Biography

My research interests lie in the application of natural stable isotope chemistry to environmental and palaeoclimate studies. I am also very active in instrument design, developing new, high sensitivity isotope ratio mass spectrometers (IRMS)in order to analyse small samples with a high degree of precision, measure 'isotopic clusters', noble gas isotope ratios and the natural variation of oxygen in the atmosphere.

In my laboratory we use stable isotope geochemistry to help us understand aspects of past and present climate and environment change. The isotopic composition of fossil rainwater trapped in stalactites and stalagmites collected from caves helps us to unravel details of the climate in western Europe over the past 11,000 years. An analysis of magnetic dust and the isotopic composition of tiny marine creatures known as foraminifera in deep sea marine cores gives us clues to the processes that occur at the end of an ice age 130 thousand years ago when the climate changed rapidly from a cold glacial to a warm interglacial world. Even further back in geological time, some 65 million years ago, the dinosaurs became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period. There is speculation as to the cause of the extinction: meteorite impact or volcanic activity with the huge eruption of the Deccan Traps in India. An analysis of dinosaur egg shells, collected from sediments that intermingle with the Deccan Trap volcanic lavas has helped us to understand the climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at the time the dinosaurs became extinct.

Currently I am working on new isotope techniques for measuring palaeotemperatures using isotopic clusters or isotopologues and developing a high sensitivity noble gas mass spectrometer for in-situ cosmogenic isotope studies (tritium and neon)as a dating tool for groundwaters and landscape evolution studies.

 

PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences.   However, feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

 

All Publications

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Wexler, S., Hiscock, K., Dennis, P.

(2012)

Microbial and hydrological influences on nitrate isotopic composition in an agricultural lowland catchment

in Journal of Hydrology

468-469.

pp. 85-93

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Butcher, G., Kendall, A., Boyce, A., Millar, I., Andrews, J., Dennis, P.

(2012)

Age determination of the Lower Watrous red-beds of the Williston Basin, Saskatchewan, Canada

in Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology

60.

pp. 227-238

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Hiscock, K., George, M., Dennis, P.

(2011)

Stable isotope evidence for the hydrogeological characteristics of clay-rich till in northern East Anglia

in Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology

44.

pp. 173-189

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Hiscock, K., Iqbal, T., Feast, N., Dennis, P.

(2011)

Isotope and reactive transport modelling of denitrification in the Lincolnshire Limestone aquifer, eastern England

in Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology

44.

pp. 93-108

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Wexler, S., Hiscock, K., Dennis, P.

(2011)

Catchment-scale quantification of hyporheic denitrification using an isotopic and solute flux approach

in Environmental Science & Technology

45.

pp. 3967-3973

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Brasier, A., Andrews, J., Marca-Bell, A., Dennis, P.

(2010)

Depositional continuity of seasonally laminated tufas: Implications for sigma 18O based palaeotemperatures

in Global and Planetary Change

71.

pp. 160-167

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Thomas, E., Dennis, P., Bracegirdle, T., Franzke, C.

(2009)

Ice core evidence for significant 100-year regional warming on the Antarctic Peninsula

in Geophysical Research Letters

36.

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Woolhouse, G., Andrews, J., Marca-Bell, A., Dennis, P.

(2009)

Geochemical constraints on the origin of enigmatic cemented chalks, Norfolk, UK

in Geological Magazine

146.

pp. 291-299

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Brasier, A., Andrews, J., Marca-Bell, A., Dennis, P.

(2008)

Isotopic records obtained from seasonally banded tufas of Central Greece

(Other)


Fuller, L., Baker, A., Fairchild, I., Spotl, C., Marca-Bell, A., Rowe, P., Dennis, P.

(2008)

Isotope hydrology of dripwaters in a Scottish cave and implications for stalagmite palaeoclimate research

in Hydrology and Earth System Sciences

12.

pp. 1065-1074

UEA Repository

(Article)


Fuller, L., Baker, A., Fairchild, I., Spotl, C., Marca-Bell, A., Rowe, P., Dennis, P.

(2008)

Isotope hydrology of dripwaters in a Scottish cave and implications for stalagmite palaeoclimate research

in Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions

5.

pp. 547-577

UEA Repository

(Article)


Harwood, A., Dennis, P., Marca, A., Pilling, G., Millner, R.

(2008)

The oxygen isotope composition of water masses within the North Sea

in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

78.

pp. 353-359

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Mani, F., Dennis, P., Sturges, W., Mulvaney, R., Leuenberger, M.

(2008)

An improved method for delta15N measurements in ice cores

in Climate of the Past Discussions

4.

pp. 149-171

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Mason, J., Rowe, P., Andrews, J., Kendall, A., Dennis, P.

(2008)

A continuous oxygen and carbon isotopic record from 6-80 ka in a speleothem from NE Turkey

(Other)


Ingram, R., Hiscock, K., Dennis, P.

(2007)

Noble gas excess air applied to distinguish groundwater recharge conditions

in Environmental Science and Technology

41.

pp. 1949-1955

UEA Repository

(Article)


Pentecost, A., Andrews, J., Dennis, P., Marca-Bell, A., Dennis, S.

(2006)

Charophyte growth in small temperate water bodies: Extreme isotopic disequilibrium and implications for the palaeoecology of shallow marl lakes

in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

240.

pp. 389-404

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Andrews, J., Coletta, P., Pentecost, A., Riding, R., Dennis, S., Dennis, P., Spiro, B.

(2004)

Equilibrium and disequilibrium stable isotope effects in modern charophyte calcites: implications for palaeoenvironmental studies

in Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology

pp. 101-114

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Fukada, T., Hiscock, K., Dennis, P.

(2004)

A dual-isotope approach to the nitrogen hydrochemistry of an urban aquifer

in Applied Geochemistry

19.

pp. 709-719

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Garnett, E., Andrews, J., Preece, R., Dennis, P.

(2004)

Climatic change recorded by stable isotopes and trace elements in a British Holocene tufa

in Journal of Quaternary Science

pp. 251-262

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


Fukada, T., Hiscock, K., Dennis, P., Grischek, T.

(2003)

A dual isotope approach to identify denitrification in groundwater at a river-bank infiltration site

in Water Research

37.

pp. 3070-3078

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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Key Research Interests

Stable Isotope Geochemistry; in-situ cosmogenic isotope chemistry; noble gas chemistry; terrestrial and marine palaeoclimate analysis, Landscape evolution; hydrology and hydrogeology; isotopic oceanography; atmospheric chemistry; stable isotope instrumentation and techniques.

Significant Publications

  • Pentecost, A., J.E. Andrews, P.F. Dennis, A.Marca-Bell, S. Dennis (2006) Charophyte growth in small temperate water bodies: extreme isotopic disequilibrium and implications for the palaeoecology of shallow marl lakes. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 240, 389-404 DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2006.02.008
  • Fukada, T., K.M. Hiscock, P.F. Dennis (2004) A dual-isotope approach to the nitrogen hydrochemistry of an urban aquifer. Applied Geochemistry, 19,709-719
  • Dennis, P.F., P.J. Rowe, T.C. Atkinson (2001) The recovery and measurement of water from fluid inclusions in speleothem. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 65, 4081-4098 DOI: 10.1016/S0016-7037(00)00576-7
  • Maher, B.M. and P.F. Dennis (2001) Evidence against dust mediated control of glacial-interglacial changes in atmospheric CO2. Nature, 411, 176-180 DOI: 10.1038/35075543
  • Meredith, M., K. Heywood, P.F. Dennis, L. Goldson, R. White, E. Fahrbach, U. Schauer, S. Osterhus (2001) Freshwater fluxes through the western Fram Strait. Geophysical Research Letters, 28, 1615-1618
  • Yeatman, S.G., L.J. Spokes, P.F. Dennis, T.D. Jickells (2001) Comparison of aerosol nitrogen isotopic composition at two coastal sites. Atmospheric Environment, 35, 1321-1335 DOI: 10.1016/S1352-2310(00)00408-8


Publications: EPrints Digital Repository