Joe Cresswell


Ocean Time Traveller

I'm from: Black Country, United Kingdom
Current Location: Hobart, Tasmania
Position: PhD candidate, Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania
Field of research/work: Paleoclimate and oceanography
YTS Years: 2024

Joe's Notable career moments

  • growing up just me and my Mom.

  • I didn’t know what I wanted to do at school, so I struggled to apply myself.

  • I finished school with poor maths grades and had to enrol at an unpopular college.

  • I failed my first year of Chemistry! But my Geology teacher helped me a lot.

  • I finished college with ok grades and got to study Geology at a good University (in Cardiff, Wales)

  • I got really interested in studying the past earth’s climate using fossils and rocks.

  • I studied hard and was accepted into an extended Geology program, working with an international team of researchers. We studied microfossils from the ocean to see how the earth changed from an ice age to the present day

  • I finished that project with top grades! And got a job doing geochemistry in a lab.

  • Due to my good research, I was accepted to study at the University of Tasmania.

  • Research life is hard and rewarding, I get to travel and learn from Geology experts all over the world.

About Joe Cresswell

What do you think of when you think of the Earth? Is it the massive oceans and mountains? All the animals and people we live with? Or maybe all the countries and cultures that exist on earth.

What you might not know is the Earth is always changing and the most significant changes are due to Earth’s climate. Climate is like the weather, it may seem unpredictable and random, one day it’s raining and the next it’s bright and sunny but scientists like myself can see patterns in Earth’s climate.

If you have seen the movie ICE AGE you will know the Earth was once a lot colder but have you ever wondered why?
Well what they don’t tell you in the film is how tiny little organisms in the ocean the size of a grain of sand could have made a BIG impact in making the earth a lot colder than it is today. Maybe they even might have a role in what the earth looks like in the future too?!
These organisms called phytoplankton are like the plants of the ocean, as they sink to the bottom of the ocean they breathe in Carbon Dioxide. The more Carbon dioxide they breathe in the colder the Earth might become.

My work involves looking at these tiny organisms which are trapped in layers of deep ocean mud thousands of years old. The chemical signals these organisms leave behind help me understand how these organisms responded to past climate events such as Ice ages. Once we understand what caused the Earth to warm or cool in the past we will be able to predict what will happen in the future.

These organisms could only make a change when lots of them work together, so like these organisms we need lots of young scientists to understand how the earth will change as it gets warmer.

Joe's Photo Gallery