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Dr. Michael-Shawn Fletcher

Senior Lecturer
School of Geography
University of Melbourne
221 Bouverie St
3053 Carlton


Expertise & Interests

Overview / specialty        I am a Biogeographer. That means I am interested in understanding the patterns in nature and the processes that have led to them. In this endeavour, I focus on time, guided by the notion that the past holds the key to understanding the future. More specifically, I am interested in the long-term interactions between humans, climate, disturbance (such as fire) and vegetation. My current work involves developing and integrating records of environmental change from across the Southern Hemisphere using the information stored in the bottom of lakes. This affords me a window in to time that stretches from yearly changes to changes that occur over thousands of years or longer. This information sheds light on changes in climate, vegetation dynamics, the role of humans in the landscape, the frequency and magnitude of wildfire and many other processes.
PAGES interests        2k Network, EcoRe3, LandCover6k
Topics        Biogeochemical processes, Climate dynamics, Climate variability, Ecosystem processes, Fire, Forests, Human impacts & interactions, Interannual-decadal varaibility, Proxy development, Thresholds and abrupt changes, Volcanoes
Timescales        Anthropocene (last 100 years), Holocene, Last millennia, Last glacial cycle, Neogene, Observational period, Pleistocene
Regions        Australasia, Mid-latitude Southern Hemisphere, South America
Archives        Instrumental records, Lake sediments, Middens, Peat, Tree rings
Sector        Academia / Education, Research
Discipline        (Paleo)climatology, (Paleo)ecology, Palynology



Mariani, M, and Fletcher, M.-S., (2016) The Southern Annular Mode determines inter-annual and centennial-scale fire activity in temperate southwest Tasmania, Australia. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1002/2016GL068082

Rees, A.B.H., Cwynar, L.C., and Fletcher, M.-S. (2015) Southern Westerly Winds submit to the ENSO regime: A multiproxy paleohyrdology record from Lake Dobson, Tasmania. Quaternary Science Reviews. (126) 254–263.

Fletcher, M.-S., Cadd, H.R., and Haberle, S.G. (2015) Can we infer vegetation change from peat carbon and nitrogen content? A palaeoecological test from Tasmania, Australia. The Holocene. doi: 10.1177/0959683615591354

Fletcher, M.-S., Benson, A., Heijnis, H., Gadd, P., Cwynar, L.C., Rees, A.B.H., (2015) Changes in biomass burning mark the onset an ENSO-influenced climate regime at 42°S in southwest Tasmania, Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews. (122) 222–232.

Fletcher, M.-S., (2015) Mast seeding and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation: a long-term relationship? Plant Ecology, 216:527–533.

Fletcher, M.-S., Wolfe, B.B., Whitlock, C., Pompeani, D.P., Heijnis, H., Hablerle, S.G., Gadd, P.S. and Bowman, D.M.J.S. (2014) The legacy of mid Holocene fire in Tasmania. Journal of Biogeography. (41) 476–488.

Fletcher, M.-S., Wood, S.W., and Haberle, S.G. (2014) A fire driven irreversible catastrophic regime shift reveals alternative stable states in a temperate forest/non-forest mosaic. Ecology, (95) 2504-2513.

Reeves, J.M., Barrows, T.T., Cohen, T.J., Kiem, A.S., Bostock, H.C., Fitzsimmons, K.E., Jansen, J.D., Kemp, J., Krause, C., Petherick, L., Fletcher, M.-S. and OZ-INTIMATE Members (2013). Climate variability over the last 35,000 years recorded in marine and terrestrial archives in the Australian region: an OZ-INTIMATE compilation. Quaternary Science Reviews 74, 21-34.

Petherick, L., Bostock, H., Cohen, T., Fitzsimmons, K. Tibby, J., Fletcher, M.-S., Moss, P., Reeves, J., Mooney, S., and Barrows, T. (2013) Climatic records over the past 30 ka from temperate Australia–a synthesis from the Oz-INTIMATE workgroup. Quaternary Science Reviews. 74, 58-77.

Fletcher, M.-S., Moreno, P.I. (2012) Vegetation, climate and fire regime changes in the Andean region of southern Chile (38°S) covaried with centennial-scale climate anomalies in the tropical Pacific over the last 1500 years. Quaternary Science Reviews, (46) 46-53.

Fletcher, M.-S., Moreno, P.I. (2012) Have the Southern Westerlies changed in a zonally symmetric manner over the last 14,000 years?: a hemisphere-wide take on a controversial problem. Quaternary International, (253) 32-46.

Fletcher, M.-S., Moreno, P.I. (2011) Zonally symmetric changes in the strength and position of the Southern Westerlies drove atmospheric CO2 variations over the past 14 k.y. Geology, 39(5) 419-422.

Fletcher, M.-S., Thomas, I. (2010) A quantitative Late Quaternary temperature reconstruction from western Tasmania, Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews, (29) 2351-2361.

Fletcher, M.-S., Thomas, I. (2010) The origin and temporal development of an ancient cultural landscape. Journal of Biogeography, (37) 2183-2196.

Fletcher, M.-S., Thomas, I. (2010) A Holocene record of sea level, vegetation, people and fire from western Tasmania, Australia. The Holocene (20) 351-361.

Fletcher, M.-S., Thomas, I. (2007) Holocene vegetation and climate change from near Lake Pedder, south-west Tasmania, Australia. Journal of Biogeography, (34) 665-677.

Fletcher, M.-S., Thomas, I. (2007) Modern pollen-vegetation relationships in western Tasmania, Australia. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, (146) 146-168.