Mr Matthew L Staitis BSc (Hons), MScR

Postgraduate Research Student , 

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Research Focus


I am a geoscientist that utilises litho-, bio-, and chemostratigraphy to identify and investigate the biotic and environmental changes associated with past climate events in the geological record. My research specialises in the application of foraminiferal micropaleontology and geochemistry to better resolve early Cenozoic abrupt warming events known as ‘hyperthermals’. My PhD is based within the School of Environmental Sciences and the Stable Isotope Laboratory (ENVSIL) at the University of East Anglia, under the supervision of Dr Mark Chapman, Dr Nikolai Pedentchouk, Prof Paul Dennis, and Dr Alina Marca.

I graduated with a BSc Honours in Geology from the University of Glasgow, before undertaking a MScR Palaeontology and Geobiology at the University of Edinburgh. While there, I worked between School of GeoSciences and University of St Andrews Isotope Geochemistry (STAiG) lab under the supervision of Prof Dick Kroon and Dr James Barnet. I received specialist training in petrophysics and downhole logging, through my participation in the 5th ECORD Summer School: Downhole-Logging for IODP Science. I am affiliated with The Geological Society of London (GSL), The Micropalaeontological Society (TMS) and the International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS). I am also a Web & Social Media officer for the UK Paleoclimate Society.

Key Research Interests

A geological analogue for the future: the rapid climatic warming 56 million years ago

As one of several ‘Paleoclimate Reference Periods’ in the latest IPCC AR6 report, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM): a period of abrupt global warming ~56 million years ago, provides one of the best analogues for investigating the impact of anthropogenically released carbon on the Earth system.

Previous research has primarily focused on the comparison of independent palaeontological or geochemical records from different PETM sites which introduces increased uncertainty from the influence of local processes, preservation, and age constraints.

Therefore, there is currently a paucity of PETM records that integrate palaeotemperature and palaeontological data, specifically from shallow marine settings that are particularly sensitive to the rapid climatic and biotic changes associated with the PETM excursion.

This project will use material collected from the Kheu section in the Caucuses to reconstruct the impacts of PETM sea surface and bottom water temperature change using a multi-proxy approach: (i) foraminiferal population data, (ii) δ18O, (iii) Mg/Ca, and (iv) Δ47.

The findings of my PhD research will contribute to our growing understanding of identifying the climatic and biological responses to abrupt global warming events like the PETM in the stratigraphic record.

My research relates to the highlighted SDGs targets and means of implementation via the following research themes:

SDG 13- Climate Action

How have natural systems responded to climate change in the geological past and how might they respond in the future?

SDG 14- Life Below Water

What have the impacts of ocean acidification been in the geological past and what might they be in the future?

Measuring marine acidity (pH), ocean health, and marine biodiversity in the geological past.

Investigate which taxonomic groups, realms or ecosystems deteriorated the most rapidly during times of great change in the geological past, to better inform why and where species are threatened today.

SDG 16- Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

Integrating science diplomacy when cooperating in international, transboundary geoscience projects i.e. the International Ocean Discovery Programme (IODP).

Research Groups

  • School of Environmental Sciences
  • Stable Isotope Laboratory (ENVSIL)


  • A geological analogue for the future: the rapid climatic warming 56 million years ago
  • Investigating Deccan-induced environmental changes, prior to the K/Pg mass extinction


  • Postgraduate Research Student

Global goals

Target 13.3
Target 14.3
Target 14.A
Target 16.A

Professional Organisations

  • The Geological Society of London (GSL)
  • The Micropalaeontological Society (TMS)
  • The International Association of Sedimentologists (IAS)


  • United Kingdom