Staff profiles

Marcus VandergoesPaleoecologist: Climate and Environmental Change

Vandergoes Marcus 2200



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I am a paleoecologist whose research focuses on reconstructing historic and prehistoric environmental change through the analysis of lake and peat sediment cores. This work allows insight into how ecosystems and environments have responded to climate change, landscape evolution and human impact. I am the joint programme leader for the MBIE-funded project ‘Our Lakes Health; past, present and which aims to characterise the health of our lakes by uncovering their environmental history from sediment cores taken from 380 New Zealand lakes. The project uses a combination of traditional environmental reconstruction techniques and more recent methods such as environmental DNA and high resolution core scanning to characterise current lake health and explore rates and causes of water quality change over the last ~ 1000 years in New Zealand. I also lead research that reconstructs and assess the influence of past climate changes on New Zealand. This research has focussed on developing high resolution (annual-decadal resolved) paleoclimate records from New Zealand lake sediment cores to investigate changes in hydrologic and climate regimes related to Southern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation patterns My research interests include • reconstructing high-resolution records of climate and environmental change for New Zealand to provide a context for understanding current and future change. • defining pre-human ecological baseline conditions from lakes to guide restoration and conservation. • understanding the role of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean in driving past climate. • developing quantitative methods in environmental and paleoclimate reconstruction including temperature transfer functions from chironomids and bacterial lipids to reconstruct past temperature and measures of lake productivity using hyperspectral core scanning. My field work and research experience include working in Antarctica, New Zealand, Patagonia, USA and Tasmania.


  • PhD, Physical Geography
  • MSc, Physical Geography
  • PGDipSci, Physical Geography
  • BSc, Physical Geography and Zoology

Areas of expertise

  • Paleontology: Paleoecology
  • Geochemist: Organic geochemistry
  • Geochronology: Dating Paleoclimate archieves
  • Paleontology: Micropaleontology
  • Paleontology: Paleoenvironmental Analysis
  • Paleontology: Palynology
  • Paleontology: Chironomid Analysis
  • Paleontology: Paleoclimatology
  • Geochronology: 14C
  • Geochronology: Bayesian Modelling

Major Publications

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  • Maxwell, J.J.; Howarth, J.D.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Jacobsen, G.E.; Barber, I.G. 2016. The timing and importance of arboriculture and agroforestry in a temperate East Polynesia Society, the Moriori, Rekohu (Chatham Island), Quaternary Science Reviews 149: p. 306-325. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.08.006. p. 306-325
  • Roop, H.A.; Levy, R.H.; Dunbar, G.B.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Howarth, J.D.; Fitzsimons, S.; Moon, H.S.; Zammit, C.; Ditchburn, R.G.; Baisden, W.T.; Yoon, H.I. 2016. A hydroclimate-proxy model based on sedimentary facies in an annually laminated sequence from Lake Ohau, South Island, New Zealand, Journal of paleolimnology 55(1): p. 1-16. DOI: 10.1007/s10933-015-9853-3. p. 1-16
  • Zink, K.-G.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Bauersachs, T.; Newnham, R.M.; Rees, A.B.H.; Schwark, L. 2016. A refined paleotemperature calibration for New Zealand limnic environments using differentiation of branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether (brGDGT) sources, Journal of Quaternary Science 31(7): p. 823-835. DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2908. p. 823-835
  • Pedro, J.B.; Bostock, H.C.; Bitz, C.M.; He, F.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Steig, E.J.; Chase, B.; Krause, C.E.; Rasmussen, S.O.; Markle, B.R.; Cortese, G. 2016. The spatial extent and dynamics of the Antarctic Cold Reversal, Nature geoscience 9(1): p. 51-55. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2580. p. 51-55
  • Zhuang, G.; Pagani, M.; Chamberlin, C.; Strong, D.T.; Vandergoes, M.J. 2015. Altitudinal shift in stable hydrogen isotopes and microbial tetraether distribution in soils from the Southern Alps, NZ : implications for paleoclimatology and paleoaltimetry, Organic geochemistry 79: p. 56-64. DOI: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2014.12.007. p. 56-64
  • Massaferro, J.; Larocque-Tobler, I.; Brooks, S.J.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Dieffenbacher-Krall, A.; Moreno, P. 2014. Quantifying climate change in Huelmo mire (Chile, Northwestern Patagonia) during the Last Glacial Termination using a newly developed chironomid-based temperature model, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 399: p. 214-224. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.01.013. p. 214-224
  • Doughty, A.M.; Anderson, B.M.; Mackintosh, A.N.; Kaplan, M.R.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Barrell, D.J.A.; Denton, G.H.; Schaefer, J.M.; Chinn, T.J.H.; Putnam, A.E. 2013. Evaluation of Lateglacial temperatures in the Southern Alps of New Zealand based on glacier modelling at Irishman Stream, Ben Ohau Range, Quaternary Science Reviews 74: p. 160-169. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.09.013. p. 160-169
  • Vandergoes, M.J.; Hogg, A.G.; Lowe, D.J.; Newnham, R.M.; Denton, G.H.; Southon, J.; Barrell, D.J.A.; Wilson, C.J.N.; McGlone, M.S.; Allan, A.S.R.; Almond, P.C.; Petchey, F.; Dabell, K.; Dieffenbacher-Krall, A.C.; Blaauw, M. 2013. A revised age for the Kawakawa/Oruanui tephra, a key marker for the Last Glacial Maximum in New Zealand, Quaternary Science Reviews 74: p. 195-201. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.11.006. p. 195-201
  • Vandergoes, M.J.; Newnham, R.M.; Denton, G.H.; Blaauw, M.; Barrell, D.J.A. 2013. The anatomy of Last Glacial Maximum climate variations in south Westland, New Zealand, derived from pollen records, Quaternary Science Reviews 74: p. 215-229. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.04.015. p. 215-229
  • Newnham, R.; McGlone, M.; Moar, N.; Wilmshurst, J.; Vandergoes, M.J. 2013. The vegetation cover of New Zealand at the Last Glacial Maximum, Quaternary Science Reviews 74: p. 202-2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.08.022. p. 202-2014
  • Barrell, D.J.A.; Almond, P.C.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Lowe, D.J.; Newnham, R.M. 2013. A composite pollen-based stratotype for inter-regional evaluation of climatic events in New Zealand over the past 30,000 years (NZ-INTIMATE project), Quaternary Science Reviews 74: p. 4-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.04.002. p. 4-20
  • Newnham, R.M.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Sikes, E.; Carter, L.; Wilmshurst, J.M.; Lowe, D.J.; McGlone, M.S.; Sandiford, A. 2012. Does the bipolar seesaw extend to the terrestrial southern mid-latitudes?, Quaternary Science Reviews 36: p. 214-222. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.04.013. p. 214-222
  • Golledge, N.R.; Mackintosh, A.N.; Anderson, B.M.; Buckley, K.M.; Doughty, A.M.; Barrell, D.J.A.; Denton, G.H.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Andersen, B.G.; Schaefer, J.M. 2012. Last Glacial Maximum climate in New Zealand inferred from a modelled Southern Alps icefield, Quaternary Science Reviews 46: p.30-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.05.004. p.30-45
  • Lorrey, A.M.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Almond, P.; Renwick, J.; Stephens, T.; Bostock, H.; Mackintosh, A.; Newnham, R.; Williams, P.W.; Ackerley, D.; Neil, H.; Fowler, A.M. 2012. Palaeocirculation across New Zealand during the last glacial maximum at ~21 ka, Quaternary Science Reviews 36: p.189-213. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.09.025. p.189-213
  • Kaplan, M.R.; Strelin, J.A.; Schaefer, J.M.; Denton, G.H.; Finkel, R.C.; Schwartz, R.; Putnam, A.E.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Goehring, B.M.; Travis, S.G. 2011. In-situ cosmogenic 10Be production rate at Lago Argentino, Patagonia : implications for late-glacial climate chronology, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 309(1/2): p. 21-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2011.06.018. p. 21-32
  • Strelin, J.A.; Denton, G.H.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Ninnemann, U.S.; Putnam, A.E. 2011. Radiocarbon chronology of the late-glacial Puerto Bandera moraines, southern Patagonian Icefield, Argentina, Quaternary Science Reviews 30(19/20): p. 2551-2569. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2011.05.004. p. 2551-2569
  • Zink, K.-G.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Mangelsdorf, K.; Dieffenbacher-Krall, A.C.; Schwark, L. 2010. Application of bacterial glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) to develop modern and past temperature estimates from New Zealand lakes, Organic geochemistry 41(9): p. 1060-1066. DOI: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2010.03.004. p. 1060-1066
  • Massaferro, J.I.; Moreno, P.I.; Denton, G.H.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Dieffenbacher-Krall, A. 2009. Chironomid and pollen evidence for climate fluctuations during the Last Glacial Termination in NW Patagonia, Quaternary Science Reviews 28(5/6): p. 517-525. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2008.11.004. p. 517-525
  • Vandergoes, M.J.; Dieffenbacher-Krall, A.C.; Newnham, R.M.; Denton, G.H.; Blaauw, M. 2008. Cooling and changing seasonality in the Southern Alps, New Zealand during the Antarctic Cold Reversal, Quaternary Science Reviews 27(5/6): p. 589-601. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.11.015. p. 589-601
  • Alloway, B.V.; Lowe, D.J.; Barrell, D.J.A.; Newnham, R.M.; Almond, P.C.; Augustinus, P.C.; Bertler, N.A.N.; Carter, L.; Litchfield, N.J.; McGlone, M.S.; Shulmeister, J.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Williams, P.W.; NZ-INTIMATE members 2007. Towards a climate event stratigraphy for New Zealand over the past 30,000 years (NZ-INTIMATE project), Journal of Quaternary Science 22(1): p. 9-35. p. 9-35
  • Dieffenbacher-Krall, A.C.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Denton, G.H. 2007. An inference model for mean summer air temperatures in the Southern Alps, New Zealand, using subfossil chironomids, Quaternary Science Reviews 26(19-21): p. 2487-2504. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.06.016. p. 2487-2504
  • Newnham, R.M.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Hendy, C.H.; Lowe, D.J.; Preusser, F. 2007. A terrestrial palynological record for the last two glacial cycles from southwestern New Zealand, Quaternary Science Reviews 26(3/4): p. 517-535. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.05.005. p. 517-535
  • Vandergoes, M.J.; Newnham, R.M.; Preusser, F.; Hendy, C.H.; Lowell, T.V.; Fitzsimons, S.J.; Hogg, A.G.; Kasper, H.U.; Schluechter, C. 2005. Regional insolation forcing of Late Quaternary climate change in the Southern Hemisphere, Nature 436(7048): p. 242-245. p. 242-245
  • Vandergoes, M.J.; Prior, C.A. 2003. AMS dating of pollen concentrates : a methodological study of Late Quaternary sediments from South Westland, New Zealand, Radiocarbon 45(3): p. 479-491. Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences contribution 2928 p. 479-491
  • Vandergoes, M.J.; Fitzsimons, S.J. 2003. The Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT) in south Westland, New Zealand : paleoecological insight into mid-latitude Southern Hemisphere climate change, Quaternary Science Reviews 22(14): p. 1461-1476. p. 1461-1476


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