The consistent theme of my research is the study of how environmental variables affect Earth-surface processes (climate, transport, etc.) and natural materials (biota, earth and water) over multiple scales of time and distance.

Currently, I'm using dendrochronology, stable isotopes, and ancient kauri pines of North Queensland to reconstruct past rainfall and model the response of drought and floods to El Niño Southern Oscillation and other mulitdecadal climate phenomena (Indian Ocean Dipole, Pacific Decadal Oscillation). In the past, my colleagues and I investigated the link between ecophysiology, climate, and isotopic variation in the spines of columnar cactuses, including the tropical species Trichocereus pasacana in Bolivia. This research develops and explains a novel climate proxy that yields high–resolution information about plant ecology, water relations and past climate that will be useful in tropical and subtropical regions with few annually resolved and centuries-long terrestrial climate proxies.

My current work on climate and trees of North Queensland is covered here:


 I'm also the manager of the Tropical Dendrochronology Laboratory, administrator of the Australasian Dendrochronology Page on Facebook (link below) and a local organizing commitee member for the World Dendrochronology Conference 2014 in Melbourne.


  • 2012 - Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2009 to 2011 - Director's Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos, NM)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

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Australian Research Council - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

Trees Of Knowledge: Developing Multi-Century Tree-Ring And Isotope Chronologies From Tropical Australia

Indicative Funding
$373,679 over 3 years
Floods and droughts are among the most costly natural disasters in Australia. The El Ni?o?Southern Oscillation affects these extreme events, but our understanding of how frequent and intense El Ni?o will be in a globally changing climate is hampered by a lack of climate data from before the last 150 years. Tree-ring widths and isotope variations in kauri pine will provide annually dated records of rainfall from tropical Queensland that are at least several centuries old. These unique climate records will advance our ability to forecast how frequent and intense floods and droughts are likely to be in the future thus saving Australians billions of dollars by improving the allocation of finite resources to combating extreme climate events.
Nathan English (College of Science & Engineering)
El Nino-Southern Oscikllation; Dendrochronology; Isotope

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.


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  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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