Assistant Professor (Ph.D. Université d’Aix-Marseille I, 2002) -- past and present climate change, paleoecology, environmental modeling, data mining and analysis.



  • Office: Bldg 73 Room 204
  • e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • phone: 801-585-6896

Research Interests:

  • Changes in past climate and terrestrial ecosystem response
  • Development of methodology for reconstructing past climate
  • Data-model comparisons for climate model simulations
  • Modeling ecosystem changes
  • Understanding the links between past societies and environmental changes



I am an ecologist and paleoecologist who studies global patterns of terrestrial ecosystem responses to climate change through the analysis of datasets covering broad temporal and spatial scales, and by comparison with global scale climate and ecological process models. In my research I utilize large-array data sets to build, modify and test mechanistic and statistical models, with the goal of improving our interpretation of natural- and anthropogenic-driven environmental change. I have more recently become involved in collaborative efforts to integrate these approaches with anthropogenic and archeological studies of human societal development. This collaboration has brought me into contact with researchers working within systems theory, and I have a particular interest at present in attempting to place the ecosystem responses that I study in this framework.


  • 2002 Ph.D. (Biosciences de l’Environnement). Université d’Aix-Marseille I, Marseille, France
  • 1997 MSc. (Quaternary Sciences). Royal Holloway and Bedford College, University of London, UK.
  • 1996 BSc. (Biological Sciences (specialty: Ecology)). Kings College, University of London, UK.

Courses Taught:

  • GEOG 3215/5215 – Climate Change Impacts
  • GEOG 5160/6160 – Spatial Modeling in GIS
  • GEOG 6000 – Spatial Statistics and Data Analysis
  • GEOG 6960 - Modeling long-term environmental processes (seminar)
  • GEOG 6960 – Time series analysis (seminar)


Manuscripts in preparation and nearing submission:

  • Marsicek, J., Brewer, S., Foster, D., Oswald, W.W. and Shuman, B. (in prep). Abrupt summer temperature changes across mid-latitude eastern North America at ca. 5 ka. Geology
  • Brewer, S., Davis, B.A.S., Finsinger, W., Giesecke, T. et al (in prep.) Mapping the past vegetation of Europe. Journal of Maps
  • Brewer, S. and Minckley, T. (in prep.) Using Self-Organized Maps to explore long-term ecosystem state change. Journal of Vegetation Science
  • Liu, Y., S. Brewer & S.T. Jackson (in prep.) Assessing antiquity of terrestrial ecosystems in the Great Lakes region using fossil pollen data. The Holocene

Manuscripts under review:

  • Harrison, S.P., Bartlein, P.J., Brewer, S., Prentice, I.C.,Boyd, M., Hessler, I., Holmgren, K., Izumi, K., Willis, K. (in review). Climate model benchmarking with glacial and mid-Holocene climates. Climate Dynamics
  • Peer-reviewed publications:

  • Giesecke, T., Brewer, S., Davis, B.A.S., Finsinger, W. et al (in press) Towards mapping the late quaternary vegetation change of Europe: chronologies with uncertainties that allow data selection + taxonomic considerations. Vegetation History and Archeobotany
  • Saltré, F., St-Amant, R., Gritti, E., Brewer, S., Gaucherel, C., Davis, B.A.S. & Chuine, I. (in press). Climate or dispersal: what limited European beech postglacial colonization? Global Ecology and Biogeography.
  • Charman, D.J., Beilman, D.W., Blaauw, M., Booth, R.K., Brewer, S. and 37 others. (2013) Climate-driven changes in peatland carbon accumulation during the last millennium. Biogeosciences, 10, 929-944
  • Liu, Y., Brewer, S., Booth, R.K., Minckley, T.A. and Jackson, S.T. (2012). Temporal density of pollen sampling affects the age determination of the mid-Holocene Tsuga (hemlock) decline. Quaternary Science Reviews, 45, 54-59
  • McKnite AM, Perez-Munoz ME, Lu L, Williams EG, Brewer S., et al. (2012) Murine Gut Microbiota is defined by host genetics and modulates variation of metabolic traits. PLoS ONE 7(6): e39191. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039191
  • Lesser, M.J. and Brewer, S. (2012). How sampling affects estimates of demographic parameters. Journal of Vegetation Science. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2012.01419.x
  • Djamali, M., Brewer, S., Breckle, S. and Jackson, S.T. (2012). Ecological implications of Cousinia Cass. (Asteraceae) persistence through the last two glacial–interglacial cycles in the continental Middle East for the Irano-Turanian flora. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology. 172(15), 10-20.
  • Djamali, M., S. Brewer, S.W. Breckle & S.T. Jackson. 2012. Climatic determinism in phytogeographical regionalization: a case study from the Irano-Turanian region, SW and Central Asia. Flora 207:237-249.
  • Booth, R.K., Brewer, S., Blaauw, M., Minckley, T.A. and Jackson, S.T. (2012). Decomposing the Mid-Holocene Tsuga decline in Eastern North America. Ecology, 93, 1841-1852.
  • Clark, P.U., Shakun, J.D., Baker, P.A., Bartlein, P.J., Brewer, S. and 31 others (2012).  Global climate evolution during the last deglaciation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.1116619109
  • Brewer, S., Jackson, S.T. and Williams, J.W. (2012). Paleoinformatics: applying geohistorical data to ecological questions. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 27:2, 104-111
  • Costanza, R., van der Leeuw, S., Hibbard, K., Aulenbach, S., Brewer, S., Burek, M., Cornell, S., Crumley, C., Dearing, J., Folke, C., Graumlich, L., Hegmon, M., Heckbert, S. Jackson, S., Kubiszewski, I., Scarborough, V., Sinclair, P., Sörlin, S., and Steffen, W. (2011). Developing an Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE). Current Opinion on Environmental Sustainability. 4:1, 106-114
  • Daniau A.-L., Tinner, W., Bartlein P.J., Harrison S.P., Prentice, I.C., Brewer, S. and 55 others. (2012) Predictability of biomass burning in response to climate changes. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 26 (4) GB4007.
  • Braconnot, P., Luan, Y., Brewer, S. and Zheng, W. (2012). Impact of Earth's orbit and fresh water fluxes on Holocene climate mean seasonal cycle and ENSO characteristics. Climate Dynamics, 38(5) 1081-1092.
  • Davis, B.A.S. and Brewer, S. (2011). A unified approach to Orbital, Solar and Lunar forcing based on Earth's Latitudinal Insolation/Temperature Gradient. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30: 15-16, 1861-1874
  • Sander van der Leeuw, S., Aulenbach, S., Brewer, S., Burek, M., Cornell, S., Costanza, R., Crumley, C., Dearing, J., Downy, C., Graumlich, L., Hegmon, M., Hibbard, K., Jackson, S., Kubiszewski, I., Sinclair, P., Sörlink, S., and Steffen, W. (2011). Toward An Integrated History to Guide the Future. Ecology and Societies. 16:4, 2. doi:10.5751/ES-04341-160402
  • Williams, J.W., Tarasov, P., Brewer, S. and Notaro, M. (2011). Late-Quaternary Variations in Tree Cover at the Northern Forest-Tundra Ecotone. Journal of Geophysical Research –Biogeosciences, 116, G01017, doi:10.1029/2010JG001458
  • Bartlein, P.J., Harrison, S.P., Brewer, S., Connor, S., Davis, B.A.S., Gajewski, K., Guiot, J., Harrison-Prentice, T.I., Henderson, A., Peyron, O., Prentice, I.C., Scholze, M., Seppa, H., Shuman, B., Sugita, S., Thompson, R.S., Viau, A.E., Williams, J.W. and Wu, H. (2010). Pollen-based continental climate reconstructions at 6 and 21 ka: a global synthesis. Climate Dynamics, doi:10.1007/s00382-010-0904-1
  • Brewer, S. Francois, L., Cheddadi, R., Laurent, J.-M. and Favre, E. 2010. Comparison of simulated and observed vegetation for the mid-Holocene in Europe. Climate of the Past Discussions, 5, 965-1011.
  • Hely, C., Giradin, M., Ali, A., Carcaillet, C., Brewer, S. and Bergeron, Y. (2010). Unprecedented low natural forest fire activity threatened by global warming. Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL043706.
  • Djamali, M., Akhani, H., Andrieu-Ponel, V., Bracconnot, P., Brewer, S., de Beaulieu, J.-L., Fleitmann, D., Fleury, J., Gasse, F., Guibal, F., Jackson, S.T., Lézine, A.-M., Médail, F., Ponel, P., Roberts, N. & Stevens, L. 2010. Indian Summer Monsoon variations could have affected the early Holocene woodland expansion in the Near East. The Holocene, 20, 813, doi: 10.1177/0959683610362813.
  • Liu, Y., Jackson, S.T., Brewer, S. and Williams, J.W. 2010. Assessing antiquity and turnover of terrestrial ecosystems in eastern North America using fossil pollen data: A preliminary study. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental 9 012005 doi:10.1088/1755-1315/9/1/012005.
  • Nicault, A., Guiot, J., Edouard, J.L. and Brewer, S. 2010. Preserving long-term climatic changes in standardization of tree-ring series by the Adaptative Regional Growth Curve (ARGC). Dendrochronologia, 28, 1-12.
  • Kuehl, N., Moschen, R., Wagner, S., Brewer S., and Peyron O. 2009. A multiproxy record of Late Holocene natural and anthropogenic environmental change from the Sphagnum peat bog Dürres Maar, Germany: implications for quantitative climate reconstructions based on pollen. Journal of Quaternary Science. DOI: 10.1002/jqs.1342
  • Saltré, F., Chuine, I., Brewer, S., & Gaucherel, C., 2009. A phenomenological model without kernel to model species migrations. Ecological Modelling, 220, 3546-3554.
  • Davis, B.A.S. and Brewer, S. 2009. Orbital forcing and role of the Latitudinal Insolation/Temperature Gradient. Climate Dynamics. DOI: 10.1007/s00382-008-0480-9
  • Bordon, A., Peyron, O., Lezine, A.-M., Brewer, S. and Fouache, E. 2009. Late-Glacial and Holocene quantitative climate estimates in Southern Balkans (lake Maliq) from pollen data. Quaternary International, 200:1-2, 19-30.
  • Chase, B. and Brewer, S. 2009. Last Glacial Maximum dune activity in the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa: observations and simulations. Quaternary Science Reviews, 28 (3), 301-307.
  • Arnold, L., Breon, F.-M. and Brewer, S. 2010. The Earth as an extrasolar planet: the vegetation spectral signature today and during the last Quaternary climatic extrema. International Journal of Astrobiology, 8:2, 81-94. doi: 10.1017/S1473550409004406
  • Fyfe, R.M., de Beaulieu, J.-L., Binney, H., Bradshaw, R.H.W., Brewer, S. and 11 other. 2009. The European Pollen Database: past efforts and current activities. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 18:5, 417-424.
  • Henrot, A., Francois, L., Brewer, S. and Munhoven, G. 2009. Impacts of land surface properties and atmospheric CO2 on the Last Glacial Maximum climate: a factor separation analysis. Climate of the Past, 5, 183-202.
  • Nicault, A., Alleaume, S., Brewer, S., Carrer, M., Nola, P., Guiot, J. 2008. Mediterranean drought fluctuation during the last 500 years based on tree-ring data Climate Dynamics, 31:2-3, 227-245. DOI:10.1007/s00382-007-0349-3
  • Feurdean, A.; Klotz, S.; Brewer, S., Mosbrugger, V.; Tamas, T. & Wohlfarth, B. 2008. Lateglacial climate development in NW Romania – comparative results from three quantitative pollen-based methods. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 265:1-2, 121-133.
  • Brewer, S., Guiot, J., Sanchez-Goni, M.-F. and Klotz, S. 2008. The climate in Europe during the Eemian: a multi-method approach using pollen data. Quaternary Science Reviews, 27:25-26, 2303-2315.
  • Djamali, M., de Beaulieu, J.-L., Shah-hossein, M., Andrieu-Ponel, V., Ponel, P., Amini, A., Akhani, H., Leroy, S.A.G., Stevens, L., Lahijani, H. and Brewer S. 2008. A late Pleistocene long pollen record from Lake Urmia, NW Iran. Quaternary Research, 69:3, 413-420. doi:10.1016/j.yqres.2008.03.004
  • Brewer, S., Alleaume, S., Guiot, J. and Nicault, A. 2007. Historical droughts in Mediterranean regions during the last 500 years: a data/model approach. Climate of the Past, 3, 355-366.
  • Brewer, S., Guiot, J. and Torre, F. 2007. Mid-Holocene climate changes in Europe: a data/model comparison. Climate of the Past, 3, 499-512.
  • Wu, H., Guiot, J., Brewer, S. and Guo, Z. 2007. Climatic changes in Eurasia and Africa at the Last Glacial Maximum and the mid-Holocene: reconstruction from pollen data using inverse vegetation modelling. Climate Dynamics, 29 :211-229.
  • Ramstein, G., Kageyama, M., Guiot, J., Wu, H., Hély, C., Krinner, G. and Brewer, S. 2007. How cold was Europe at the Last Glacial Maximum? A synthesis of the progress achieved since the first PMIP model-data comparison. Climate of the Past, 3, 331-339.
  • Wu, H., Guiot, J., Brewer, S., Guo, Z. and Peng, C. 2007. Dominant factors controlling glacial and interglacial variations in the treeline elevation in tropical Africa. Procedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0610100104. Holgate, S., Jevrejava, S., Woodworth, P., Brewer, S. 2007. Comment on “A semi-empirical approach to projecting sea-level rise”. Science, 5846, 1866. doi: 10.1126/science.1140942 Brewer, S., Hély-Alleaume, C., Cheddadi, R., de Beaulieu, J.-L., Laurent, J.-M. and Le Cuziat, J. (2006). Postglacial history of the Atlantic Oakwoods: context, dynamics and controlling factors. The Botanical Journal of Scotland, 57:1-2, 41-58.
  • Lowe, A., Unsworth, C., Gerber, S., Davies, S., Munro, R., Kelleher, C., King, A., Brewer, S., White, A. and Cottrell, J. 2006. The route, speed and mode of oak postglacial colonisation across the British Isles. The Botanical Journal of Scotland, 57:1-2, 59-82.
  • Ortu, E., Brewer, S. and Peyron, O. 2006. Pollen-inferred palaeoclimate reconstructions in mountain areas: problems and perspectives. Journal of Quaternary Science, 21:6, 615-627.
  • Vincens, A., Bremond, L., Brewer, S., Buchet, G. and Dussouillez, P. 2006. Modern pollen-based biome reconstructions in East Africa expanded to southern Tanzania. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 140:3-4, 187-212.
  • Garcin, Y., Williamson, D., Bergonzini, L., Radakovitch, O., Vincens, A., Buchet, G., Guiot, J., Brewer, S., Mathé, P.-E. and Majule, A. 2006. Solar and anthropogenic imprints on Lake Masoko (southern Tanzania) during the last 500 years. Journal of Paleolimnology, DOI 10.1007/s10933-006-9033-6
  • Guiter, F., Triganon, A., Andrieu-Ponel, V., Ponel, P., Hebrard, J.P., Nicoud, G., De Beaulieu, J.L., Brewer, S. and Guibal, F. 2005. First evidence of “in situ” Eemian sediments on the high plateau of Evian (Northern Alps, France): implications for the chronology of the Last Glaciation. Quaternary Science Reviews, 24, 35-47.
  • Gladstone, R.M., Ross, I., Valdes, P.J., Abe-Ouchi, A., Braconnot, P., Brewer, S. et al. 2005. Mid-Holocene NAO: A PMIP2 model intercomparison. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L16707. doi:10.1029/2005GL023596
  • Tarasov, P., Granoszewski, Bezrukova, W., Nita, M., Brewer, S. and Oberhänsli, H. 2005. Quantitative reconstruction of the Last Interglacial climate based on the pollen record from Lake Baikal, Russia. Climate Dynamics, DOI 10.1007/s00382-005-0045-0
  • Peyron, O., Bégeot, C., Brewer, S., Heiri, O., Magny, M., Millet, M., Ruffaldi, P., Van Campo, E. and Yu, G. 2005. Lateglacial climatic changes in eastern France (Lake Lautrey) from pollen, lake-levels and chironomids. Quaternary Research. 64: 2, 197-211.
  • Gachet., S.,  Guiot, J., Cheddadi, R., Brewer, S., Davis, B. and Gritti, E. 2003. A probabilistic approach of pollen indicators for plant functional types, an application to the European vegetation at 0 and 6 ka. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 12, 103-118.
  • Petit, R.J., Aguinadale, I., De Beaulieu, J.-L., Bittkau, C., Brewer, S., Cheddadi, R., Ennos, R., Fineschi, S., Grivet, D., Lascoux, M., Mohanty, A., Müller-Starck, G., Musch, B., Palme, A., Clemente, J. P. M., Rendell, S., Vendramin, G.G. 2003. Glacial refugia: Hotspots but not melting pots of genetic diversity. Science, 300, 1563-1565.
  • Davis, B.A.S., Brewer, S., Stevenson, A.C., Guiot, J. and Juggins, S. 2003. The temperature of Europe during the Holocene reconstructed from pollen data. Quaternary Science Reviews, 22, 1701-1716.
  • Brewer, S., Cheddadi, R., de Beaulieu, J.-L., Reille, M. & Data contributors 2002. The migration of deciduous Quercus throughout Europe since the last glacial period. Forest Ecology and Management, 156 (1-3), 27-48.
  • Petit R.J., Brewer, S., Bordács, S., Burg, K., Cheddadi, R., Coart, E., Cottrell, J., Csaikl, U.M., Deans, J.D., Fineschi, S., Finkeldey, R., Goicoechea, P.G., Jensen, J.S., König, A.O., Lowe, A.J., Madsen, S.F., Mátyás, G., Munro, R.C., Oledska, I., Popescu, F., Slade, D., Tabbener, H., van Dam, B., Ziegenhagen, B., de Beaulieu, J.-L.,  Kremer, A. 2002. Identification of refugia and postglacial colonisation routes of European white oaks based on chloroplast DNA and fossil pollen evidence. Forest Ecology and Management, 156 (1-3), 49-74.
  • Bordács, S., Popescu, F., Csaikl, U.M., Slade, D., Lesur, I., Borovics, A., Kezdy, P., König, A.O., Gömöry, D., Brewer, S., Burg, K., and Petit, R.J. 2002. Chloroplast DNA variation of white oaks in northern Balkans and in the Carpathian Basin. Forest Ecology and Management, 156 (1-3), 49-74. Petit, R.J., Bialozyt, R., Brewer, S., Cheddadi, R., and Comps, B. 2001. From spatial patterns of genetic diversity to postglacial migration processes in forest trees. Special Symposia of The British Ecological Society: "Integrating Ecology and Evolution in a Spatial Context". Edited by Silvertown, J. and Antonovics, J.  Blackwell Science Ltd. Chapter 14: 295-318.
  • Tarasov, P.E., Peyron, O., Guiot, J., Brewer, S., Volkova, V.S., Bezuko, L.G., Dorofeyuk, N.I., Kvavadze, E.V., Osipova, I.M. And Panova, N.K. 1999. Last Glacial Maximum climate of the former Soviet Union and Mongolia reconstructed from pollen and plant macrofossil data. Climate Dynamics, 15, 227-240.
  • Tarasov, P.E., Cheddadi, R., Guiot, J., Bottema, S., Peyron, O., Belmonte, J., Ruiz-Sanchez, V., Saadi, F.A. and Brewer, S. 1998. A method to determine warm and cool steppe biomes from pollen data; application to the Mediterranean and Kazakhstan regions. Journal of Quaternary Science, 13, 335-344.