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Peter Fleming Award

The Peter Fleming Award is an award of up to £9,000 for a geographical research project that seeks to advance geographical science. Awarded since 2004, the Peter Fleming Awards aim to support the development of geographical knowledge and understanding.

2007 Peter Fleming Award recipient Dr Pete Langdon cored lake sediments in Patagonia in order to reconstruct climatic variability over the last 500 years

These awards are no longer given. For details of all grants currently given by the Society visit the Grants homepage.








Peter Fleming Award recipients

  2014: Dr Gareth Clay (University of Manchester). 'Is the terrestrial sink of greenhouse gases going to change? Measuring the oxidative ratio of Scandinavian peatlands'

In May 2013, the mean daily CO2 concentration recorded at Mauna Loa observatory breached 400ppm for the first time in human history. With ever increasing release of anthropogenic greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it is necessary to estimate the capacity of the global biosphere to absorb the emissions we all produce. This project proposed to estimate the oxidative ratio of northern hemisphere peatlands as a novel method to assess the ability to sequester carbon dioxide.

  2013: Dr Lindsay Banin (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology). 'Are Dipterocarps Different? Assessing the role of species traits in determining forest growth and production - Borneo'

Forest growth and above-ground production rates are reportedly greater in Borneo than elsewhere in the tropical realm. This has putatively been attributed to the dominant tree family, the Dipterocarpaceae, which is largely absent in the other tropical regions. Are these trees better able to access resources for growth or do they allocate their resources differently? This research project will assess above and below-ground biomass and nutrient allocation in seedlings belonging to dipterocarp and non-dipterocarp families and on a range of soil types in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve.

  2012: The fieldwork was postponed and the grant withdrawn.

  2011: Dr Stephanie Mills (University of Kingston) and Dr Tim Barrows (University of Exeter). 'Ocean dynamics and terrestrial changes - Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa'

Changes in atmospheric and oceanic circulation systems have global implications for climate change. This research assessed the impact of changes in the Agulhas current to test how variations in ocean circulation affected terrestrial conditions, atmospheric circulation and ice age climates.

  2010: Dr David Rippin (University of Hull) and Dr Jonathan Carrivick (University of Leeds). 'Dynamical responses of small, cold Arctic glaciers to climate change Kårsaglaciären is a small, cold glacier with a shallow mass balance gradient and low ice velocity using ground penetrating radar'

This study assessed the dynamics of small, cold Arctic glaciers in response to climate change.

  2009: Dr Andy Hodson (University of Sheffield). 'Microbial enhancement of glacier melt'

Some 10 trillion micro-organisms are liberated by glaciers melting every year. These cells attach themselves to other particles, grow and increase surface melt rates by darkening the surface absorbing solar radiation, in turn increasing melt further. This project studied the feedback mechanisms on three Spitsbergen glaciers at various stages of retreat.

  2008: Dr Andrew Thomas (Manchester Metropolitan University). 'Co2 and N2o emissions from soils along a Kalahari rainfall gradient'

This study focussed on the relationship between soil gaseous emissions, climate and grazing. These data are needed to predict regional environmental and climatic changes, with implications for the livelihood of Kalahari pastoralists.

  2007: Dr Peter Langdon (University of Southampton). 'Testing the potential of temperature and precipitation proxies from recent lake archives in Patagonia'

The project reconstructed high-resolution reconstructions of climatic variability over the last 500 years for multiple lakes in Patagonia. The sensitivity of two proxies of climate change in the Rio Chacabuco region, chironomids and stable isotopes, were tested.

  2006: Dr Charlie Bristow (Birkbeck College, University of London). 'Paleolake Megachad Shoreline Chronology: Evidence for humid periods in the Sahara'

The project dated palaeolake shorelines in the southern Sahara. These shorelines around the lake contain a record of late Pleistocene and Holocene climate change recording changes in precipitation and evapotranspiration.

  2006: Dr Jos Barlow (University of East Anglia). 'Biodiversity and ecosystem response to forest fires in Amazonian forests'

The project studied current fire dynamics in tropical rainforests, providing information about biodiversity, climate change and the long-term sustainability of the world's tropical forests. Fieldwork was conducted in Para (representing core Amazonian forest) and Roraima (representing transitional forest).

  2005: Dr Philip Hughes (University of Manchester). 'Quaternary glacial history of Montenegro'

A study of Pleistocene glaciation in the Dinaric Alps, Montenegro, involving the detailed mapping, sedimentological analysis and dating of glacial and periglacial landforms.

  2004: Dr Mike Searle (Oxford University). 'Makalu-Barun Expedition 2005'

Part of a study of the entire Nepal-South Tibet Himalaya, this study mapped and collected over 80 rock samples to determine timing of metamorphism and the erosional history around the Barun glacier.

  2004: Dr Kathleen Nicoll and Dr Heather Viles (Oxford University). 'Landscape evolution and hydroclimatic change in the Cunene Sand Sea, NW Namibia'

The first integrated field survey of the hyperarid Cunene Sand Sea, in cooperation with the Republic of Namibia Directorate of Survey and the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia.

For further information on the projects listed above, including a summary of the research and expedition reports, please browse the Society's Expeditions Database.

About the Award

Peter Fleming, born 1907, was educated at Eton and Oxford, went on to become literary editor of The Spectator and Special Correspondent for The Times, traveling widely.

In 1932, Fleming signed up to an expedition, advertised in The Times. The expedition travelled to Sao Paolo, to the rivers Aragauaia and Tapirapé, heading towards the likely last-known position of the Fawcett expedition. They continued up the Tapirapé to Sao Domingo to look for Fawcett, making slow progress. They admitted defeat after several days. Fleming’s book of the trip, Brazilian Adventure, was a bestseller, launching his writing career.

Peter Fleming died in 1979. The Fleming Award is given in his honour. The grant has been awarded by the Society annually since 2004, for a research project that seeks to advance geographical science. It is generously supported by the Peter Fleming Charitable Trust.

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