Dr Marcus Badger

Dr Marcus Badger

Image of Marcus Badger

Visiting Senior Research Associate

  • Background
  • Research
  • Publications
  • Background

    In March 2016 I started a Lectureship at the Open University. Up-to-date details can be found on The Open University website.

    I graduated from Jesus College, University of Oxford with an MEarthSci (Hons) in Earth Sciences in 2005. For my final year research project, I investigated the prospects of developing a sea surface temperature proxy using stable strontium isotopes in coccolithophores calcite analysed by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS). The project was supervised by Dr Ros Rickaby.

    In 2005 I moved to the school of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University to conduct my doctoral research into middle Miocene climate dynamics, supervised by Dr Carrie Lear (Cardiff) and Prof Rich Pancost (Bristol). Using coupled organic and inorganic climate proxies, I constructed high resolution records of atmospheric pCO2 (alkenone and boron isotopes) and sea surface temperatures (foraminifera Mg/Ca and alkenone unsaturation indices). These proxy records, coupled with carbon system models and carbonate stable isotopes, allowed me insight into carbon cycle dynamics at a critical interval of major ice sheet growth in Antarctica. My PhD was awarded in 2010.

    Following my PhD I moved to the Organic Geochemistry Unit in the School of Chemistry to work with Prof. Rich Pancost as a postdoc. I've worked on a number of grants with Rich, developing records climate and environmental change at various times through the Cenozoic.

    In October 2011 I moved to the department of Earth Sciences for a stint as a lecturer, before returning to the OGU to take up a post as a Senior Research Associate in March 2013. My current research is into terrestrial methane cycling during Paleogene greenhouse climates, which involves collaborative work using the Unified Model with colleagues from Geography (Paul Valdes) and Reading University (Joy Singarayer) along with organic geochemical approaches.

    I took a short break from the OGU in autumn 2013 to participate in the TROPICS research expedition aboard the RRS James Cook. Details of the expedition can be found here:  http://tropics.blogs.ilrt.org/.


    I study ancient climates using molecular fossils. When an organism dies, often components of the organic remains are preserved in sediments. By analysing molecules characteristic of particular organisms or environmental conditions (“biomarkers”) we can reconstruct ancient environmental parameters. My research primarily uses organic geochemical proxies analysed by GC, GC-MS, LC-MS and GC-C-IRMS to reconstruct sea surface temperatures (TEX86 and UK'37) and atmospheric pCO2 (alkeone δ13C) along with other key indicators of past climates. I believe in a multi-proxy approach and so also utilise more ‘traditional’ inorganic proxies, based on the skeletal remains, such as planktonic foraminiferal Mg/Ca, δ13C and δ18O. My research focuses on key periods in the Cenozoic (the last 65 million years) including the middle Miocene Climate Transition (when large ice sheets first appeared on East Antarctica), the warm Pliocene (one of the best partial analogues for future anthropogenic warmth and the PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum). My current research focus is on using a three dimensional coupled model approach to investigate terrestrial methane cycling during Paleogene greenhouse climates, which will be combined with organic geochemical investigations of methane production using a global suite of lignites.


    For an up-to-date list of my publications, please see my Google Scholar profile or ORCID ID.

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