Professor Danielle Schreve

Personal profile

The focus of my research is on the fossil mammal record from the last 2.6 million years (the Quaternary), combining elements of biostratigraphy (the use of fossil assemblages as a dating tool) and the reconstruction of past environments, with the investigation of palaeobiological aspects such as evolutionary change and the interaction of past mammalian communities with early humans.  I have proposed new models for our understanding of the climates and environments of the last half million years, using the evidence from mammalian biostratigraphy to identify discrete climatic episodes.


Outside the UK, I have extended my research into the correlation of Pleistocene faunas of France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Spain.  The framework I proposed now forms the established basis for our understanding of glacial-interglacial mammalian faunal turnover in the UK, thereby permitting correlations with other parts of continental Europe, and is widely employed by stratigraphers, palaeontologists, geochronologists and archaeologists.  I have further collaborated with geochronologists to permit faunal turnover and distribution shifts to be more accurately dated.  This has allowed a higher degree of resolution to be recognised than attained previously and is now setting the future agenda for analysing and understanding the finer-scale variations within and between interglacials.  I am currently particularly interested in mammalian responses to abrupt climate change at the end of the Pleistocene and am involved in excavations at key cave sites in the Mendip Hills in Somerset, Creswell Crags in Derbyshire and Kents Cavern in Devon in order to recover new fossil material of Lateglacial age.    


A major beneficiary of my research is the field of archaeology.  As a Principal Specialist in the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain projects I-III (2000-2011), funded by the Leverhulme Trust for over £3.2 million, I have applied my knowledge to multiple Palaeolithic archaeological sites both in the UK and overseas, both from a dating perspective and also from the point of view of subsistence practices and human responses to environmental change.  Most recently, I have led the British component of an Anglo-French grant (funded by l'Agence Nationale de la Recherche) to study the emergence of handaxe cultures in NW Europe.  Outside Europe, I have an established research collaboration based in Turkey, which has led to the discovery of the oldest humanly-worked stone tool in Anatolia.


I have also been developing research into the long-term effects of large herbivores on the landscape and the possibility of “rewilding” parts of Britain through the introduction of Konik horses as wetland grazing managers. This has extended into working with performance makers in order to examine societal responses to rewilding.



I currently teach across all three undergraduate years, including first year small-group tutorials, a second-year Biogeography course (GG2043) and a third-year course on Mammals in a Changing World (GG3046). I also co-lead the second-year residential fieldtrip to Sicily.

On the MSc Quaternary Science programme, I contribute to core teaching in the first term on GG5291 Palaeoclimatology, GG5232 Palaeoecology, Dating & Quantification, and GG5201 Sedimentology & Stratigraphy.  I also teach a specialist option course GG5223 Quaternary Mammals


Current external activities:

London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership: Management Board member 2013-

Editor, Quaternary Science Reviews 2015-

Member of the Editorial Boards of Quaternaire, 2003-; Journal of Quaternary Science 2006-

Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, 2010-

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers, 2006-

International Committee member of the European Quaternary Mammal Research Association 2001-

Member of the Prehistoric Society, Quaternary Research Association, Geologists’ Association, EuroMam and the Large Herbivore Foundation


External Examiner for the Department of Geography, Durham University, 2014-2017

Committee member for Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) national review of physical geography, 2015-2017 Member of the editorial board of Biology Letters 2014-2016

Mentor for the Leadership Foundation’s Aurora Programme (national women-only leadership programme), 2014-2015

Vice President of the Quaternary Research Association 2013-2016

President of the Geologists’ Association, 2008-10 (Vice-President 2007-8 and 2010-11) and Chair of the GA Curry Fund (2008-2010)

Quaternary Research Association Executive Committee Member 2000-3 and Awards Officer 2003-2006

Full Member of INQUA Commission on Palaeoecology & Human Evolution, 2003-11; Co-leader of INQUA International Focus Group on “Late Quaternary faunal events in Eurasia”, 2007-2011

Member of NERC Peer Review College, 2008-2012

Faunal contributor to the EU-funded COST project INTegrating Ice core, MArine and TErrestrial records - 60,000 to 8000 years ago (INTIMATE), 2011-2014

Member of Steering Group for £2 million NERC initiative “Environmental Factors in the Chronology of Human Evolution and Dispersal”

Biostratigraphy sub-theme Coordinator for UNESCO-funded IGCP 449 ‘Global Correlation of Cenozoic Fluvial Deposits’, 2000-4; IGCP 518 ‘Fluvial sequences as evidence for landscape and climatic evolution in the Late Cenozoic’, 2004-6

Member of Steering committee on Research Frameworks for Palaeolithic and Quaternary, English Heritage/Natural England

Quaternary Editor for Proceedings in Physical Geography, 2009-2012

Academic Reviewer for NERC and University of Cambridge postdoctoral fellowship applications, reviewer for RGS-IBG Peter Fleming award applications, reviewer for Journal of Quaternary Science, Journal of Human Evolution, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Quaternary International, Quaternary Newsletter, Quaternary Research, Quaternary Science Reviews, Mammal Review, Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, Palaeontographica, Palaeo3, Proceedings of the Geological Association and Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia

PhD Examiner for the University of London (UCL Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment, UCL Institute of Education, Royal Holloway Departments of Earth Sciences and School of Biological Sciences) and Helsinki University

Examiner for Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches, Université de Lille, France, 2012

Chair of appointment panel for Professor in Archaeozoology, University of Bergen (Norway), 2014

Invited referee for appointments to Reader and Professor at the University of Leicester and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece


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