Dr Stephen Kershaw

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Geosciences

Room: Halsbury Building 135
Brunel University
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1895 266094
Fax: +44 (0)1895 269761
Email: stephen.kershaw@brunel.ac.uk
Web: Personal Website

About Stephen

My research is a diverse range of studies that encompass shallow marine, coastal and terrestrial environments in both geologically recent and older settings. The work aims to: a) interpret environmental change in Earth surface environments in areas associated with active change in the Earth’s crust; and b) assess modern geohazards in those areas.

You can read more about my research on my personal website - earthsurfaceprocesses.com.


  • 1975: BSc in Geology and Zoology
  • 1979: PhD in palaeontology


  • 1980-1995: Lecturer at West London Institute, Isleworth, Middlesex
  • 1995-2003: Lecturer at Brunel University
  • 2003-present: Senior Lecturer at Brunel University


Research Interests

Research Activity

Research Projects

My research began in the 1970s in palaeontology and diversified into sedimentology and environmental geosciences, with a wide base of subdisciplines.
Current research focus is on:

  1. Processes and environmental change in areas of geologically recent (Quaternary Period) evidence in the eastern Mediterranean area (Greece) and in southern China. I supervise research students working in this field in Greece and Mexico.
  2. Palaeoenvironment reconstruction of organic reef deposits in Quaternary of the Mediterranean, and older ages (Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian) in UK, parts of Europe, China and Sweden;
  3. Sedimentology and palaeobiology of the largest mass extinction event in Earth history (Permian-Triassic boundary, in parts of Asia and Europe).
  4. Geohazard research associated with climate change, in Greece and Mexico, including changes in aquifers, flood risk and landslides.

Grants Awarded

Research funding support for field and university visits in recent years from: Chinese Academy of Sciences, CNRS France


1992: Chartered Geologist of the Geological Society of London

Research Supervision

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr Yue Li (Nanjing Institute of Palaeontology, China), visited Brunel Aug 2000 - Aug 2001. Funded by Chinese Academy of Sciences. (5 international English papers, 2 Chinese papers).

Dr Xiaoping Yang (Beijing Research Institute of Petroleum Exploration and Development), visited Brunel May-Oct 2002, funded by her Institute.

Dr Anne-Christine Da Silva (University of Liége, Belgium, June 2008 and February – October 2009), funded by Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS), Belgium.

Postgraduate Researchers

Past students

Dewez, Thomas; Thesis title: Geomorphic markers and elevation models as tools for tectonic geomorphology in central Greece - PhD awarded 2003. Joint first supervisor. Funded by Brunel University.

Teasdale, Phillip: Thesis title: Holocene salt marsh accretion and relative sea-level change in western Scotland. Status: PhD awarded 2005. Second supervisor

Costa, Pedro: Thesis title: Sedimentary signatures of abrupt marine invasions and sudden environmental changes. Status: Mphil awarded October 2006. Second supervisor. Self-funded

Current students

Kalisperi, Despina: Thesis working title: Investigation of uplift patterns, western Crete. Started 2005. First supervisor. Funded by Greek State Scholarship Foundation.

Moisidi, Margarita: Thesis working title: Geophysical signatures of active structural domains in southern Crete. Started 2005. First supervisor. Funded by Greek State Scholarship Foundation.

Al-Maslamani, Mohammed: Thesis title: Assessment of atmospheric emissions due to anthropogenic activities In The State Of Qatar. PhD accepted, to be awarded 2009. First supervisor. Funded by Qatar State funding.

Zuniga De Leon, David: Thesis title: Flood dynamics, hazards and risks in an active alluvial fan system, threatening Ciudad Juárez Chihuahua, México. Started Feb 2008. First supervisor. Funded by PROMEP Mexican government research programme.


My teaching duties include taught courses at undergraduate and MSc level, and research degree supervision of MPhil and PhD projects. In the Institute for the Environment, I coordinate and teach most of the Environmental Management module and teach geosciences in other modules; I also teach geosciences to engineering students in the School of Engineering and Design. My teaching involves a diversity of lectures, practical classes, seminars and field classes.

External Duties

Editorial work

  • 2003 – present: Editorial board member of Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology;
  • 2003 – present: Editorial board member of Facies;
  • 2005 - present: Editorial board of the Journal Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai, Seria Geologia, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Reviewing work

  • 1980 – present: peer-review of papers for following journals: Nature, Geology; Quaternary Science Reviews; SEPM; Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology; Marine Geology; Palaios; Sedimentary Geology; Palaeontology; Facies; Journal of the Geological Society of London; Geological Society of London Special Publication; Quaternaria (Italian); Various conference volumes of the International Association of Fossil Cnidaria and Porifera.
  • 1980 - present: Occasional grant reviews for Leverhulme Trust, NERC (UK), NSERC (Canada) and NSF (USA);


Journal articles

Jia, C. , Huang, J. , Kershaw, S. , Luo, G. , et al.   (2012)   'Microbial response to limited nutrients in shallow water immediately after the end-Permian mass extinction'. Geobiology, 10 (1).  pp. 60 - 71. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2011.00310.x 

Kershaw, S. , Crasquin, S. , Forel, MB. , Randon, C. , et al.   (2011)   'Earliest Triassic microbialites in Çürük Dag, southern Turkey: Composition, sequences and controls on formation'. Sedimentology, 58 (3).  pp. 739 - 755. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3091.2010.01181.x 

Chen, L. , Wang, Y. , Xie, S. , Kershaw, S. , et al.   (2011)   'Molecular records of microbialites following the end-Permian mass extinction in Chongyang, Hubei Province, South China'. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 308 (1-2).  pp. 151 - 159. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.09.010 

Pedoja, K. , Husson, L. , Regard, V. , Cobbold, PR. , et al.   (2011)   'Relative sea-level fall since the last interglacial stage: Are coasts uplifting worldwide?'. Earth-Science Reviews, 108 (1-2).  pp. 1 - 15. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2011.05.002 

Da Silva, AC. , Kershaw, S.  and Boulvain, F.   (2011)   'Sedimentology and stromatoporoid palaeoecology of frasnian (upper devonian) carbonate mounds in southern belgium'. Lethaia, 44 (3).  pp. 255 - 274. doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.2010.00240.x 

Da Silva, AC. , Kershaw, S.  and Boulvain, F.   (2011)   'Stromatoporoid palaeoecology in the Frasnian (Upper Devonian) Belgian platform, and its applications in interpretation of carbonate platform environments'. Palaeontology, 54 (4).  pp. 883 - 905. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2011.01037.x 

Liao, W. , Wang, Y. , Kershaw, S. , Weng, Z.  and Yang, H.   (2010)   'Shallow-marine dysoxia across the Permian-Triassic boundary: Evidence from pyrite framboids in the microbialite in South China'. Sedimentary Geology, 232 (1-2).  pp. 77 - 83. doi: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2010.09.019 

Wignall, PB. , Kershaw, S. , Collin, PY.  and Crasquin-Soleau, S.   (2009)   'Erosional truncation of uppermost Permian shallow-marine carbonates and implications for Permian-Triassic boundary events: Comment'. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, 121 (5-6).  pp. 954 - 956. doi: 10.1130/B26424.1 

Collin, P-Y. , Kershaw, S. , Crasquin-Soleau, S.  and Feng, Q.   (2009)   'Facies changes and diagenetic processes across the Permian-Triassic boundary event horizon, Great Bank of Guizhou, South China: a controversy of erosion and dissolution'. Sedimentology, 56 (3).  pp. 677 - 693. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3091.2008.00992.x 

Mu, X. , Kershaw, S. , Li, Y. , Guo, L. , et al.   (2009)   'High-resolution carbon isotope changes in the Permian–Triassic boundary interval, Chongqing, South China; implications for control and growth of earliest Triassic microbialites'. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 36 (6).  pp. 434 - 441. doi: 10.1016/j.jseaes.2007.08.004 Download publication 

Kershaw, S. , Crasquin, S. , Collin, P-Y. , Li, Y. , et al.   (2009)   'Microbialites as disaster forms in anachronistic facies following the end-Permian mass extinction: a discussion'. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 56 (6).  pp. 809 - 813. doi: 10.1080/08120090903002623 

Forel, MB. , Crasquin, S. , Kershaw, S. , Feng, QL.  and Collin, PY.   (2009)   'Ostracods (Crustacea) and water oxygenation in the earliest Triassic of South China: Implications for oceanic events at the end-Permian mass extinction'. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 56 (6).  pp. 815 - 823. doi: 10.1080/08120090903002631 

Pedoja, K. , Shen, J-W. , Kershaw, S.  and Tang, C.   (2008)   'Coastal quarternary morphologies on the northern coast of the South China Sea, China, and their implications for current tectonic models: a review and preliminary study'. Marine Geology, 255 (3-4).  pp. 103 - 117. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2008.02.002 

Wignall, P. , Kershaw, S. , Collin, P-Y.  and Crasquin, S.   (2008)   'Comment on: Payne, J.L., Lehrmann, D.J., Follet, D., Seibel, M., Kump, L.R., Riccardi, A., Altiner, D., Sano, H., and Wei, J-Y. 2007. Erosional truncation of uppermost Permian shallow-marine carbonates and implications for Permian-Triassic boundary events'. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 119 pp. 771 - 784. 

Sandström, S.  and Kershaw, S.   (2008)   'Palaeobiology, ecology, and distribution of stromatoporoid faunas in biostromes of the mid-Ludlow of Gotland'. Acta Palaeontological Polonica, 53 (2).  pp. 293 - 302. doi: 10.4202/app.2008.0210 Download publication 

Andrews, JE. , Leeder, MR. , Portman, C. , Rowe, PJ. , et al.   (2007)   'Discussion on Pleistocene calcified cyanobacterial mounds, Perachora peninsula, Central Greece: A controversy of growth and history'. Journal of the Geological Society, 164 (5).  pp. 1065 - 1072. doi: 10.1144/0016-76492006-193 

Kershaw, S. , Li, Y. , Crasquin-Soleau, S. , Feng, Q. , et al.   (2007)   'Earliest Triassic microbialites in the South China block and other areas: Controls on their growth and distribution'. Facies: international journal of paleontology, sedimentology and geology, 53 (3).  pp. 409 - 425. doi: 10.1007/s10347-007-0105-5 

Crasquin-Soleau, S. , Galfetti, T. , Bucher, H. , Kershaw, S.  and Feng, Q.   (2007)   'Ostracod recovery in the aftermath of the Permian-Triassic crisis: Palaeozoic-Mesozoic turnover'. Hydrobiologia, 585 (1).  pp. 13 - 27. doi: 10.1007/s10750-007-0625-6 

Ferranti, L. , Monaco, C. , Antonioli, F. , Maschio, L. , et al.   (2007)   'The contribution of regional uplift and coseismic slip to the vertical crustal motion in the Messina Straits, southern Italy: Evidence from raised Late Holocene shorelines'. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 112 (6).  doi: 10.1029/2006JB004473 

Antonioli, F. , Ferranti, L.  and Kershaw, S.   (2006)   'A glacial isostatic adjustment origin for double MIS 5.5 and Holocene marine notches in the coastline of Italy'. Quaternary International, 145-146 pp. 19 - 29. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2005.07.004 

Antonioli, F. , Kershaw, S. , Renda, P.  and Rust, D.   (2006)   'Elevation of the last interglacial highstand in Sicily(Italy): A benchmark of coastal tectonics'. Quaternary International, 145-146 pp. 3 - 18. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2005.07.002 

Königshof, P.  and Kershaw, S.   (2006)   'Growth forms and palaeoenvironmental interpretation of stromatoporoids in a Middle Devonian reef, southern Morocco (west Sahara)'. Facies, 52 (2).  pp. 299 - 306. doi: 10.1007/s10347-005-0041-1 Download publication 

Ferranti, L. , Monaco, C. , Antonioli, F. , Maschio, L.  and Kershaw, S.   (2006)   'Late Holocene partitioning between regional and co-seismic uplift on the Scilla fault, Messina Straits: Seismotectonic implications and long-term displacement clustering'. Rendiconti della Societa Geologica Italiana, 2 pp. 144 - 145. 

Antonioli, F. , Ferranti, L. , Lambeck, K. , Kershaw, S. , et al.   (2006)   'Late Pleistocene to Holocene record of changing uplift rates in southern Calabria and northeastern Sicily (southern Italy, Central Mediterranean Sea)'. Tectonophysics, 422 (1-4).  pp. 23 - 40. doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2006.05.003 

Kershaw, S.  and Guo, L.   (2006)   'Pleistocene calcified cyanobacterial mounds, Perachora Peninsula, central Greece: A controversy of growth and history'. Geological Society Special Publication, 255 pp. 53 - 69. doi: 10.1144/GSL.SP.2006.255.01.05 

Kershaw, S. , Wood, R.  and Guo, L.   (2006)   'Stromatoporoid response to muddy substrates in Silurian limestones'. GFF, 128 (2).  pp. 131 - 138. 

Kershaw, S. , Braga, JC.  and Guo, L.   (2005)   'A Holocene coral-algal reef at Mavra Litharia, Gulf of Corinth, Greece: Structure, history and applications in relative sea-level change'. Marine Geology, 215 (3-4).  pp. 171 - 192. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2004.12.003 

Young, GA.  and Kershaw, S.   (2005)   'Classification and controls of internal banding in palaeozoic stromatoporoids and colonial corals'. Palaeontology, 48 (3).  pp. 623 - 651. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2005.00480.x 

Crasquin-Soleau, S.  and Kershaw, S.   (2005)   'Ostracod fauna from the Permian-Triassic boundary interval of South China (Huaying Mountains, eastern Sichuan Province): Palaeoenvironmental significance'. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 217 (1-2).  pp. 131 - 141. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2004.11.027 

Li, Y. , Matsumoto, R.  and Kershaw, S.   (2005)   'Sedimentary and biotic evidence of a warm-water enclave in the cooler oceans of the latest Ordovician glacial phase, Yangtze Platform, South China block'. Island Arc, 14 (4).  pp. 623 - 635. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1738.2005.00472.x 

Kershaw, S.   (2004)   'Comment-earliest Triassic microbialite micro- to megastructures in the Huaying area of Sichuan province, South China: Implications for the nature of oceanic conditions after the end-Permian extinction (Ezaki et al., 2003)'. Palaios, 19 (4).  pp. 414 - 416. doi: 10.1669/0883-1351(2004)019<0414:CTMMTM>2.0.CO;2 

Li, Y. , Kershaw, S.  and Xu, C.   (2004)   'Control of carbonate sedimentation and reef growth in Llandovery sequences on the Northwestern margin of the Yangtze Platform, South China'. Gondwana Research, 7 (4).  pp. 937 - 949. 

Li, Y. , Kershaw, S.  and Mu, X.   (2004)   'Ordovician reef systems and settings in South China before the Late Ordovician mass extinction'. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 205 (3-4).  pp. 235 - 254. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2003.12.010 

Antonioli, F. , Kershaw, S. , Rust, D.  and Verrubbi, V.   (2003)   'Holocene sea-level change in Sicily and its implications for tectonic models: New data from the Taormina area, northeast Sicily'. Marine Geology, 196 (1-2).  pp. 53 - 71. doi: 10.1016/S0025-3227(03)00029-X 

Kershaw, S.  and Guo, L.   (2003)   'Pleistocene cyanobacterial mounds in the Perachora Peninsula, Gulf of Corinth, Greece: Structure and applications to interpreting sea-level history and terrace sequences in an unstable tectonic setting'. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 193 (3-4).  pp. 503 - 514. doi: 10.1016/S0031-0182(03)00263-3 

Yue, L.  and Kershaw, S.   (2003)   'Reef reconstruction after extinction events of the latest ordovician in the Yangtze platform, South China'. Facies, 48 (13).  pp. 269 - 284. doi: 10.1007/BF02667544 Download publication 

Kershaw, S. , Guo, L. , Swift, A.  and Fan, J.   (2002)   'Microbialites in the Permian-Triassic boundary interval in central China: Structure, age and distribution'. Facies, 47 (1).  pp. 83 - 89. doi: 10.1007/BF02667707 Download publication 

Yue, L. , Kershaw, S.  and Xu, C.   (2002)   'Biotic structure and morphology of patch reefs from South China (Ningqiang formation, Telychian, Llandovery, Silurian)'. Facies. pp. 133 - 148. 

Kershaw, S.  and Guo, L.   (2002)   'Erratum: Marine notches in coastal cliffs: Indicators of relative sea-level change, Perachora Peninsula, central Greece (Marine Geology (2001) 179 (213-228) pii: S0025322701002183)'. Marine Geology, 185 (3-4).  pp. 471. doi: 10.1016/S0025-3227(02)00168-8 

Sandström, O.  and Kershaw, SJ.   (2002)   'Ludlow (Silurian) stromatoporoid biostromes from Gotland, Sweden: Facies, depositional models and modern analogues'. Sedimentology, 49 (3).  pp. 379 - 395. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3091.2002.00444.x 

Kershaw, S.  and Guo, L.   (2001)   'Marine notches in coastal cliffs: Indicators of relative sea-level change, Perachora Peninsula, central Greece'. Marine Geology, 179 (3-4).  pp. 213 - 228. doi: 10.1016/S0025-3227(01)00218-3 

Zhang, T. , Kershaw, S. , Wan, Y.  and Lan, G.   (2000)   'Geochemical and facies evidence for palaeoenvironmental change during the Late Ordovician Hirnantian glaciation in South Sichuan Province, China'. Global and Planetary Change, 24 (2).  pp. 133 - 152. doi: 10.1016/S0921-8181(99)00063-6 

Rust, D.  and Kershaw, S.   (2000)   'Holocene tectonic uplift patterns in northeastern Sicily: Evidence from marine notches in coastal outcrops'. Marine Geology, 167 (1-2).  pp. 105 - 126. doi: 10.1016/S0025-3227(00)00019-0 

Kershaw, S.   (2000)   'Quaternary reefs of northeastern Sicily: Structure and growth controls in an unstable tectonic setting'. Journal of Coastal Research, 16 (4).  pp. 1037 - 1062. 

Fagerstrom, JA. , West, RR. , Kershaw, S.  and Cossey, PJ.   (2000)   'Spatial competition among clonal organisms in extant and selected Paleozoic reef communities'. Facies. pp. 1 - 24. 

Kershaw, S. , Zhang, T.  and Lan, G.   (1999)   'A ?microbialite carbonate crust at the Permian-triassic boundary in South China, and its palaeoenvironmental significance'. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 146 (1-4).  pp. 1 - 18. doi: 10.1016/S0031-0182(98)00139-4 

Kershaw, S.  and Brunton, FR.   (1999)   'Palaeozoic stromatoporoid taphonomy: Ecologic and environmental significance'. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 149 (1-4).  pp. 313 - 328. doi: 10.1016/S0031-0182(98)00209-0 

Kershaw, S.   (1998)   'The applications of stromatoporoid palaeobiology in palaeoenvironmental analysis'. Palaeontology, 41 (3).  pp. 509 - 544. 

Stewart, IS. , Cundy, A. , Kershaw, S.  and Firth, C.   (1997)   'Holocene coastal uplift in the Taormina area, northeastern Sicily: Implications for the southern prolongation of the Calabrian seismogenic belt'. Journal of Geodynamics, 24 (1-4).  pp. 37 - 50. 

Kershaw, S.   (1997)   'Palaeoenvironmental change in Silurian stromatoporoid reefs, Gotland, Sweden'. Boletin - Real Sociedad Espanola de Historia Natural: Seccion Geologica, 91 (1-4).  pp. 329 - 342. 

Firth, C. , Stewart, I. , Mcguire, WJ. , Kershaw, S.  and Vita-Finzi, C.   (1996)   'Coastal elevation changes in eastern Sicily: Implications for volcano instability at Mount Etna'. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 110 (1).  pp. 153 - 167. doi: 10.1144/​GSL.SP.1996.110.01.12 

Conference papers

Kalisperi, D. , Soupios, P. , Kouli, M. , Barsukov, P. , et al.   (2009)   'Coastal aquifer assessment using geophysical methods (TEM, VES), case study: Northern Crete, Greece' , WSEAS Conferences. University of
Cambridge. [unpublished].  

Kershaw, S. , Li, Y.  and Guo, L.   (2005)   'Micritic fabrics define sharp margins of Wenlock patch reefs (middle Silurian) in Gotland and England' . doi: 10.1144/GSL.SP.2007.275.01.06 

Page last updated: Wednesday 28 October 2015