Richard Pancost

I am a Professor of Biogeochemistry in the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, co-head of the internationally-leading Organic geochemistry Unit, and the Director of UOB’s Cabot Institute for environmental change and adaptation. I am also organic geochemist with specific expertise in biogeochemistry and palaeoclimate reconstruction. My specific research interests include (but not limited too):

  • Development of proxies to understand long-term geologic variability of climates of the past, in particular for reconstructions of ancient pCO2 levels, rainfall, temperature, food web structure, and methane cycling.
  • Geomicrobiology and the importance of microbes in biogeochemical processes.
  • Preservation of organic matter and its implications for the global carbon cycle.

My former research has focused on using lipid biomarkers to study carbon cycling and methanotrophy. Recent research highlights include new Sea Surface Temperature (SST) records for the Paleogene and biomarker records for methane cycling and hydrological changes at the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). I have participated in seven EU projects and three NERC Consortium grants; and over 200 publications in journals such as Science, Nature and Geology. I was awarded the 2005 Schenk Award by the European Association of Organic Geochemists for my early career achievements, the Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2011 and an Advanced ERC Award in 2013 to study terrestrial biogeochemistry during greenhouse climates.

Contact details:


University of Bristol staff page


Publications record