Prof John Dodson

Head of Institute
Institute for Environmental Research (IER)
Phone - +61 2 9717 9216
John Dodson

Staff Profile

Role at ANSTO

John is the Head of the Institute for Environmental Research at ANSTO. John previously worked overseas in the UK for Brunel University as Professor and Head, Institute for Environment.




Palynology, charcoal analysis, radiocarbon, stable isotopes and biomarkers, as applied to climate change, and human impact on environmental systems, particularly vegetation systems

Career Highlights & Achievements


  •  Have been Head of University Departments in Sydney (UNSW), Perth (UWA) and London (Brunel)
  • Research projects in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Micronesia, China and UK
  • Have served on National Committees for Australian Academy of Science, International Geosphere Biosphere Program (PAST Global Changes) and currently Chair of the International Year of Planet Earth for Society (Climate Change Group) for UNESCO
  • Serve on Editorial Boards of Quaternary Research, The Holocene, Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography
  • Publication of more than 100 refereed research articles in international journals and several books
  • Ph.D. in Vegetation History, Australian National University

Selected Publications

John Dodson, Ian Eliot, Matthew Eliot, Catherine, James Goff (2014) Wrack line signatures of high-magnitude water-level events on the northwest Australian coast. Marine Geology 355, 310-317.


John Dodson, Xiaoqiang Li, Nan Sun, Pia Atahan, Xinying Zhou, Hanbin Liu, Keliang Zhao, Songmei Hu and Zemeng Yang. Use of coal in Bronze Age In China, The Holocene Vol. 24 (5) 525-530 (2014)


Laurent Marquer, Marie-José Gaillard, Shinya Sugita, Anna-Kari Trondman, Florence Mazier, Anne Birgitte Nielsen, Ralph M. Fyfe, Bent Vad Odgaard, Teija Alenius, H. John B. Birks, Anne E. Bjune, JÖrg Christiansen, John Dodson, Kevin J. Edwards, Thomas Giesecke, Ulrike Herzschuh, Mihkel Kangur, Sebastian Lorenz, Anneli Poska, Manuela Schult, Heikki Seppä. Holocene changes in vegetation composition in northern Europe: why quantitative pollen-based vegetation reconstructions matter, Quaternary Science Reviews 90 (2014) 199-216.


Sun Nan, Li XQ, Shang Xue, Zhou Xinying, Dodson J. (2014) Vegetation characteristics and palaeoclimate Xiahe Site in the southern Loess Plateau during the Mid-Holocene based on fossil charcoal records. Quaternary Sciences 34:27-34.


Woltering, M., Atahan, P., Grice, K., Heijnis, H., Taffs, K., Dodson, J. (2014)  Glacial and Holocene terrestrial temperature variability in subtropical east Australia as inferred from branched GDGT distribution in a sediment core from Lake McKenzie. Quaternary Research 82: 132-145.


John R. Dodson, Xiaoqiang Li, Xinying Zhou, Keliang Zhao, Nan Sun, Pia Atahan. Origin and spread of wheat in China. Quaternary Science Reviews 72, (2013) 108-111.


John Dodson, Pauline Grierson, John Bennett, Susana Melo de Howard, Henri Wong. Nuclear science and the story of a preserved leaf from a copy of the Great Bible. Journal of Archaeological Science 40(2013) 1700-1702.


Nan Sun, Xiaoqiang Li, John Dodson, Xinying Zhou, Keliang Zhao, Qing Yang. Plant diversity of the Tianshui Basin in the western Loess Plateau during the mid-Holocene – Charcoal records from archaeological sites. Quaternary International (2013) 1-9.


Zhao, K., Li, X., Dodson, J., Zhou, X., Atahan, P. 2013. Climate instability during the last deglaciation in central Asia, reconstructed by pollen data from Yili Valley, NW China. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 189, 8-17.


Hollins, S., Dodson, J. (2013). ‘Drought” In: Bobrowsky, P.T. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 189-196. (ISBN 978-94-007-0263-9)


Jessica M. Reeves, Timothy T. Barrows, Timothy J. Cohen, Anthony S. Kiem, Helen C. Bostock, Kathryn E. Fitzsimmons, John D. Jansen, Justine Kemp, Claire Krause, Lynda Petherick, Steven J. Phipps, L.K. Armand, L.K. Ayliffe, M. Curran, P. De Deckker, L.S. Devriendt, J. Dodson, A. Dosseto, G.B. Dunbar, R.N. Drysdale, D. Fink, M. Fischer, M.-S. Fletcher, T. Fujioka, M.K. Gagan, ML. Griffiths, D. Haberlah, S.G. Haberle, U. Heikkila, H. Heijnis, P.P. Hesse, A. Hilgers, M. Ho, W. Howard, Q. Hua, T. Kelly, J. Larsen, S. Lewis, J. Lomax, A. Mackintosh, J.-H. May, H.V. McGregor, K. Meisner, S.D. Mooney, P.T. Moss, G.C. Nanson, J. Pedro, A. Purcell, J. Shulmeister, C. Sloss, Z. Swander, J. Tibby, P. Treble, S. van der Kaars, D. White, C. Woodward (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,   doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.01.001.


Keliang Zhao, Xiaoqiang Li, Xinying Zhou, John Dodson, Ming Ji (2013) Impact of agriculture on an oasis landscape during the late Holocene: Palynological evidence from the Xintala site in Xinjiang, NW China, Quaternary International 311, 81-86


Dodson, J. (2012). Climate change through time. In: Earth and Life: global biodiversity, extinction intervals and biogeographic perturbations through time (John Talent, Editor). Springer, Germany.  ISBN 978-90-481-3427-4, 51-62


Dodson, J., Bertuch, F., Chen, Liang, Li, XQ. (2012). Cranial metric, age and isotope analysis of human remains from Huoshiliang, western Gansu, China. Terra Australia 34: 177-191

Li, Xiaoqiang, Nan Sun, John Dodson and Xinying Zhou (2012). Human activity and its impact on the landscape at the Xishanping site in the western Loess Plateau during 4800-4300 cal yr BP based on the fossil charcoal record. Journal of Archaeological Science 39:3141-3147.

Gouramanis, C., Dodson, J., Wilkins, D., De Deckker, P. and Chase, B.M. (2012). Holocene palaeoclimate and sea level fluctuation recorded from the coastal Barker Swamp, Rottnest Island, south-western Western Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews 54, 40-57. Doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.05.007

Zhao Keliang, Li Xiaoqiang, Zhou Xinying, John Dodson, Ji Ming (2012). Characteristics of agricultural activities and its impact on the environment at Xintala site, Xinjiang, reconstructed from archaeological plant remains. Quaternary Sciences 32: 219-225 (in Chinese with English abstract).

Mooney, S.D., Harrison, S.P., Bartlein, P.J., Daniau, A.-L., Steveson, J., Brownlie, K., Buckman, S., Cupper, M., Luly, J., Black, M., Colhoun, E., D`Costa, D., Dodson, J., Haberle, S., Hope, G.S., Kershaw, P., Kenyon, C., McKenzie, M., and Williams, N. (2011). Late Quaternary fire regimes of Australasia. Quaternary Science Reviews 30: 28-46.

Pia Atahan, John Dodson, Xiaoqiang Li, Xinying Zhou, Songmei Hu, Liang Chen, Fiona Bertuch, Kliti Grice. Early Neolithic diets at Baijia, Wei River valley, China: stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of human and faunal remains. Journal of Archaeological Science 38

Pia Atahan, John Dodson, Xiaoqiang Li, Xinying Zhou, Songmei Hu, Fiona Bertuch, Nan Sun. Subsistence and the isotopic signature of herding in the Bronze Age Hexi Corridor, NW Gansu, China. Journal of Archaeological Science 38 (2011)

Xiaoquiang Li, Keliang Zhao, John Dodson, Xinying Zhou, Moisture dynamics in central Asia for the last 15 kyr: new evidence from Yili Valley, Xinjiang, NW China. Quaternary Science Reviews 30 (2011)