Refugia of Futures Past - 1st workshop

07.12 - 13.12.2018  
Leeds, UK
Contact person:
Christopher Lyon, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The "Refugia of Futures Past" project group is holding its first workshop on 7, 12 and 13 December 2018, in Leeds, UK.


School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK


Attendance at this first event is now closed. Future activities are forthcoming.


'Refugia' are locations where climate and biodiversity conditions allowed humans, hominins and other organisms to survive past episodes of climate change characterised by glaciation and reduced global temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

In the deeper past, this may include organism redistributions in extreme global heating events (e.g. supposed uninhabitable equatorial regions across the Permo-Triassic boundary; rapid +8 oC rise at the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum).

While research exists on past human refugia, and future nonhuman refugia, we can find no studies scoping the presence of humans in future refugia. A need thus exists for research into the conditions and distribution of future Earth human refugia, which the detailed palaeoclimate evidence, modelling efforts past and future, and the range of current adaptation research can inform.


The aim of this project is to establish a long-term, international, interdisciplinary collaboration to scope the presence and nature of human refugia under radical environmental change conditions beyond 2100. By doing so, the project seeks to add urgent new insights for contemporary research, policy and practice on human responses to environmental change.

Workshop goals

1. Scope out the unanswered question of human habitation or refugia under anthropogenic environmental changes extending beyond the 21st century;

2. Produce a manuscript be submitted to a leading journal to frame research funding bids;

3. Plan future meetings and partnerships for academic and public facing events through 2019.


University of Leeds
Dr Christopher Lyon (Lead investigator)
Dr Tracy Aze
Dr Alex Dunhill
Dr Dan J Hill
Prof Lindsay Stringer
Bethany Allen

University of Sheffield
Dr Andrew Beckerman
Dr Tom Webb
Dr Deborah Sporton

University of York
Prof Paul O’Higgins
Prof Rob Marchant

University of Oxford
Dr Erin E Saupe

Université de Montréal
Prof Ariane Burke
Dr Julien Riel-Salvatore


This project is funded through a collaboration grant from the White Rose University Consortium:

Contact White Rose Universtiy Consortium liaison Karen Tsui: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

More information

Contact workshop organzer Dr Christopher Lyon, University of Leeds: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Post-meeting information

The main outcomes of the workshop are a detailed outline of a major paper that will inform a large grant proposal and future events. By February 2019 there should be some model results and figures that will go into the paper and perhaps a workshop report.