Professor secures place in climate expedition



Professor Tom Wagner, leader of international development at the Lyell Centre, has accepted an invitation to join the International Ocean Discovery Programme’s upcoming Agulhas Plateau Cretaceous Climate Expedition (392)

He is likely to be one of just two UK scientists participating in the expedition aboard the JOIDES Resolution. 

IODP will set sail from Cape Town on 4 February 2021 and return on 6 April 2021. The team of international scientists aims to recover unique sediment sections from five locations that capture the climate-ocean history of the emerging Cretaceous South Atlantic, Southern Ocean and southern Indian Ocean basins and their oceanic gateways.

The expedition will increase our understanding of how Cretaceous greenhouse temperatures, ocean and atmospheric circulation and sedimentation patterns evolved as CO2 levels rose to ‘super-greenhouse’ levels in the mid-Cretaceous, in response to the gradual breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana. 

Professor Tom Wagner, an expert in anoxic oceans, said: “Securing a place on this IODP cruise is exciting, as it sets another milestone in our ambition at the Lyell Centre to document and understand the processes, feedbacks and consequences of deoxygenating the ocean for climate and marine ecosystems, both modern and in the geological past. 

“The Agulhas Plateau expedition is part of a wider research strategy in which we aim to find solutions that address fundamental challenges related to extreme perturbations in the climate-ocean system.

“Understanding how perturbed oceans operated in the distant past, and how they controlled and responded to environmental change complements the work the Lyell Centre does on the present-day and the more recent ocean, such as examining toxic algal blooms, formation and distribution of dead zones and deep ocean biodiversity.” 

“This will ensure the Lyell Centre’s active involvement and leadership in the IODP’s research for a number of years, which is an excellent opportunity for both Heriot-Watt and the British Geological Survey.” 

To find out more about IODP Expedition 392, visit: 


Sarah McDaid