Willem Roland Gehrels

Willem Roland Gehrels


Former affiliation

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Research interests

  • Recent accelerations of sea-level rise
  • Rapid sea-level change during interglacials
  • Quantitative methods of sea-level reconstruction using microfossils (foraminifera, testate amoebae)
  • Patterns of Holocene isostatic crustal movement in northeastern North America and western Europe
  • High-precision dating techniques for sea-level reconstruction


I am a Quaternary geologist and a physical geographer who specialises in sea-level studies. I was appointed as a Chair in Physical Geography in June 2013. Prior to coming to York I was at Plymouth University for almost 18 years, starting as a lecturer and going through several promotions until I was awarded a Chair in 2007. At Plymouth I was a member of the Quaternary Environments Research Group and headed a small research cluster in sea-level studies. I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Durham with Ian Shennan. My PhD at the University of Maine (USA) investigated Holocene sea-level changes in the Gulf of Maine and was supervised by Dan Belknap and Joe Kelley. My first endeavours in sea-level studies were in collaboration with the late Orson van de Plassche at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam where I completed an MSc in Applied Quaternary Geology.

Employment History

June 2013 – present: Professor in Physical Geography, Department of Environment, University of York, UK


Sept 2007 – May 2013: Professor of Physical Geography, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, UK.


Sept 2004 – Aug 2007: Reader in Sea-Level Studies, School of Geography, University of Plymouth.


Sept 2001 – Aug 2004:Principal Lecturer, School of Geography, University of Plymouth.


Sept 1996 – Aug 2001: Senior Lecturer, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Plymouth.


Sept 1995 – Aug 1996: Lecturer, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Plymouth, UK.


Oct 1994 – Aug 1995: Senior Research Assistant, Department of Geography, University of Durham, UK.


Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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