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Rory Flood

<p>Rory Flood</p>

Rory Flood


B.A., (NUI) Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy (2009)
M.Sc. (Dub.) Environmental Sciences (2010)




School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (GAP)
Queen’s University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK


+44 (0)28 9097 3929

Current Research: Environmental Change

Recent sedimentation processes, patterns and chronology of the west Bengal Sundarbans

Prof. Julian Orford
Prof. Keith Bennett

This research is primarily focussed on the provenance and levels of sedimentation in the Sundarbans of west Bengal, India. The Sundarbans compose of one of the largest units of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world and are the primary habitat of many endangered charismatic mega-fauna species, including the Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris). Furthermore, approximately four million people inhabit the Sundarbans and thus there presents a challenge on the sustainability of island communities in this region.

There are several issues which affect this research on the broad scale. Firstly there are challenges to natural sustainability and the maintenance of these islands as biodiversity reserves. There is, also the human factors and the use of the inhabited islands by a large population in the region. Finally, the challenges posed by cyclonic events and tidal inundation with the rise in mean sea-level. With this, this research seeks to examine where sediment is being lost and re-deposited and how this has and will change over the course of the Holocene, and how sedimentation has been impacted by environmental and anthropogenic factors (e.g. cyclones and channel embankment).

The main aims of this research are:

  • What are the sediment pathways in the region and from where is sediment originating from;
  • What are the sedimentation rates and levels of deposition and erosion taking place in the Sundarbans;
  • How do sedimentation rates differ over the course of the late Holocene between uninhabited and inhabited islands within the Sundarbans.

This research will use multi-proxy geochemical techniques for the analysis of sedimentation in the Sundarbans. Analysis of granulometry and lithostratigraphy of sediment cores will be combined with geochemical datasets obtained using; XRD, AAS, mineral magnetics, stable and radiogenic isotope analysis. This analysis should provide some insight into the rates and origins of sediment in this region and how sediment has responded to both natural and anthropogenic forcing over the course of the late Holocene.

Understanding the provenance and rates of sedimentation in the Sundarbans may facilitate in the modelling of sedimentation for this region and how the transport, deposition and reworking of sediment is to change in future scenarios of mean sea-level rise and cyclonic events in this region.



Flood, R. P., 2010. Stable isotope and microfossil analysis of the Fergus Estuary, Co. Clare, Ireland: an assessment of methodologies for relative sea-level reconstruction studies M.Sc. thesis, Dublin; Trinity College, Ireland, unpublished.

Additional Information:

I completed my undergraduate degree at University College, Dubin from which I received a first class honours. I then went on to carry out a three-month student internship at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth looking at social housing occupancy of private rented accommodation in the Republic of Ireland. I then went on to do my masters in environmental sciences at Trinity College, Dublin and following this I started my research at the school in October 2010.

Research Interests:
I am interested in many areas of earth and environmental sciences, including coastal and fluvial sedimentology, sedimentary provenance studies, sedimentary facies, geochemical and mineralogical techniques. I am particularly interested in the use of XRD, carbon and nitrogen stable isotope mass spectrometry, elemental analysis using XRF, ICP-OES and AAS. I have carried out work using δ13C and organic C/N ratios for my M.Sc. thesis and the comparisons of these techniques to foraminiferal assemblages in RSL studies.

2010: GGY1001 - Environmental issues: a geographical perspective.
2011: GGY1007 – Dynamic Earth
2011: GAP2002 – Climate Change: Science, Impacts and Responses
2011: GAP3035 – Sea-level change, past, present and future

Professional Memberships:
Irish Quaternary Association – Postgraduate Representative
Geographical Society of Ireland
Quaternary Research Association

Presentations, conferences and workshops
Differentiation presentation, Queen's University Belfast (June 2011)
Flood, R.P. (2011) Recent sedimentation processes, patterns and chronology of the West Bengal Sundarbans.
IQUA Spring Meeting and AGM 2011 Trinity College Dublin (March 2011)
Flood, R.P. (2011) Recent sedimentation processes, patterns and chronology of the West Bengal Sundarbans.
Windsor Workshop, London (December 2010)
Flood, R.P. (2010) Recent sedimentation processes, patterns and chronology of the West Bengal Sundarbans.

Academic awards and honours:
2011: Student-led initiative (£600)
2011: Soulby Prize School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (£600)
2010: Funding by the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL)
2009: Patrick Semple Medal in Geography
2009: Stage 3 Scholarship Award in Geography (€1,000)