Dr Helen Shaw

Geography, ICARUS, Faculty of Social Sciences

Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning

Callan Building
1st
2.104
(01) 474 7574

Biography

I am a Lecturer/ Assistant Professor in Biogeography and Palaeoecology in ICARUS and the Department of Geography at Maynooth University, a post I have held since moving to Ireland from Wales in 2017. I am also Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

I graduated with a PhD from Stirling University, which explored the palaeoecological history of the fantastic Glen Affric pine woods in Scotland. This research was applied to the management planning for the future of the pine woods, an area which forms an exemplar of rewilding for future forest sustainability.
I then worked as a researcher at the International Centre for the Uplands in Cumbria, where I gained interdisciplinary experience and developed my interest in social-ecological systems and resilience. The work was focused on the sustainable management of upland systems via information flow between research and land managers. Whilst working at the centre I developed conferences on sustainable upland management, resilience in the uplands and adaptation to climate change as well as workshops on various themes including barriers to innovative planning in national parks.
I then developed a research project, with Professor Ian Whyte at Lancaster University and funded by the Leverhulme Trust, investigating upland landscape change in the North West of England. In this project we examined post-medieval 
landscape change via palaeoecology and history and applied this to ideas of sustainable landscape management for the future. It is important to realise that traditional land management was always shifting and the layers of history still impact on the present ecology.

My research at Lancaster was followed by teaching posts at Liverpool John Moores University and in Wales, where I enjoyed developing and teaching a range of modules across conservation and environmental science. I love to get out in the field and teach practical sessions. I am on a break from most teaching in my role as ADTL. My teaching at Maynooth has been biogeography, palaeoecology and ecological modules in geography. I try to use our wonderful Green Campus as much as possible for outdoor teaching. I am very interested in communicating about the importance of biodiversity and ecology for future sustainability. A liveable planet means maintaining a functioning, diverse and living planet.
 

I am currently working on several research projects and themes: 

  1. Understanding of the representation of biodiversity in pollen diagrams. This work focuses on pollen representation of herbaceous species and the grazing signal of coprophilous fungal spores.  2. Understanding the provenance and processes of change in ancient woodlands.

    3. Developing site histories for peat bogs in Ireland for community education and development

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Helen_Shaw2

Research Interests

My research explores long-term ecological and landscape change using palaeoecology. I use knowledge from the past to analyse the potential for sustainable and resilient social-ecological futures. I am interested in how a temporal perspective can contribute to conservation in natural landscapes and using knowledge of past ecological dynamics to inform futures.

My research so far has focused on upland environments, both forest and pastoral. My interests span cultural historical landscapes, relict landscapes and rewilding.

I am working with Lullymore heritage and Discovery Park to provide a palaeoecological history of Lullymore bog. The bog is cut over but we can still obtain an early history of ecological change. This work is supported by the Peatlands Community Engagement fund.


Post Doctoral Fellows / Research Team

Researcher Name Project Funding Body
Abdul Aziz Mohibbi Peatlands
Thomas Leniston Ancient Woodlands

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2020 Shaw, H; Whyte, I (2020) 'Interpretation of the herbaceous pollen spectra in paleoecological reconstructions: A spatial extension of Indices of Association and determination of individual pollen source areas from binary data'. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 279 . [DOI] [Full-Text]
2020 van Asperen E.; Kirby J.; Shaw H. (2020) 'Relating dung fungal spore influx rates to animal density in a temperate environment: Implications for palaeoecological studies'. Holocene, 30 (2):218-232. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2014 Seddon, A.W., Mackay, A.W., Baker, A.G., Birks, H.J., Breman, E. , Buck, C.E., Ellis, E.C., Froyd, C.A., Gill, J.L., Gillson, L. , Johnson, E.A., Jones, V.J., Juggins, S. , Macias‐Fauria, M. , Mills, K., Morris, J.L., Nogués‐Bravo, D., Punyasena, S.W., Roland, T.P., Tanentzap, A.J., Willis, K.J., Aberhan, M. , Asperen, E.N., Austin, W.E., Battarbee, R.W., Bhagwat, S., Belanger, C.L., Bennett, K.D., Birks, H.H., Bronk Ramsey, C., Brooks, S.J., Bruyn, M. , Butler, P.G., Chambers, F.M., Clarke, S.J., Davies, A.L., Dearing, J.A., Ezard, T.H., Feurdean, A., Flower, R.J., Gell, P., Hausmann, S., Hogan, E.J., Hopkins, M.J., Jeffers, E.S., Korhola, A.A., Marchant, R. , Kiefer, T., Lamentowicz, M., Larocque‐Tobler, I., López‐Merino, L., Liow, L.H., McGowan, S., Miller, J.H., Montoya, E., Morton, O., Nogué, S., Onoufriou, C., Boush, L.P., Rodriguez‐Sanchez, F., Rose, N.L., Sayer, C.D., Shaw, H.E., Payne, R., Simpson, G., Sohar, K., Whitehouse, N.J., Williams, J.W. and Witkowski, A. (2014) 'Looking forward through the past: identification of 50 priority research questions in palaeoecology'. Journal of Ecology, 102 (1):256-267. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2013 Bunting, M.J., Farrell, M., Broström, A,. Hjelle, K.L., Mazier, F., Middleton, R., Nielsen, A.B., Rushton, E., Shaw, H., Twiddle, C.L. (2013) 'Palynological perspectives on vegetation survey: a critical step for model-based reconstruction of Quaternary land cover'. QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 82 :41-55. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2013 Ralph M Fyfe, Claire Twiddle, Shinya Sugita, Marie-José Gaillard, Philip Barratt, Christopher J Caseldine, John Dodson, Kevin J Edwards, Michelle Farrell, Cynthia Froyd, Michael J Grant, Elizabeth Huckerby, James B Innes, Helen Shaw, Martyn Waller (2013) 'The Holocene vegetation cover of Britain and Ireland: overcoming problems of scale and discerning patterns of openness'. QUATERNARY SCIENCE REVIEWS, 73 :132-148. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2013 Basil AS Davis, Marco Zanon, Pamella Collins, Achille Mauri, Johan Bakker, Doris Barboni, Alexandra Barthelmes, Celia Beaudouin, Anne E Bjune, Elissaveta Bozilova, Richard HW Bradshaw, Barbara A Brayshay, Simon Brewer, Elisabetta Brugiapaglia, Jane Bunting, Simon E Connor, Jacques-Louis de Beaulieu, Kevin Edwards, Ana Ejarque, Patricia Fall, Assunta Florenzano, Ralph Fyfe, Didier Galop, Marco Giardini, Thomas Giesecke, Michael J Grant, Jöel Guiot, Susanne Jahns, Vlasta Jankovská, Stephen Juggins, Marina Kahrmann, Monika Karpińska-Kołaczek, Piotr Kołaczek, Norbert Kühl, Petr Kuneš, Elena G Lapteva, Suzanne AG Leroy, Michelle Leydet, José Guiot, José Antonio López Sáez, Alessia Masi, Isabelle Matthias, Florence Mazier, Vivika Meltsov, Anna Maria Mercuri, Yannick Miras, Fraser JG Mitchell, Jesse L Morris, Filipa Naughton, Anne Birgitte Nielsen, Elena Novenko, Bent Odgaard, Elena Ortu, Mette Venås Overballe-Petersen, Heather S Pardoe, Silvia M Peglar, Irena A Pidek, Laura Sadori, Heikki Seppä, Elena Severova, Helen Shaw, Joanna Święta-Musznicka, Martin Theuerkauf, Spassimir Tonkov, Siim Veski, WO van der Knaap, Jacqueline FN van Leeuwen, Jessie Woodbridge, Marcelina Zimny, Jed O Kaplan (2013) 'The European Modern Pollen Database (EMPD) project'. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 22 (6):521-530. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2010 Ian Convery, Ian Soane, Tom Dutson, Helen Shaw (2010) 'Mainstreaming LEADER delivery of the RDR in Cumbria: an interpretative phenomenological analysis'. Sociologia Ruralis, 50 (4):370-391. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2008 Marie-José Gaillard, Shinya Sugita, M Jane Bunting, Richard Middleton, Anna Broström, Christopher Caseldine, Thomas Giesecke, Sophie EV Hellman, Sheila Hicks, Kari Hjelle, Catherine Langdon, Anne-Birgitte Nielsen, Anneli Poska, Henrik von Stedingk, Sim Veski (2008) 'The use of modelling and simulation approach in reconstructing past landscapes from fossil pollen data: a review and results from the POLLANDCAL network'. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 17 (5):419-443. [DOI] [Full-Text]
2006 Helen Shaw, Richard Tipping (2006) 'Recent pine woodland dynamics in east Glen Affric, northern Scotland, from highly resolved palaeoecological analyses'. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, 79 (3):340-340. [DOI] [Full-Text]

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2013 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2013) 'Land Management and Biodiversity Through Time in Upper Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire, UK: Understanding the Impact of Traditional Management' In: Cultural Severance and the Environment: The Ending of Traditional and Customary Practice on Commons and Landscapes Managed in Common. Netherlands : Springer. [Link] [DOI]
2010 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2010) 'Land management and biodiversity through time in upper Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire, UK: Understanding the impact of traditional management' In: The End of Tradition? Landscape Archaeology and Ecology Series 8. Sheffield : Wildtrack Publishing. [Link]
2013 Shaw, H and Whyte, I (2013) 'Palaeoecological Records of Woodland History During Recent Centuries of Grazing and Management Examples from Glen Affric, Scotland and Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire' In: Trees, Forested Landscapes and Grazing Animals A European Perspective on Woodlands and Grazed Treescapes. Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge. [DOI]
2003 Shaw, H and Tipping, R (2003) 'Recent woodland history from pollen analysis' In: The Quaternary of Glen Affric and Kintail. Field Guide. London : Quaternary Research Association. [Link]

Other Journal

Year Publication
2008 H Shaw, I Whyte (2008) 'Shifting ecosystem services through time in the North West uplands' Physics World, 85 :99-106. [Link]

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2011 Shaw, H (2011) Woods as Working and Cultural Landscapes, Past and Present . In: Mills, Coralie M eds. The history of woodland dynamics in relict east Glen Affric pinewoods: A lack of human impact? Dunkeld, Perthshire, [Link]
2010 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2010) Managing the Future: building on the past, Proceedings of the 2009 Malham Tarn Research Seminar . In: Pickles A eds. Palaeoecology and landscape history in upper Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire, UK Malham, Yorkshire, [Link]
2006 Soane, I. and Shaw, H. (2006) The future of the Uplands: Sustainable scenarios for people, the environment and landscape . In: Soane, I. and Shaw, H eds. Conclusions and Conference Outcomes Kendal, Cumbria, 30/05/2006- 01/06/2006 [DOI]
2006 Soane, I. and Shaw, H. (2006) The future of the Uplands: Sustainable scenarios for people, the environment and landscape . In: Soane, I. and Shaw, H eds. Introduction and Overview of Papers [Link] [DOI]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2022 Shaw, Helen (2022) Palaeoecology for community and education – a conundrum Yorkshire Palaeo Group meeting Online/Lincoln UK, .
2022 Shaw, Helen, Scroxton, Nick (2022) IQUA Autumn symposium 2022 IQUA Autumn symposium 2022 Maynooth, 02/12/2022-02/12/2022.
2021 Helen Shaw (2021) Biodiversity and herb representation in pollen samples: an analysis from upper Ribblesdale Yorkshire The Yorkshire Palaeo Group Meeting April 2021 Online, .
2021 Helen Shaw (2021) Palaeoecology meets environmental history 52nd Annual Conference of Irish Geographers Online, 18/05/2021-21/05/2021.
2021 Ro Charlton, Helen Shaw, Abbie Nugent (2021) Palaeoecological analysis of land-use changes and fluvial response in the River Suck catchment 52nd Annual Conference of Irish Geographers Online, 18/05/2021-21/05/2021.
2021 Helen Shaw, Ro Charlton, Carla Ferreira (2021) Communicating the palaeoenvironmental archive 52nd Annual Conference of Irish Geographers Online, 18/05/2021-.
2021 Helen Shaw, Carla Ferreira (2021) Applied palaeoecology – potentials and communication experiences 52nd Annual Conference of Irish Geographers Online, 18/05/2021-21/05/2021.
2019 Shaw, Helen (2019) Beyond the bog: the importance and value of small-scale stratigraphic deposits in the landscape as archives for applied palaeoecology IQUA Symposium 2019 Dublin, 29/11/2019-29/11/2019.
2019 Shaw, H. (2019) Understanding pollen representation of rare herb taxa at the local scale INQUA Dublin, 24/07/2019-31/07/2019.
2019 Shaw, H. (2019) Beyond the bog: the importance and value of small-scale stratigraphic deposits in the landscape as archives for applied palaeoecology INQUA Dublin, 24/07/2019-31/07/2019.
2019 Shaw, H. (2019) Forest sustainability and rewilding EUGEO CIG Galway, 15/05/2019-18/05/2019.
2019 Shaw, H.; van Asperen; E. Kirby, J. (2019) Dung fungus: how does it represent the grazing record? EUGEO CIG Galway, 15/05/2019-18/05/2019.
2018 Maynooth University, Department of Geography (2018) n/a Conference of Irish Geographers 2018 Maynooth University, Ireland, 10/05/2018-12/05/2018.
2018 Shaw, H. (2018) S56: Conservation Science & Policy (Species & Diversity British Ecological Society Annual Meeting Birmingham, 16/12/2018-19/12/2018.
2018 Shaw, H. and Lawton, P. (2018) 50 Questions for Irish Geography research Conference of Irish Geographers 2018 Maynooth, Ireland, 10/05/2018-12/05/2018.
2018 Shaw, H. (2018) Palaeoecology and community ecology, potential for close linkages: testing the ability to detect diversity and herbaceous pastoral species in pollen diagrams British Ecological Society Annual Meeting Birmingham, 16/12/2018-19/12/2018.
2017 Shaw, H. (2017) Palaeoecology and landscape history in Ribblesdale Conference of Irish Geographers 2017 University College Cork, 04/05/2017-06/05/2017.
2016 Shaw, H. (2016) Palaeoecology and Community Ecology: Potential for close linkages? Quaternary Research Association Short Discussion Meeting — New Approaches, New Insights Cardiff Museum, Wales, 06/09/2016-07/09/2016.
2014 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2014) Human impact on the vegetation of pastoral uplands: recent centuries of change in the Yorkshire Dales, UK Open PAGES Focus 4 Workshop, Human-Climate-Ecosystem Interactions. Towards a more accurate quantification of human-environment interactions in the past University of Leuven, Belgium, 03/02/2014-07/02/2014.
2013 Shaw, H. (2013) Extended spatial calculations of Indices of Association: assessing the interpretive value of rare pollen types in pollen diagrams Landscape-scale palaeoecology: towards quantitative reconstruction of landscape-scale vegetation mosaics from pollen data University of Hull, 05/09/2014-09/09/2014.
2013 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2013) The contribution of palaeo-historical studies to understanding biodiversity and ecosystem services in traditional multifunctional landscapes BES/Intecol Annual meeting: BES Centenary London, 18/08/2013-23/08/2013.
2012 Shaw, H. (2012) Palaeoecological History around Windermere Trees Beyond the Wood An exploration of concepts of woods, forests and trees Sheffield Hallam University, 05/09/2012-05/09/2012.
2012 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2012) The impact of traditional pastoral management palaeoecological and historical contributions to understanding sustainability, resilience and ecosystem services QRA ADM Beaulieu, Hampshire, UK, 04/01/2012-06/01/2012.
2012 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2012) Land management and biodiversity through time in upper Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire, UK: understanding the impact of traditional management Planet under pressure: new knowledge towards solutions London, 26/03/2012-29/03/2012.
2011 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2011) Post Medieval land use and vegetation change in upland Ribblesdale, Yorkshire Dales, UK Resilience 2011 Arizona State University, Phoenix Arizona, 11/03/2011-16/03/2011.
2011 Shaw, H and Whyte, I (2011) Interpreting the pollen signal to determine recent ecological change for nature conservation in the UK uplands INQUA Bern, Switzerland, 21/07/2011-27/07/2011.
2011 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2011) Understanding the spatial extent and taxonomic detail from pollen analyses in open land in Ribblesdale British Ecological Society Annual meeting Sheffield, 12/09/2012-14/09/2012.
2010 Shaw, H. (2010) Modern pollen analogues in Scotland and Yorkshire Empirical estimates of relative pollen productivity, Training Workshop University of Hull, .
2010 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2010) Post Medieval land use and vegetation change in upland Ribblesdale, Yorkshire Dales, UK Global change and the worlds mountains Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth, Scotland, 26/09/2010-30/09/2010.
2010 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2010) Land management and biodiversity through time in upper Ribblesdale, North Yorkshire, UK Landclim 10000 workshop Lund, Sweden, 01/08/2010-01/08/2010.
2010 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2010) The little Ice age and upland farming in the Yorkshire Dales: Recent research in Ribblesdale Climate Change in the Yorkshire Dales Grassington, Yorkshire, 09/10/2010-09/10/2010.
2010 Shaw, H. (2010) Woodland history in Glen Affric The Native Woodland Discussion Group Annual Conference Birnam Institute, Dunkeld, Scotland, 27/10/2010-27/10/2010.
2009 Shaw, H. and Whyte, I. (2009) An introduction to palaeoecological and historical research in Ribblesdale North Yorkshire Landclim 10000 workshop Tallinn, Estonia, 01/10/2009-01/10/2009.
2009 Shaw, Helen (2009) A palaeoecological approach to understanding and managing native pine woodland in Glen Affric Departmental seminar series. Archaeology department, Bradford University Bradford, .
2008 Shaw, H. (2008) Shifting ecosystem services through time in the North West uplands: implications for valuing and for planning future adaptation RICS North Rural Conference Kendal, Cumbria, 25/09/2008-25/09/2008.
2008 Shaw, Helen (2008) Resilience or transformation? Social-ecological systems in upland cultural landscapes e-conference International Centre for the Uplands Conference Penrith, Cumbria, .
2007 Shaw, H. (2007) Global Warming, What do I care? Global Warming, What do I care? Penrith, Cumbria, 31/03/2007-31/03/2007.
2008 Shaw, Helen (2008) Bridging the Gap Workshop Workshop examining how palaeoecology can be better applied University of Hull, .
2004 Shaw, H. (2004) Long term ecology of Glen Affric British Ecological Society Annual Meeting: Ecology Without Frontiers: Environmental Challenges Across Europe. Ecology Without Frontiers: Environmental Challenges Across Europe Lancaster University, .
2005 Shaw, H. (2005) Determining detailed woodland history from pollen analysis in Glen Affric, Scotland: spatial resolutions and pollen vegetation representation in a patchy pinewood ecosystem Open Science Conference on Global Change in Mountain Regions Perth, Scotland, 02/10/2005-06/10/2005.
2004 Shaw, Helen (2004) Pollen-vegetation relationships in Glen Affric The Bursary Lecture. Inverness Field Club. November 2004 Inverness, .
2003 Shaw H. & Tipping R. (2003) Woodland history at stand scales using fine resolution pollen analysis: a case study from east Glen Affric, Scotland The Sixth Regional Biodiversity Conference. Sheffield Sheffield, .

Thesis

Year Publication
2006 H Shaw (2006) A palaeoecological investigation of long-term stand-scale ecological dynamics in semi-open native pine woods: contributing to conservation management in east Glen Affric. Stirling, UK: [Thesis] [Link]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Irish Ecological Association Ordinary Committee member -
Irish Quaternary Association Member -

Committees

Committee Function From / To
Irish Ecological Association Committee Member (Policy Group) 01/05/2021 -
Maynooth Green Campus Member (Biodiversity Group) 01/03/2017 -
RIA Climate Change and Environmental Sciences committee Member 01/09/2022 - 01/09/2026

Employment

Employer Position From / To
University of Wales Trinity Saint David Senior Lecturer and Programme Manager 01/09/2015 - 31/12/2016
Lancaster University, Lancaster Environment Centre Senior Research Associate 01/03/2009 - 30/03/2013
Liverpool John Moores University Lecturer in Conservation Ecology 01/01/2014 - 30/07/2015
Lancaster University, International Centre for the Uplands Project Officer 01/09/2004 - 31/08/2007
Oxford Archaeology North Project Palynologist 01/10/2013 - 28/02/2014
Lancaster University, Centre for Northwest Regional Studies Lecturer in Ecology 01/02/2012 - 31/08/2013
University of Cumbria International Centre for the Uplands Project Officer 01/02/2007 - 01/09/2009

Education

Start date Institution Qualification Subject
The Open University BSc (Hons) Science
University of Southampton BSc (Hons) Biology
University of Stirling PhD A palaeoecological investigation of long-term stand-scale ecological dynamics in semi-open native pine woods: contributing to conservation management in east Glen Affric

Editorial / Academic Reviews

Amount Role From / To
International Journal of Biodiversity Science and Management Guest Editor 01/01/2006 - 30/12/2006

Teaching Interests

I am on a break from teaching whilst undertaking service role as ADTL

I am still co-teaching GY664.

I have led and taught the following modules
GY217 Biogeography
GY317 Global ecosystems and sustainability
GY367 Palaeoecology
GY310B Geography research workshops group.

In these modules I make use of our university Green Campus to enhance student learning. 

I have also co-taught or contributed to

GY671 Field Course for MSc in Climate Change

GY209 Reading geography

GY205 Geography field trip

GY308 Field Trip

I have supervised a range of UG thesis projects in ecological/palaeoecological and environmental science subject areas.

I am always happy to speak to students about support for summer projects or thesis supervisions as well as PhD applications. 

Internal Collaborators

Name Company Role Country
Rosemary Charlton Lecturer Ireland
John Devaney
Fiona Walsh
Eamon Darcy

External Collaborators

Name Role Country
Dr Eline van Asperen/Durham University United Kingdom
Dr Eileen Tisdall/Stirling University Lecturer United Kingdom
Dr Jason Kirby/Liverpool John Moores University United Kingdom