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  • John Dearing
  • Professor-University of Southampton
  • (023) 8059 4648
  • J.Dearing@soton.ac.uk

John Dearing has over thirty years of experience of using lake sediments and other historical records to reconstruct environmental change. His recent work has highlighted the role of multi-decadal timescales in addressing the complexity concepts that populate national and international research agendas, particularly with regards social-ecological systems and resilience theory (Dearing et al. 2012a; Dearing et al. 2015).  High impact publications in PNAS and Nature have identified new approaches for studying ecosystem service dynamics, critical transitions and early warning signals (Dearing et al 2012b; Wang et al. 2012).  Since 2000, he has been PI and co-I on grants worth >£5M from UK NERC, ESRC, Belmont Forum, Leverhulme Trust and the Royal Society, with 9 postdoctoral researchers and 11 PhD students, resulting in over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters.  He has been involved as PI or co-I on four UK Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) Programme grants addressing: ecosystem service dynamics in China (PI ESPA Yangtze PFG 2011; Zhang et al 2015) and Bangladesh (co-I ESPA Deltas 2012; Hossain et al 2016); methods to assess safe operating spaces for human activities at regional scales (PI ESPA EIRG 2012; Dearing et al 2014); and communicating complexity to stakeholders (PI ESPA RIU 2012). He played an active role in the activities of the International Geosphere-Biopshere Programme (IGBP; Verburg et al 2015).  Notably, he led the international Past Global Changes (PAGES) programme Focus 4 for the six years up to the end of 2013 that promoted the use of palaeorecords in the study of ecosystem services and complex systems analysis.


Key recent papers:

Hossain, M.S., Dearing, J.A., Rahman, M.M., and Salehin, M. 2016. Recent changes in ecosystem services and human wellbeing in the Bangladesh coastal zone. Regional Environmental Change 16, 429-443. DOI 10.1007/s10113-014-0748-z

Dearing, J.A. (and 25 authors) 2015. Social-ecological systems in the Anthropocene: the need for integrating social and biophysical records at regional scales. The Anthropocene Review, 2, 196-219. DOI:10.1177/2053019615591020

Dearing, J.A. (and 6 authors) 2012a. Navigating the Perfect Storm: research strategies for social-ecological systems in a rapidly evolving world. Environmental Management 49, 767-775. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-012-9833-6

Dearing, J.A., (and 8 authors) 2012b. Extending the timescale and range of ecosystem services through paleoenvironmental analyses: the example of the lower Yangtze basin.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109, E1111-1120. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1118263109 

Dearing, J.A. (and 20 authors) 2014. Safe and just operating spaces for regional social-ecological systems. Global Environmental Change 28, 227-238. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.06.012

Wang, R., Dearing, J.A., Langdon, P.G., Zhang, E., Yang, X., Dakos, V., Scheffer, M. 2012. Flickering gives early warning signals of a critical transition to a eutrophic lake state. Nature 492, 419–422. DOI 10.1038/nature11655

Zhang, K., Dearing, J.A., Dawson, T.P., Dong, X., Yang, X., Zhang, W. 2015. Poverty alleviation strategies in eastern China lead to critical ecological dynamics, Science of the Total Environment 506–507, 164–181. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.10.096

Zhang, K., Dearing, J.A., Tong, S.L. and Hughes, T.P. 2016. China's degraded environment enters a new normal. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 31, 175-177. DOI:10.1016/j.tree.2015.12.002

Verburg, P.H., Dearing, J.A., Dyke J.G., van der Leeuw, S., Seitzinger, S., Steffen, W. and Syvitski, J. 2015. Methods and Approaches to Modelling the Anthropocene. Global Environmental Change DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.08.007