Background and activities

I am an Associate Professor of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology. I teach courses on the Earth's natural environment, geomorphology, and field methods in physical geography. My research is interdisciplinary, field-based, and focused on formerly glaciated areas and coastal environments. The overarching theme of my research program is to elucidate the range of possible impacts of climate change and pollution on coastal landscapes in Norway, the circum-Arctic, and elsewhere. Current research projects include:

  • Reducing uncertainty in century-scale relative sea-level projections for Norway using Holocene analogues and improved glacial isostatic adjustment modelling.
  • Mapping the sources, transport pathways, and sinks for pollutants in the coastal zone, from microplastics to methylmercury.

Research interests

  • reconstructing geomorphological, sedimentological, and biogeochemical responses of coastal environments to past sea-level change;
  • mapping and measuring pollutants in the coastal zone;
  • reconstructing past coastal sea ice conditions and Arctic Ocean dynamics using  driftwood and other proxy data;
  • collaborating with communities and local stakeholders to identify their most pressing environmental concerns and increase our collective understanding of them.

Education and experience

I earned my PhD in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, Canada, where I reconstructed past ice sheet margins and relative sea-level change in the western Canadian High Arctic. While a PhD student, I had the good fortune to teach several Environmental Technology Program courses at Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Following my PhD I was employed as a coastal geologist by the Nova Scotia Geological Survey, where I investigated coastal morphodynamics, with special emphasis on erosion and response to past and ongoing climate change (especially sea-level rise). After moving to Trondheim in August, 2015, I worked at the Geological Survey of Norway in the Marine Geology group, mapping submarine geomorphology, sediments, and methane gas in the Barents Sea.

Selected publications resulting from earlier research:

Lakeman T.R., Pieńkowski A.J., Nixon F.C., Furze M.F.A., Blasco S., Andrews J.T., King E.L. 2018. Collapse of a marine-based ice stream during the early Younger Dryas chronozone, western Canadian Arctic. Geology 46, pp. 211-214.

Nixon F.C., England J.H., Lajeunesse P., Hanson M.A. 2016. An 11,000-year record of driftwood delivery to the western Queen Elizabeth Islands, Arctic CanadaBoreas 45, pp. 494-507.

Nixon F.C., England J.H. 2013. Expanded Late Wisconsinan ice cap and ice sheet margins in the western Queen Elizabeth Islands, Arctic CanadaQuaternary Science Reviews 91, pp. 146-164.

Nixon F.C., England J.H., Lajeunesse P., Hanson M.A. 2013. Deciphering patterns of postglacial sea level at the junction of the Laurentide and Innuitian Ice Sheets, western Canadian High ArcticQuaternary Science Reviews 91, pp. 165-183.

Coulthard R.D., Furze M.F.A., Pieńkowski A.J., Nixon F.C., England J.H. 2010. New marine ΔR values for Arctic CanadaQuaternary Geochronology 5, pp. 419-434.

Nixon F.C., Reinhardt E.G., Rothaus R. 2009. Foraminifera and tidal notches: Dating neotectonic events at Korphos, GreeceMarine Geology 257, pp. 41-53.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications