Stuart Robinson

Stuart Robinson

Associate Professor of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

We are always keen to support talented researchers interested in PhDs, post-docs or collaboration with our group. Please do get in touch if you would like to work with us!

Research profile

My research focuses on the study of past environments, past climates and the impacts of major environmental change. In particular, I focus on how components of the Earth system (e.g. climate, carbon cycling, oceanography) have operated in the geological past, with a particular interest in periods of extreme greenhouse warmth, such as the Mesozoic Era (250 to 65 million years ago) and early Cenozoic (65 to 35 Ma). Warm intervals in Earth history, characterised by an absence of large polar ice sheets, high sea levels, and major perturbations to ocean chemistry, provide examples of how the Earth system works under very different boundary conditions to the present day. Understanding the processes operating in the geological past can help inform our understanding of how our planet may evolve in the future in response to anthropogenic CO2 release.

I use a multidisciplinary approach drawing on geology, palaeontology and geochemistry to reconstruct Earth history and work closely with climate modellers. The comparison of model simulations of Earth’s past climates compared with proxy records of climate allows us to gain mechanistic insights into the workings of the Earth system. I have conducted fieldwork in many parts of the world and participated in two scientific ocean drilling expeditions.

Teaching profile

1st year: Fundamentals of Geology (Introduction to Earth Surface Processes), Local Geology Fieldtrips

2nd year: Sedimentary Petrology, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Dorset Fieldclass

4th year: Major Environmental Change

Other information

Tutorial Fellow at St Anne’s College

Twitter: @DrStuRobinson

Brief CV

Education

D.Phil. (2002), Dept of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Carbon cycling, palaeoatmospheres and isotope stratigraphy of marginal and non-marine Mesozoic sediments.

B.A. Geology (1998) St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford

Employment

2013 to present: Associate Professor in Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, UK; Tutorial Fellow in Earth Sciences, St Anne’s College (2016–present), Fellow of St Cross College (2013-2016), Non-stipendiary college lecturer at St Edmund Hall (2014-2016).

2005-2013: Royal Society University Research Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, University College London

2005-2009: Adjunct Associate Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, USA

2005: Post-doctoral Research Scientist, School of Human & Environmental Sciences University of Reading

2002-2004: Post-doctoral Research Scientist; IODP Borehole Research Group, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, USA

2002: Post-doctoral Research Scientist; UKODP post-doc support scheme, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford

Selected  recent publications

  • Robinson, S.A., Dickson, A.J., Pain, A., Jenkyns, H.C., O’Brien, C.L, Farnsworth, A., and Lunt, D.J., (2019), Southern Hemisphere sea-surface temperatures during the Cenomanian–Turonian: Implications for the termination of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2. Geology, 47, 131-134
  • Farnsworth, A., Lunt, D.J., Robinson, S.A., Valdes, P.J., Roberts, W.H.G., Clift, P.D., Markwick, P., Su, T., Wrobel, N., Bragg, F., Kelland, S.-J., and Pancost, R.D., (2019) Past East Asian monsoon evolution controlled by paleogeography, not CO2. Science Advances, 5:eaax1697
  • Tedeschi, L.R., Jenkyns, H.C., Robinson, S.A., Sanjinés, A.E., Viviers, M.C., Quintaes, C.M. and Vazquez, J.C. (2017). New age constraints on Aptian evaporites and carbonates from the South Atlantic: Implications for Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a. Geology, 45, 543–546
  • O’Brien C.L., Robinson S.A., Pancost R.D., Sinninghe Damsté J.S., Schouten S., Lunt D.J., Alsenz H., Bornemann A., Bottinni C., Brassell S.C. et al. (2017), Cretaceous sea-surface temperature evolution: Constraints from TEX86 and planktonic foraminiferal oxygen isotopes, Earth Science Reviews, 172, 224-247.
  • Robinson, S.A., Heimhofer, U., Hesselbo, S.P., Petrizzo, M.R., (2017), Mesozoic climates and oceans – a tribute to Hugh Jenkyns and Helmut Weissert, Sedimentology, 64, 1-15
  • Lunt, D.J., Farnsworth, A., Loptson, C., Foster, G.L., Markwick, P., O’Brien, C.L., Pancost, R.D., Robinson, S.A., Wrobel, N. (2016) Palaeogeographic controls on climate and proxy interpretation, Climates of the Past, 12, 1181-1198
  • Linnert, C., Robinson, S.A., Lees, J.A., Bown, P.R., Pérez-Rodríguez, I., Petrizzo, M.R., Falzoni, F., Littler, K. Arz, J.A., & Russell, E.E., (2014) Evidence for global cooling in the Late Cretaceous, Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/ncomms5194
  • Kemp, D.B., Robinson, S.A., Crame, J.A., Francis, J.E., Ineson, J., Whittle, R.J., Bowman, V. & O’Brien, C. (2014) A cool temperate climate on the Antarctic Peninsula through the late Cretaceous to early Paleogene, Geology, 42, 583-586, doi: 10.1130/G35512.1

 

  1. Sengupta, R., Tosca, N.J., Robinson, S.A., (2020), Geochemical controls on the elemental composition of siderite: Implications for palaeo-environmental reconstructions, Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, 271, 1-15
  2. Johnson, B.R., Tostevin, R., Gopon, P., Wells, J., Robinson, S.A., Tosca, N.J., (2020), Phosphorus burial in ferruginous SiO2-rich Mesoproterozoic sediments, Geology, 48, 92-96
  3. Robinson, S.A., Dickson, A.J., Pain, A., Jenkyns, H.C., O’Brien, C.L, Farnsworth, A., and Lunt, D.J., (2019), Southern Hemisphere sea-surface temperatures during the Cenomanian–Turonian: Implications for the termination of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2. Geology, 47, 131-134
  4. O’Connor, L.K., Robinson, S.A., Naafs, B.D.A., Jenkyns, H.C., Henson, S., Clarke, M., and Pancost, R.D., (2019), Late Cretaceous Temperature Evolution of the Southern High Latitudes: A TEX86 Perspective. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 34, 436-454
  5. Farnsworth, A., Lunt, D.J., Robinson, S.A., Valdes, P.J., Roberts, W.H.G., Clift, P.D., Markwick, P., Su, T., Wrobel, N., Bragg, F., Kelland, S.-J., and Pancost, R.D., (2019) Past East Asian monsoon evolution controlled by paleogeography, not CO2. Science Advances, 5:eaax1697
  6. Farnsworth, A., Lunt, D. J., O’Brien, C. L., Foster, G. L., Inglis, G. N., Markwick, P., Pancost, R.D., and Robinson, S.A. (2019). Climate sensitivity on geological timescales controlled by nonlinear feedbacks and ocean circulation. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 9880–9889.
  7. Tedeschi, L.R., Jenkyns, H.C., Robinson, S.A., Lana, C.C., Menezes Santos, M.R.F., and Tognoli, F.M.W., (2019), Aptian carbon-isotope record from the Sergipe- Alagoas Basin: New insights into oceanic anoxic event 1a and the timing of seawater entry into the South Atlantic, Newsletters on Stratigraphy, DOI: 10.1127/nos/2019/0529
  8. Abu-Mahfouz, I.S., Cartwright, J.C., Idiz, E., Hooker, J.N., Robinson, S., & van den Boorn, S., (2019), Genesis and role of bitumen in fracture development during early catagenesis, Petroleum Geoscience, https://doi.org/10.1144/petgeo2018-179
  9. Percival, L., Jenkyns, H.C.,  Mather, T.A., Dickson, A.J., Batenburg, S.J., Ruhl, M., Hesselbo, S.P., Barclay, R., Jarvis, I., Robinson, S.A., Woelders, L., (2018), Does large igneous province volcanism always perturb the mercury cycle? Comparing the records of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 and the end-Cretaceous to other Mesozoic events. American Journal of Science, 318, 799-860.
  10. Linnert, C., Robinson, S.A., Lees, J.A., Pérez-Rodríguez, I., Jenkyns, H.C., Petrizzo, M.R., Arz, J.A., Bown, P.R., Falzoni, F., (2018) Did Late Cretaceous cooling trigger the Campanian–Maastrichtian Boundary Event? Newsletters on Stratigraphy, 51, 145-166.
  11. Tedeschi, L.R., Jenkyns, H.C., Robinson, S.A., Sanjinés, A.E., Viviers, M.C., Quintaes, C.M. and Vazquez, J.C. (2017). New age constraints on Aptian evaporites and carbonates from the South Atlantic: Implications for Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a. Geology, 45, 543–546
  12. O’Brien C.L., Robinson S.A., Pancost R.D., Sinninghe Damsté J.S., Schouten S., Lunt D.J., Alsenz H., Bornemann A., Bottinni C., Brassell S.C. et al. (2017), Cretaceous sea-surface temperature evolution: Constraints from TEX86 and planktonic foraminiferal oxygen isotopes, Earth Science Reviews, 172, 224-247.
  13. Dickson, A.J., Saker-Clarke, M., Jenkyns, H.C., Bottini, C., Erba, E., Russo, F., Gorbanenko, O., Naafs, B.D.A., Pancost, R.D., Robinson, S.A., Boorn, S.H.J.M., Idiz E., (2017), A Southern Hemisphere record of global trace-metal drawdown and orbital modulation of organic-matter burial across the Cenomanian–Turonian boundary (Ocean Drilling Program Site 1138, Kerguelen Plateau), Sedimentology, 64, 186-203.
  14. Robinson, S.A., Ruhl, M., Astley, D.L., Naafs, B.D.A., Farnsworth, A.J., Bown, P.R., Jenkyns, H.C., Lunt, D.J., O’Brien, C., Pancost, R.D., Markwick, P.J., (2017), Early Jurassic North Atlantic sea-surface temperatures from TEX86 palaeothermometry, Sedimentology, 64, 215–230.
  15. Robinson, S.A., Heimhofer, U., Hesselbo, S.P., Petrizzo, M.R., (2017), Mesozoic climates and oceans – a tribute to Hugh Jenkyns and Helmut Weissert, Sedimentology, 64, 1-15
  16. Lunt, D.J., Farnsworth, A., Loptson, C., Foster, G.L., Markwick, P., O’Brien, C.L., Pancost, R.D., Robinson, S.A., Wrobel, N. (2016) Palaeogeographic controls on climate and proxy interpretation, Climates of the Past, 12, 1181-1198
  17. Scotchman, J., Bown, P.R., Pickering, K.T., BouDagher-Fadel, M., Bayliss, N., Robinson, S.A., (2015) A new age model for the middle Eocene deep-marine Ainsa Basin, Spanish Pyrenees, Earth Science Reviews, 144, 10-22
  18. Jimenez Berrocoso, A., Huber, B.T., MacLeod, K.G., Petrizzo, M.R., Lees, J.A., Wendler, I., Coxall, H., Mweneinda, A.K., Falzoni, F., Birch, H., Haynes, S.J., Bown, P.R., Robinson, S.A., Singano, J.M., (2015) The Lindi Formation (upper Albian-Coniacian) and Tanzania Drilling Project Sites 36-40 (Lower Cretaceous to Paleogene): lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and chemostratigraphy, Journal of African Earth Sciences, 101, 282-308
  19. Westermann, S., Vance, D., Cameron, V., Archer, C., Robinson, S.A., (2014) Heterogeneous oxygenation states in the Atlantic and Tethys oceans during Oceanic Anoxic Event 2,, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 404, 178-189
  20. Linnert, C., Robinson, S.A., Lees, J.A., Bown, P.R., Pérez-Rodríguez, I., Petrizzo, M.R., Falzoni, F., Littler, K. Arz, J.A., and Russell, E.E., (2014) Evidence for global cooling in the Late Cretaceous, Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5194
  21. Kemp, D.B., Robinson, S.A., Crame, J.A., Francis, J.E., Ineson, J., Whittle, R.J., Bowman, V., and O’Brien, C. (2014) A cool temperate climate on the Antarctic Peninsula through the latest Cretaceous to early Paleogene, Geology, 42, 583-586, doi: 10.1130/G35512.1
  22. Littler, K., Robinson, S.A., & Bown, P.R. (2014) An offset in TEX86 values between interbedded lithologies: Implications for sea-surface temperature reconstructions, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 399, 42-51.
  23. Ando, A., Woodard, S.C., Evans, H.F., Littler, K., Herrmann, S., Macleod, K.G., Kim, S., Khim, B.-K., Robinson, S.A., & Huber, B.T., (2013) An emerging palaeoceanographic ‘missing link’: Multidisciplinary study of rarely recovered parts of deep-sea Santonian–Campanian transition from Shatsky Rise, Journal of the Geological Society, 170, 381-384
  24. Robinson, S.A., and Vance, D., (2012) Widespread and synchronous change in deep-ocean circulation in the North and South Atlantic during the Late Cretaceous, Paleoceanography, 27, PA1102, doi:10.1029/2011PA002240
  25. Jiménez Berrocoso, A., Huber, B.T., MacLeod, K.G., Petrizzo, M.R., Lees, J.A., Wendler, I., Coxall, H., Mweneinda, A.K., Falzoni, F., Birch, H., Singano, J.M., Haynes, S., Cotton, L., Wendler, J., Bown, P.R., Robinson, S.A., and Gould, J., (2012) Lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and chemostratigraphy of Upper Cretaceous and Paleogene sediments from southern Tanzania: Tanzania Drilling Project Sites 27 to 35, Journal of African Earth Sciences, 70, 36-57
  26. Gibbs, S.J., Robinson, S.A., Bown, P.R., Dunkley-Jones, T., and Henderiks, J., (2011) Comment on ”Calcareous nannoplankton response to surface-water acidification around oceanic anoxic event 1a”, Science, 332, 175
  27. Littler, K., Robinson, S.A., Bown, P.R., Nederbragt, A., and Pancost, R., (2011) High sea-surface temperatures during the Early Cretaceous Epoch, Nature Geoscience, 4, 169-172
  28. Robinson, S.A., (2010) A shallow-water carbonate record of the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum from a Pacific Ocean guyot, Geology, 39, 51-54
  29. Robinson, S.A., Murphy, D.P., Vance, D., and Thomas, D.J., (2010) Formation of “Southern Component Water” in the Late Cretaceous: Evidence from Nd-isotopes, Geology, 38, 871-874
  30. Robinson, S.A., Scotchman, J.I., White, T.S., and Atkinson, T.C., (2010) Constraining Lower Cretaceous Wealden (southern England) palaeoenvironments and palaeohydrology from sphaerosiderite geochemistry, Journal of the Geological Society, 167, 303-311.
  31. Robinson, S.A., and Williams, T., (2008) Attempts to model the Lower Cretaceous pelagic sedimentary cover of Shatsky Rise (NW Pacific Ocean) from downhole geophysical records, Sedimentary Geology, 212, 1-11.
  32. Robinson, S.A., Clark, L.J., Nederbragt, A., and Wood, I.G., (2008) Mid-Cretaceous oceanic anoxic events in the Pacific Ocean revealed by carbon-isotope stratigraphy of the Calera Limestone, California, USA. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 120, 1416-1427.
  33. Heard, T.G., Pickering, K.T., and Robinson, S.A., (2008) Milankovitch forcing of bioturbation intensity in deep-marine thin-bedded siliciclastic turbidites. Earth Planetary Science Letters 272, 130-138
  34. Robinson, S.A., Black, S., Sellwood, B., and Valdes, P.J., (2006) A review of palaeoclimates in the Levant and Eastern Mediterranean from 25,000 to 5,000 years BP: setting the environmental background for the evolution of human civilisation, Quaternary Science Reviews, 25, 1517-1541.
  35. Gröcke, D.R., Ludvigson, G.A., Witzke, B.L., Robinson, S.A., Joeckel, R.M., Ufnar, D.F., and Ravn, R.L., (2006) Recognizing the Albian-Cenomanian (OAE1d) sequence boundary using plant carbon isotopes: Dakota Formation, Western Interior Basin, USA, Geology, 34, 193-196.
  36. Gröcke, D.R., Price, G.D., Robinson, S.A., Baraboshkin, E.Y., Ruffell, A.H., and Mutterlose, J., (2005) The Valanginian (Early Cretaceous) positive carbon-isotope event recorded in terrestrial plants, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 240, 495-509.
  37. Haworth, M., Hesselbo, S.P., McElwain, J.C., Robinson, S.A. and Brunt, J.J. (2005) Middle Cretaceous pCO2 based on stomata of the extinct conifer Pseudofrenelopsis (Cheirolepidiaceae), Geology, 33, 749–75.
  38. Robinson, S.A. and Jenkyns, H.C., (2005) % opal and % carbonate data from the Miocene to Lower Pliocene at Site 1208 (Central High, Shatsky Rise). In: Bralower, T.J., Premoli Silva, I., & Malone, M.J. (Eds.), Proc. ODP, Sci. Results, 198.
  39. Robinson, S.A., Williams, T. and Bown, P.R. (2004) Fluctuations in biosiliceous production and the generation of Early Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Events in the Pacific Ocean (ODP Leg 198, Shatsky Rise), Paleoceanography, doi:10.1029/2004PA001010.
  40. Hesselbo, S.P., Robinson, S.A. and Surlyk, F. Reply to comment by Hallam and Wignall on “Sea-level change and facies development across potential Triassic–Jurassic boundary horizons, south western Britain”. Journal of the Geological Society, 161, 1054-1055.
  41. Hesselbo, S.P., Robinson, S.A. and Surlyk, F. (2004) Sea-level change and facies development across potential Triassic–Jurassic boundary horizons, south western Britain. Journal of the Geological Society, 161, 365-379.
  42. Robinson, S.A. and Hesselbo, S.P. (2004) Fossil-wood carbon-isotope stratigraphy of the non-marine Wealden Group (Lower Cretaceous, southern England). Journal of the Geological Society, 161, 133-145.
  43. Brassell, S.C., Dumitrescu, M and the ODP Leg 198 Shipboard Scientific Party (including Robinson, S.A.). (2004) Recognition of alkenones in a lower Aptian porcellanite from the west-central Pacific. Organic Geochemistry, 35, 181-188.
  44. Hesselbo, S.P., Morgans-Bell, H.S., McElwain, J.C., Rees, P.M., Robinson, S.A. and Ross, C.E. (2003) Carbon-cycle perturbation in the Middle Jurassic and accompanying changes in the terrestrial paleoenvironment. Journal of Geology, 111, 259-276.
  45. Robinson, S.A., Andrews, J.E., Hesselbo, S.P., Radley, J.D., Dennis, P.F. Harding, I.C. and Allen, P.  (2002) Early Cretaceous atmospheric pCO2 and depositional environment from stable-isotope geochemistry of calcrete nodules (Wealden Beds, England). Journal of the Geological Society, 159, 215-224.
  46. Hesselbo, S.P., Robinson, S.A., Surlyk, F. and Piasecki, S. (2002) Terrestrial and marine extinction at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary synchronized with major carbon-cycle perturbation: a link to initiation of massive volcanism? Geology, 30, 251-254.
  47. Bralower, T.J., Premoli-Silva, I., Malone, M.J. and the Scientific Participants of Leg 198 (including Robinson, S.A.) (2002) New evidence for abrupt climate change in the Cretaceous and Paleogene: an Ocean Drilling Program expedition to Shatsky Rise, northwest Pacific. GSA Today, 12, 4-10.