Chief Investigator & Landscapes Theme Leader

James Cook University

Michael trained as a geologist at the University of Sydney and the Australian National University, obtaining a PhD in isotope geochemistry in 1988. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, he returned to Australia as Research Fellow, Queen Elizabeth II Fellow and Fellow at the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University. In 2000 he took up an Associate Professorship in Singapore and in 2004 moved to the Chair in Environmental Change at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He returned again to Australia in 2009 to take up an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship. He is currently an ARC Laureate Fellow and Distinguished Professor in the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University (Cairns campus). He leads a research group focused terrestrial biogeochemistry and environmental change in tropical Australia and Southeast Asia


An essential item in Michael’s toolkit

“I couldn’t do my job without a stable isotope mass spectrometer. This is an instrument that measures the isotopes of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen in, well – anything we can get in there. We use it develop records of environmental change and modern processes in the environment by analysing, soils, sediments, rocks, bat guano, wood, biochar, animal tissues and plant tissues.”