Lewis Howell

Lewis Howell

BSc Physical Geography - Aberystwyth University 2017-2020 (First Class), MSc Environmental Change, Impact and Adaptation - Aberystwyth University (2020-2021) (Distinction), PhD Geography Science (2021-2024).

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Personal profile


I joined the department as a fresher in 2017 originally studying F800 Geography before changing to a purely Physical science focused scheme in early 2018. Having graduated in 2020 from Aberystwyth with a First Class honours in Physical Geography, my next natural step was a masters which I undertook in Environmental Change, Impact and Adaption between September 2020 and August 2021. 

I took a keen interest in environmental change during my first year of undergraduate and was interested in the role that humans played in the modification of their environments and how these impact the ecosystems humans inhabit. My interest in palaeoclimatic change and in general Quaternary Science was sparked in my 2nd year of undergraduate study where I undertook a module focusing on the pollen record of an upland site in West Wales that recorded environmental change from the Late Glacial Period through the Younger Dryas and into the early Holocene. This led to me undertaking my undergraduate thesis within the scope of palynology where I investigated environmental and climatic change on Anglesey from the beginning of the Younger Dryas (12,900 BP) to roughly 7,500 BP. The study revealed the occurrence and developed of thermophilous vegetation earlier than expected and seen at other sites in the region and suggested that during the Younger Dryas the area was impacted only by peri glacial processes. 

My masters thesis focused on investigating the human-environment relationship on Anglesey at Llyn Coron, a freshwater site on the southwest coast of the isle near an area of extensive parabolic dune activity. From this, it was determined that human societies flourished in the area from at least the early Bronze Age with the palynological sequence obtained suggesting widespread use of fire by early inhabitants to modify their landscape. The site was unique in its strong abundances of human indicator species such as Rumex and Plantago suggesting human settlers were proficient in their modification of their landscapes. 

My PhD thesis will investigate the role of stochastic climate events within the Holocene, specifically focusing on the Mesolithic to Iron Age and climate events such as the 8.2, 6.3,4.2 and 2.7 ka year events. Both the palaeoclimatic and palynological record will be analysed alongside a detailed archaeological record. Utilising a Bayesian chronology and the principles of the theories of Resilience and The Theory of Adaptive Change (TOC), a reconstruction of the human-environment relationship will emerge. 

Research interests

Quaternary Environmental Change, Palynology, Human-Environment relationships, Resilience Theory


Demonstrator - How to Build a Planet (GS11520)

Demonstrator - Researching the world (GS13020)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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