Dr Catherine Russell

Honorary Researcher

School/Department: Geography, Geology and the Environment, School of



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Catherine undertook an undergraduate Masters degree in geology at the University of Leicester and went on to complete her PhD at the University of Leeds on fluvial sedimentology in 2017. From 2018-2021, Catherine was a Teaching Fellow in Sedimentology at the University of Leicester in a fixed-term contract. From 2021-2022, Catherine undertook several collaborations including with the Anthropocene Curriculum to work on the course “Archives” and RPS Group to help develop learning materials on CCUS. From October 2022, Catherine is a Fulbright-Lloyd’s Visiting Scholar at the University of New Orleans, Louisiana for 12 months. As well as holding a position as Honorary Fellow at the University of Leicester, she is an Adjunct Professor at both Louisiana State University and The University of New Orleans.


Catherine is an Anthropocene Sedimentologist based at the University of New Orleans as a Fulbright-Lloyd’s Visiting Scholar. Her technical expertise is in the development of innovative multi-disciplinary approaches (geology, geomorphology, and remote sensing), for analysis of the composition and architecture of rivers on both Earth and Mars. River behaviour is affected by climate, vegetation, water, and sediment type and volume, as well as human intervention, and her research aim is to better understand the long-term effects of human impact on surface processes across Earth Systems in the Anthropocene, particularly in river systems.

Catherine has extensive teaching experience and achieved Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2020 through the PGCAPP route with distinction. I am an LGBTQ+ ally and received a student nomination for best supervisor.

Catherine is an excellent communicator with strong interpersonal skills that enable her to develop and maintain an international research network. She leads the multidisciplinary Anthropocene Sediment Network that she founded in August 2020.

Grant funding

Fulbright-Lloyd’s Visiting Scholar Grant

  • Duration 2022-2023
  • Amount $60,000

Project Determining the impact of humans on river systems, with a focus on reservoirs

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); International Geological Correlation Programme (IGCP) Grant

  • Duration: 2021-2026
  • Amount: $50,000

Project “LANGUAGE of the Anthropocene; Present and future Geology

The global scale evidence of the Anthropocene (Acronym: LANGUAGE - Lessons in Anthropogenic impact: a knowledge Network of Geological signals to Unite and Assess Global Evidence of the Anthropocene”.

Awardees: Wagreich M., Bibi M., Fiałkiewicz-Kozieł B., Ivar Do Sul J., Olaka L., Russell C., Tejada M.L.G. and Zhang L.: University of Vienna, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, University of Leicester, Department of Geology University of Nairobi, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, University of Adam Mickiewicz, Quaid-i-Azam University.



Russell, C. E., Fernandez R., Gabbott S. and Parsons D. Plastic fundamentally impacts sand transport in fluvial systems. [IN REVIEW].

Melchin, M., Davies, J., Boom, A., De Weirdt, J., McIntyre A., Russell., C., Vandenbroucke T., Zalasiewicz, J. Integrated stratigraphic study of the Rhuddanian-Aeronian (Llandovery, Silurian) boundary succession at Rheidol Gorge, Wales: A proposed Global Stratotype for the base of the Aeronian Stage [IN REVIEW]

Waldschläger K., Brückner M.Z.M., Carney Almroth B., Hackney C.R., Adyel T.M., Alimi S.O., Belontz S.L., Cowger W., Doyle D., Gray A., Kane I., Kooi M., Kramer M., Lechthaler S., Michie L., Nordam T., Pohl F., Russell C., Thit A., Umar W., Valero D., Varrani A., Warrier AK., Woodall C. L., Wu N. (2022). Learning from natural sediments to tackle microplastics challenges: a multidisciplinary perspective. Earth-Science Reviews.

Russell C. E., Waters C. N., Williams M., Himson S., Holmes R., Burns A. and Zalasiewicz J. 2021. Geological Evolution of the Mississippi River into the Anthropocene, Anthropocene Review 8, 115-140

Gabbott, S.E., Key, S., Russell, C., Yohan, Y. Zalasiewicz, J. 2020. The Geography and Geology of Plastics: environmental distribution and fate. Plastic Waste and Recycling: Environmental Impact, Societal Issues and the Circular Economy. Elsevier.

Banks V.J., Palumbo-Roe B. and Russell C.E. (2019). 'The Hyporheic Zone' in "Hydrology - The Science of Water," 978-1-83880-324-7. IntechOpen. UK.

Weirdt J.D., Vandenbroucke T.R.A., Cocq J., Russell C., Davies J.R., Melchin M. and Zalasiewicz J. (2019). Chitinozoan biostratigraphy of the Rheidol Gorge Section, Central Wales, UK: a GSSP replacement candidate for the Rhuddanian-Aeronian boundary. Papers in Palaeontology.

Russell C.E., Mountney N.P., Hodgson D. and Colombera L. (2019). A novel approach for prediction of lithological heterogeneity in fluvial point-bar deposits from analysis of meander morphology and scroll-bar pattern. In: Fluvial Meanders and their Sedimentary Products in the Rock Record (Eds Ghinassi M., Colombera L., Mountney N.P. and Reesink A.J.H), IAS Special Publication, 48, 385-417.

Melchin, M.J., Davies, J.R., De Weirdt, J., Russell, C., Vandenbroucke, T.R.A. and Zalasiewicz, J.A. (2018) Integrated stratigraphic study of the Rhuddanian-Aeronian (Llandovery, Silurian) boundary succession at Rheidol Gorge, Wales : a preliminary report. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 16pp. (OR/18/139) (Unpublished)

Russell C.E., 2017. Prediction of sedimentary architecture and lithological heterogeneity in fluvial point-bar deposits. Doctoral dissertation, University of Leeds. 351 pp.

Colombera, L., Mountney, N.P., Russell, C.E., Shiers, M.N. and McCaffrey, W.D. (2017). Geometry and compartmentalization of fluvial meander-belt reservoirs at the barform scale: quantitative insight from outcrop, modern and subsurface analogues. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 82, 35–55.

Russell, C.E., Vandenbroucke, T.R.A., Zalasiewicz, J.A., Williams, M., Davies, J.R., Waters, R.A. and Molyneux, S.G. (2013). The Rheidol Gorge (central Wales) as potential stratotype for the Rhuddanian-Aeronian stage boundary: a progress report. In LINDSKOG, A. & MEHLQVIST, K. 2013. Proceedings of the 3rd IGCP 591 Annual Meeting – Lund, Sweden, 9–19 June 2013, Lund University, 285–286.

Zalasiewicz, J., Russell, C., Snelling, A. and Williams, M. (2011). The systematic relationship of the monograptid species acinaces Törnquist, 1899 and rheidolensis Jones, 1909. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 58, 351-356.



  • 1st year Introductory Field Course - Isle of Arran
  • 1st year Tutorial Workshops
  • 2nd year Depositional Processes and Environments
  • 3rd year Concepts in Sedimentology and Stratigraphy with Applications to Reservoir Geoscience
  • 3rd year Planetary Science
  • 3rd year Dissertation Supervisor
  • 3rd year Field-based Project Supervisor
  • 4th year Advanced Field Course - Sicily, Italy
  • 4th year Fundamentals of GIS
  • 4th year Masters Research Project Supervisor


The Anthropocene Sediment Network (2020-present) – Online

I lead a multidisciplinary, international research program tying sedimentology to future-facing challenges.

Early Career Scientist Committee (UK Rep.), (2019-present) – International Association of Sedimentologists

Organising ‘Early Career’ conference activities, recruitment, and moderating award submissions.

Founder and Webmaster at Seds Online (March 2020-September 2020) – Seds Online

I founded Seds Online and established a committee, newsletter, website, and events for the community.

It became the de facto professional forum for sedimentary geology during the pandemic in UK, Europe, and N. America.

President / Treasurer of AAPG Leeds Student Chapter (2015-2016 & 2013-2015) - University of Leeds

As president I scheduled fortnightly talks using the team’s combined expertise network.

As treasurer I arranged expenses payments for our speakers and managed the accounts.

Environment Team Volunteer Coordinator (October 2011-June 2012) - University of Leicester

I overhauled our volunteering scheme resulting in a ten-fold increase in student engagement.

Gold CREST Award Project (Creativity in Engineering, Science and Technology) (July-September 2008) - Bablake School / University of Leicester / British Geological Survey

Organised a placement at the British Geological Survey for seven weeks: I published the results in 2011.


  • British Sedimentology Research Group one-off “Community Award” for initiating and founding Seds Online.
  • Nominated for the Students’ Union Best Supervisor “Superstar Award” by a student (2020).
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy – I achieved distinction via the PGCAPP route (2020).
  • Honorarium from Max Planck Institute for the History of Science to deliver a plenary session, lead a seminar at the Anthropocene River Campus, and undertake analysis on Mississippi River sediment €5000 (2019).
  • Honorarium from Territorial Agency to take part in roundtable discussion on the question “Anthropocene: when are we?” as part of their Architect’s Association Plan the Planet open seminar series £100 (2019).
  • Distinction for “Supporting Learning in Higher Education” course for the Higher Education Associate Fellowship Certificate (2019).
  • Merit Award from the University of Leicester for outstanding contribution in 1st year of employment (2018).
  • Nomination for a Leeds Student Union Partnership Award (2017), for having a positive impact as a skills mentor and instructor for undergraduate students.
  • “BSRG Graduate Student Poster Prize” for quality and clarity of a poster presented at the AGM (2014).
  • Dennis Field Award for: "The final year student who throughout the course has displayed qualities of scholarship, enthusiasm, determination and integrity" (2013).
  • University of Leicester Geology Department “Leadership and Initiative” award (2012) for setting up and leading the Geology Green Impact Team to “Best Newcomer”, and “Silver Award” in our first year.
  • Duke of Edinburgh Awards (2006-2009). The Gold award included a 50 mile assessed expedition in the Brecon Beacons over 5 days; our expedition purpose was studying geology for which I wrote the report.
  • Gold CREST Award (2008) I organised and undertook a seven-week placement at the British Geological Survey headquarters in Keyworth, Nottingham.


  • April 2022 – University of Vienna “Anthropocene Rivers”.
  • March 2022 – Online Source to Sink Webinar “Anthropocene Rivers”.
  • March 2022 – Imperial College London “Our Impact on Planet Earth's Sedimentology in the Anthropocene”.
  • October 2021 – Minnesota, USA, River Semester “Mississippi River Sediment”.
  • July 2021 - Riva del Garda, Italy, International Conference of Fluvial Sedimentology “Anthropocene Rivers”.
  • May 2021 - British Sedimentary Research Group postgraduate online workshop “Networking Online”.
  • December 2020 - Girls into Geoscience virtual outreach event (Age 13-14) “Rivers in the Anthropocene”.
  • November 2020 - Climate + Rivers virtual outreach event (Age 16-18) “Anthropocene and the Mississippi”.
  • February 2020 - University of Cambridge “Accurately interpreting river morphology from the rocks”.
  • November 2019 - Anthropocene River Campus at Tulane University “The four-dimensional Mississippi”.
  • February 2019 - Louisiana State University “The use of a multi-disciplinary approach to predict the architecture and lithological heterogeneity of point-bar deposits”.
  • January 2019 - Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society “Rivers in the Rock Record: from Utah to Wales”.
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