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Dr Richard Preece

Dr Richard Preece

University Reader & Curator of Malacology, University Museum of Zoology

Richard Preece is accepting applications for PhD students.

Room 313, Austin Building
Office Phone: 01223 (3)36666

Research Interests

My interests are in malacology in general, but especially the use of non-marine Mollusca in reconstructing environments and climates during the Quaternary and Tertiary periods. Recent work has focused on their use in distinguishing between different interglacials in NW Europe and in their value as a dating material, especially for aminostratigraphy. I also work on the Holocene from which detailed molluscan successions can be tied to firm chronologies by means of radiocarbon dating. In this way it is possible to provide historical perspectives on the development of modern communities in different regions. In many Holocene sequences it is possible to recognize signs of human disturbance, such as episodes of forest clearance, and so evaluate the environmental impact of early human populations. I was recently a member of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain (AHOB) project, funded by the Levehulme Trust, which over the last 10 years has shed much new light on the age and environment of the earliest human populations in Britainduring the Early and early Middle Pleistocene. I am also involved with the Baikal Archaeology Project, which aims to characterize the environmental history of the Baikal region of Siberiaduring the Holocene with a view to elucidating the cause of a major cultural change that occurred about 7000 years ago. My research on the collections in the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, is currently focusing on the William Benson collection of land snails, obtained mainly from the Indian Subcontinent during the early part of the 19th century. This important collection contains many type specimens. Previous projects have included an illustrated catalogue of our collection of bivalves (see link to DDF Bivalve Project) and work on the notebooks and collections of the Rev. Leonard Jenyns, an important 19th century naturalist and friend of Charles Darwin (see link).

Key Publications

  • White, T.S., Preece, R.C. & Whittaker, J.E. (2013).  Molluscan and ostracod successions from Dierden’s Pit, Swanscombe: insights into the fluvial history, sea-level record and human occupation of the Hoxnian Thames.  Quaternary Science Reviews 70, 73-90.
  • Penkman, K.E.H., Preece, R.C., Bridgland, D.R., Keen, D.H., Meijer, T., Parfitt, S.A., White, T.S. & Collins, M.J. (2013). An aminostratigraphy for the British Quaternary based on Bithynia opercula.  Quaternary Science Reviews 61, 111-134.
  • Preece, R.C. & Sparks, T.H. (2012). Fauna Cantabrigiensis.  The vertebrate and molluscan fauna of Cambridgeshire by the Rev. Leonard Jenyns (1800-1893): transcript and commentaries.  The Ray Society,London, No 174, vii + 226 pp.
  • Preece, R.C. & Parfitt, S.A. (2012). The Early and early Middle Pleistocene context of human occupation and lowland glaciation in Britain and northern Europe. Quaternary International 271, 6-28.
  • Penkman, K.E.H., Preece, R.C., Bridgland, D.R., Keen, D.H., Meijer, T., Parfitt, S.A., White, T.S. & Collins, M.J. (2011). A chronological framework for the British Quaternary based on Bithynia opercula. Nature 476, 446-449.
  • Preece, R.C. (2010). The molluscan fauna of the Cromerian type site at West Runton, Norfolk. Quaternary International 228, 53-62.
  • Parfitt, S.A., Ashton, N.M, Lewis, S.G., Abel, R.L., Coope, G.R., Field, M.H., Gale, R., Hoare, P.G., Larkin, N.R., Lewis, M., Karloukovski, V., Maher, B., Peglar, S.M., Preece, R.C., Whittaker, J.E. & Stringer, C.B. (2010). Early Pleistocene human occupation at the edge of the boreal zone in northwest Europe. Nature 466, 229-233.

Other Publications

  • Penkman, K.E.H., Preece, R.C., Keen, D.H. & Collins, M.J. (2010). Amino acid geochronology of the type Cromerian of West Runton, Norfolk, UK. Quaternary International 228, 25-37.
  • Parfitt, S.A., Coope, G.R., Field, M.H., Peglar, S.M., Preece, R.C. & Whittaker, J.E. (2010). Middle Pleistocene biota of the early Anglian ‘Arctic Fresh-water bed’ at Ostend, Norfolk, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association 121, 55-65.
  • Candy I., Coope, G.R., Lee, J.R., Parfitt, S.A., Preece, R.C., Rose J., Schreve, D.C. (2010). Pronounced warmth during early Middle Pleistocene interglacials: investigating the Mid-Brunhes Event in the British terrestrial sequence. Earth-Science Reviews 103, 183-196.
  • Roe, H.M., Coope, G.R., Devoy, R.J.N., Harrison, C.J.O., Penkman, K.E.H., Preece, R.C. & Schreve, D.C. (2009). Differentiation of MIS 9 and MIS 11 in the continental record: vegetational, faunal, aminostratigraphic and sea-level evidence from coastal sites in Essex, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews 28, 2342-2373.
  • Preece, R.C., Parfitt, S.A., Coope, G.R., Penkman, K.E.H., Ponel, P. & Whittaker, J.E. (2009). Biostratigraphic and aminostratigraphic constraints on the age of the Middle Pleistocene glacial succession in North Norfolk, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science 24, 557-580.
  • White, D., Preece, R.C., Shchetnikov, A.A., Parfitt, S.A. & Dlussky, K.G. (2008). A Holocene molluscan succession from floodplain sediments of the upper Lena River (Lake Baikal region), Siberia. Quaternary Science Reviews 27, 962-987.
  • Preece RC, Parfitt SA, Bridgland DR, Lewis SG, Rowe PJ, Atkinson TC, Candy I, Debenham NC, Penkman KEH, Rhodes EJ, Schwenninger J-L, Griffiths HI, Whittaker JE, Gleed-Owen C (2007) Terrestrial environments during MIS 11: evidence from the Palaeolithic site at West Stow, Suffolk, UK. Quaternary Science Reviews 26: 1236-1300.
  • Wenban-Smith FF, Allen P, Bates, MR, Parfitt SA, Preece RC, Stewart JR, Turner C, Whittaker JE (2006) The Clactonian elephant butchery site at Southfleet Road, Ebbsfleet, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science 21: 471-483.
  • Preece RC, Gowlett JAJ, Parfitt SA, Bridgland DR, Lewis SG (2006) Humans in the Hoxnian: habitat, context and fire use at Beeches Pit, West Stow, Suffolk, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science 21: 485-496.
  • Gittenberger E, Groenenberg DSJ, Kokshoorn B, Preece RC (2006) Molecular trails from hitch-hiking snails. Nature 439: 409.
  • Parfitt SA, Barendregt, RW, Breda M, Candy I, Collins MJ, Coope GR, Durbidge P, Field MH, Lee JR, Lister AM, Mutch R, Penkman KEH, Preece RC, Rose J, Stringer CB, Symmons R, Whittaker JE, Wymer JJ, Stuart AJ (2005) The earliest record of human activity in northern Europe. Nature 438: 1008-1012.
  • Garnett ER, Andrews JE, Preece RC, Dennis PF (2004) Climatic change recorded by stable isotopes and trace elements in a British Holocene tufa. Journal of Quaternary Science 19: 251-262.
  • Lawson I, Frogley M, Bryant C, Preece R, Tzedakis P (2004) The Lateglacial and Holocene environmental history of the Ioannina basin, north-west Greece. Quaternary Science Reviews 23: 1599-1625.
  • Tzedakis PC, Frogley MR, Lawson IT, Preece RC, Cacho I, de Abreu L (2004) Ecological thresholds and patterns of millennial-scale climate variability: the response of vegetation in Greece during the last glacial. Geology 32: 109-112.
  • Limondin-Lozouet N, Preece RC (2004) Molluscan successions from the Holocene tufa of St-Germain-le-Vasson, Normandy (France) and their biogeographical significance. Journal of Quaternary Science 19: 55-71.
  • Tzedakis PC, Lawson IT, Frogley MR, Hewitt GM, Preece RC (2002) Buffered tree population changes in a Quaternary refugium: evolutionary implications. Science 297: 2044-2047.