must-have text book for generations of students – and still going strong!

As the conference concluded, Rome was announced as the venue for the next INQUA conference in 2023. Whilst the research presented in Dublin by Nottingham staff stretched from China and Malaysia to Mexico and Greenland (via a quick dip into North Pacific Ocean), all roads now lead to Rome as we embark on the next four years of research.

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