University of Southampton

Prof. Robert Nicholls

Robert Nicholls newProf. Robert Nicholls is the Lead PI for the consortium. His research concerns long-term coastal engineering and management, especially the issues of coastal impacts and adaptation to climate change, with an emphasis on sea-level rise.

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This includes lead authorship of chapters in four reports of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC): Second Assessment Report (1996); the Regional Assessment (1998); the Special Report on Technology Transfer (2000); and the Third Assessment Report (2001). ¬†He was also convening lead author (with P.P. Wong (Singapore)) for the “Coastal Systems and Low-Lying Areas” chapter in the IPCC 4th assessment (published 2007). ¬†He participated in the DEFRA-funded “Fast Track” assessments as the coastal expert, led the SURVAS Project which reviewed vulnerability of coastal zones around the world from 1999 to 2001, contributed to the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, and leads the coastal research theme of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research which developed the “Coastal Simulator”. ¬†He contributed to the Foresight study of Flood and Coastal Defence and its update for the Pitt Review and participated in missions to Russia and the USA. He was one of the principle developers of the DIVA (Dynamic Interactive Vulnerability Assessment) which builds on his experience with the Fast Track Assessments. ¬†DIVA is being used in various projects such as NERC QUEST-GSI, the AVOID global impacts, and various EU projects. It has provided input into the EU Green and White Papers on Adaptation, the UNFCCC 2007 paper on adaptation costs and the World Bank 2009 assessment of adaptation costs. ¬†He has lead two recent OECD papers on climate change, including an active global assessment of flood exposure in large port cities. ¬†He was awarded the Roger Revelle Medal by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission in 2008.

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Dr. Craig Hutton

Craig Hutton newDr. Craig Hutton is the Deputy PI for the DECCMA Project.  His research, applied research & consultancy focus lies at the intersection between the environment and social implications of environmental/climate change and management for sustainable development.

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This socio-environmental research emphasises the co-ordination of spatial data handling and the management/policy/governance implications of climate change, environmental vulnerability of communities, land cover and earth observation in decision-making support systems.  Dr. Hutton is also lead author and Deputy PI for the ESPA Deltas project and is currently in negotiations to conduct similar work internationally across the Ganges basin.  Dr. Hutton has lead socio-environmental survey project inputs dealing with the integration of environmental and socio-environmental data in South Africa, Malawi, Ethiopia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Tanzania, Libya, Vietnam, Bhutan.  He is also developing strategic programs in catchment management in the Philippines and Laos as well as assessing poverty and environment in Central Asia (Azerbaijan & Tajikistan).  Additionally, Dr. Hutton has developed projects for information management for food security/hazard management and climate change (Libya, South Sudan, Ethiopia), and flood management and DRM (Pakistan).  A number of these projects have been augmented by capacity development.

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Jon Lawn

Jon Lawn newJon Lawn is the Consortium Coordinator for the Deltas Vulnerability and Climate Change; Migration and Adaptation (DECCMA) research project. He graduated from the University of Southampton with a BSc in Geography in 2003.  Since then he has undertaken management roles in retail, catering, office and charity sectors.  Jon joined the staff at the University of Southampton in 2011 and has coordinated the NERC funded iCOASST project and Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation funded ESPA Deltas Project.  He has interests in environmental and poverty issues and has previously volunteered in wildlife conservation in South Africa and charities that work with the poor in the UK.

Dr. Emma Tompkins

ETompkinsDr. Emma Tompkins is a Reader in Environment and Development.  She has worked on climate change adaptation since 2001, specifically barriers and limits to institutional adaptation, public-private partnerships for adaptation, and drivers of individual action and national policy on adaptation.  She has published numerous papers, articles and policy briefs on environmental management, adaptation to climate change, and social and ecological resilience as well as handbooks on surviving climate change in small islands and participatory coastal zone management.  She has a PhD Environmental Science (UEA), MSc Environmental and Resource Economics (UCL) and BA Economics (Leicester).

Dr. Natalie Suckall

Natalie Suckall newDr. Natalie Suckall is an environmental-social scientist with an interest in understanding how rural and urban communities respond to climate change. Before joining DECCMA, Natalie examined the trade-offs and synergies between autonomous adaptation, mitigation and development in subsistence communities in Zanzibar. ¬†Prior to this, Natalie’s PhD (University of Leeds) investigated the effect of climate change on rural-urban migration patterns in Malawi. ¬†Natalie is acting co-lead for DECCMA’s work package 6, which will identify and evaluate feasible and acceptable planned and autonomous adaptations in the three deltas. ¬†Natalie is also DECCMA’s Theory of Change lead.

Dr. Chris Hill

Chris Hill newDr. Chris Hill is a graduate of Exeter University (BSc Combined Honours, Biology and Geography).  He is Director of the GeoData Institute, a university based enterprise agency, where he directs its geospatial, spatial data infrastructure, remote sensing and environmental data management programmes.

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Chris directs and manages the input of the research, technical staff and academic associates of GeoData in the disciplines of sustainable development, biodiversity and ecosystem services, environmental and social sciences, geospatial, remote-sensing and information sciences. ¬†In addition, GeoData offers geospatial capacity development in the international development context and continuing professional development through proprietary GIS and open source within the UK. ¬†Chris has 25 years’ experience of the geospatial and remote sensing sector and has delivered projects and research for a wide range of UK government departments, public sector (local authority non departmental public bodies, etc), commercial organisations and for international development organisations and the United Nations organisations.

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Dr. Fiifi Amoako Johnson

Fiifi Amoako Johnson newDr. Fiifi Amoako Johnson is a lecturer in Social Statistics and Demography at the University of Southampton with expertise in geospatial analysis, small area estimation, complex survey modelling and demographic analysis.  His research primarily focuses on healthcare inequalities, climate change, environmental disaster impact and socioeconomic impacts in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

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Dr. Amoako Johnson will contribute to Work Package 2 and 3, working with other partner institutions to understand the spatial impacts of environmental changes and stressors on migration patterns and the socioeconomic and livelihood sustainability of delta residents.  He will contribute to the analysis and mapping of population change and estimating migration at lower geographic level and development of an adaption and migration models for delta residents.  He will take a proactive lead in writing research papers and assisting on the production of conference presentations and research meetings.

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Prof. Steve Darby
SDarbyProf. Stephen Darby is Professor of Physical Geography in Geography and Environment and Head of the Academic Unit.  He has worked at Southampton since 1997. He served as the Vice Chair (Research) of the British Society for Geomorphology (2012-2015) and is currently the Junior Deputy Chair of that society.  Prof. Darby will be working on Work Package 2 for the DECCMA project.

Prof. John Dearing

JDearingProf. John Dearing’s research career has been mainly in palaeoenvironmental change. ¬†He now focuses on the nature of recent social-ecological dynamics, such as trends and thresholds, using lake sediments and other records to reconstruct changes in ecosystem services. He is working with PhD students to apply these methods to understand the vulnerability of DECCMA delta systems.

Prof. Sabu Padmadas

SPadmadasSabu Padmadas is Professor of Demography and Global Health, and co-Director of the Centre for Global Health, Population, Poverty and Policy at Southampton. His research focuses on the application of demographic and statistical methods to global health and population dynamics in low-middle and transition economies, impact evaluation and population projections.

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Prof. Padmadas will provide support and guidance on work package 2 on the demographic and spatial analysis of population change in the delta region.  He will work with researchers from Southampton and other partner institutions on the analysis and quantification of spatial impacts of environmental changes and stressors on migration patterns and the socioeconomic and livelihood sustainability of delta residents. He will also contribute to the conceptual framework on migration, adaptation and vulnerability of the study population, scientific papers and conference proceedings.

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Dr. Attila Lazar

Attila Lazar newDr. Attila Lazar is a post-doctoral Research Fellow, trained mechanical engineer (BEng), environmental scientist (MSc) and riverine and wetland modeller (PhD, post-doc). ¬†He is employed on the ESPA Deltas project which aims to provide the Bangladeshi policy makers with the knowledge and tools to evaluate the effects of policy decisions on people’s livelihoods within the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta, linking changes in the bio-physical environment to livelihoods, poverty and health. Attila is an integrative modeller who designs, implements and tests the model framework, and applies it to study sites to answer policy questions. ¬†Within the DECCMA project, Attila is part of the Work Package 5 (Integration Modelling) team.

Dr Abiy S Kebede

Abiy Kebede newDr. Abiy S. Kebede is a Research Fellow in Integrated Modelling within the Engineering and the Environment Faculty at the University of Southampton and is also part of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. ¬†Abiy has a background in Civil Engineering (BSc), with multiple Master’s degrees in Coastal and Marine Engineering and Management (CoMEM) from three European universities: University of Southampton (UK), Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway).

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Abiy did his PhD at the University of Southampton as part of the EU-funded FP7 CLIMSAVE project, with his thesis titled “The food-water-land-ecosystems nexus in Europe: An integrated assessment”. ¬†Abiy is interested in understanding the potential direct and indirect impacts of climate change, sea-level rise and socio-economic changes and assessing the costs and benefits of adaptation to these changes at different spatial (from local to global) and temporal (from short- to long-term) scales and across multiple sectors/sub-systems for informing robust adaptation policy decision-making. Within the DECCMA project, Abiy will be working as part of the Work Package 5 (Integration Modelling) team, helping to develop and apply the integrated methods and models that will be used to analyse environmental change, adaptation and migration at the case study deltas.

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Frances Dunn

Frances Dunn newFrances Dunn is a postdoctoral researcher and is currently finishing her PhD. Her thesis is focused on modelling multidecadal fluvial sediment fluxes to deltas under future environmental changes. Her background is in physical geography, with a BSc in Geography and an MSc in Environmental Modelling, Monitoring, and Reconstruction from the University of Manchester. Frances is working on Work Package 2 on subsidence and physical adaptation mapping, as well as aiding the delta portal setup and timeline administration.

Gregory Cooper

GCooperGregory Cooper is a first year PhD student at the University of Southampton, studying ‘Socio-ecological tipping points in world deltas’; likely focusing on the Mahanadi and GBM or Volta. He graduated with a first-class degree in Geography in 2014 and his research interests include complex social-ecological systems, environmental change and critical transitions. Gregory’s PhD concentrates on observing/modelling the past and future sustainability of key deltaic socio-ecological functions (e.g. regulating and provision services), with specific reference to tipping point transitions. Saliently, this work assesses the sudden and widespread losses of ecosystem services, livelihoods and the associated sustainability of deltaic populations in the face of growing social and natural stresses in a changing world.

read about Gregs research focus

Sarah Jane Spinney

SSpinneySarah Spinney has degrees in BSc Geography and MSc Climate Change and Risk Management, both from the University of Exeter and commenced her PhD at the University of Southampton 2014. She has an interest in how shifting climate regimes will present new risks to society and how the resilience of exposed populations can be increased; particularly in coastal and fluvial systems. Sarah’s PhD study aims to provide projections of morphological change in deltaic systems under a range of climatic and environmental change scenarios.

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As well as identifying potential critical thresholds in the morphological component of the delta system, this study aims to identify important feedbacks between the morphological system and supporting ecosystem services that effect the habitability of the delta; thus providing a route towards the development of an integrated biophysical assessment tool. It is hoped that this tool can be utilised within Work Package 2 in order to identify vulnerability hotspots in the DECCMA deltas. She is also interested in how the effects of shifting land-use practices will influence biophysical processes, and how viable management strategies can be incorporated into morphological modelling.

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Tristan Berchoux

TBerchouxTristan Berchoux holds a BSc in Environmental Sciences and a MSc in Agricultural Economics, and has previously worked in different international development programmes. Tristan’s research focuses on the spatio-temporal associations between livelihoods and natural hazards. It contributes to DECCMA through different outputs: land cover mapping, characterisation of livelihoods, impact of natural hazards and data gathering.

Giorgia Prati

GPratiGiorgia Prati is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Southampton where she is looking at the implications of migration on women’s adaptive capacity in the Mahanadi delta. She holds an MSc in Climate Change and Development and her previous collaborations include CARE international, Mercy Corps and EuropeAid.


Margherita Fanchiotti

MFanciottiMargherita Fanciotti is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Southampton, where she is looking at tropical cyclone resilience of coastal communities in the Mahanadi delta. She is a civil engineer specialised in flood risk management and her previous collaborations include UNESCO and the World Resources Institute.


Amy Welch

AWelchAmy Welch holds a BSc in Oceans, Climate and Physical Geography and an MSc(Eng) in Civil and Environmental Engineering, both of which were obtained from the University of Liverpool. Her PhD study aims to focus on the development and sustainability of various engineered systems that have been utilised within the four deltas. She will also consider how these systems can be effectively characterised and simulated in coupled integrated models of deltas and coastal zones in general.

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Kashif Majeed Salik

KSalikKashif Salik is a PRISE Senior Research Associate from the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad. He joined the DECCMA team at the University of Southampton to complete his PhD, which aims to explore climate-induced components of migration patterns and associated vulnerabilities and risks on livelihoods/food security and urbanisation through the analysis of socio-economic parameters.

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Kashif did his M.Sc (Hons) degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. He has over 15 years’ experience and has been involved in a number of international/regional projects, including food security/systems, socio-economic vulnerability assessments, infrastructure, water resources development, climate change and environment.

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Previous members

Sophie Day

Dr Sophie Day has over a decade of environmental social science research experience in both academia and consultancy. Her expertise lies around the interplay between the social, policy and technical challenges facing long-term adaptation to climate change √Ę‚ā¨‚Äú particularly in complex coastal contexts at local to international scales. Sophie is working to produce deliverables for Work Task 6.3, √Ę‚ā¨ŇďTheorise interactions between autonomous household adaptation and planned adaptation√Ę‚ā¨¬Ě, for the √Ę‚ā¨ňúAdaptation√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘ Work Package 6.

Carolin Bothe-Tews

Carolin Bothe Tews newCarolin Bothe-Tews is the “Research into Use” Co-ordinator for DECCMA. ¬†She holds a Diploma in Geography from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. ¬†She has almost 20 years of experience in communication and knowledge management, mainly in the field of development co-operation.

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For GIZ (, she worked on the communication and information aspect of various projects in the field of agriculture and environment and was seconded to the FAO Headquarters as deputy project manager for INPhO (, the ‘Information Network on Post-harvest Operations’. ¬†She joined the University of Southampton 5 years ago to support the ASSETS project ( ¬†Her thematic background is agriculture, environment and sustainability.

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Dr Sally Brown

SBrownDr Sally Brown has a background in geomorphology, coastal engineering and climate change adaptation. Sally has a BSc in Geophysical Sciences, MRes in Coastal Engineering for Climate Change, and a PhD in Coastal Engineering. She has joined DECCMA at the University of Southampton to analyse what the impacts of 1.5¬įC mean for delta regions, focusing on implications of sea-level rise, following the global temperature goals agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

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She has previously published research in the Ganges Brahmaputra Meghna delta into subsidence and wetland loss, so is looking forward to expanding her knowledge and working with others in developing nations in DECCMA. She enjoys working across different sectors affected by coastal problems, and evaluating wider development issues on the coast. Previously, Sally’s research assessed the impacts of sea-level rise at a global scale and around European coasts, and wider coastal and management issues in the Maldives, China and in the UK.

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