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Professor Gary Wilson

Contact DetailsGaryWilson

Office: 310 Castle Street, room 147
Tel: 64 3 479 7509
Email: gary.wilson@otago.ac.nz

Academic Qualifications

BSc BMus PhD(Well)

Research Interests

  • Paleoceanography
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Marine Geology & Geophysics
  • Paleomagnetism
  • Physical properties of sediment cores

My research interests lie in the general area of marine geology and the marine geological record of ocean and climate change. Specific focuses of my research include Antarctica’s role in the evolving global ocean and climate system, New Zealand ocean and climate response to changing forcing agents (both internal such as atmospheric carbon dioxide and ocean current reorganisation, and external such as changes in the earth’s orbital parameters), records of change in marine sediment cores, and the application of paleomagnetic and physical properties methods to dating and correlation and as proxies for environmental change.

Courses

  • MARI 201 The Marine Environment
  • GEOL 273/373 Sedimentary Processes and Materials
  • GEOL 421 Special Topic in Sedimentary Basins: Pattern & Process
  • GEOL 431 Special Topic in Paleomagnetism
  • GEOL 261/361 Geophysics of the Earth

Research Projects

ANDRILL (Antarctic geological Drilling).

A collaborative programme to recover cores from sedimentary basins beneath Antarctica’s floating ice shelves and sea ice. Drilling uses a dedicated specially adapted system to recover continuous core from deep drill holes in order to decipher past climate, sea level and ice sheet history and ultimately use the understanding developed to help predict how Antarctic might behave in a future warmer world. The programme also involves a significant programme of over ice marine geophysical surveys to define sedimentary basins, identify targets and correlate data sets. NZ partners: GNS Science, Victoria University, University of Otago and Canterbury University. International partners: Germany, Italy, New Zealand and the United States. Funding: Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and International partners.

Unlocking Early Miocene Climate – New Zealand in a warmer world.

Recovery of drill cores to study a remarkably well-preserved high-resolution climate archive from a Maar Crater Lake in Central Otago, New Zealand. The record is thought to span the Oligocene-Miocene Boundary and the Mi-1 glaciation and will be the first terrestrial mid southern latitude record of this event. Physical Properties and paleomagnetic methods will be used to develop a time series of annual to decadal resolution and fossil data will be combined with physical properties data to reconstruct the terrestrial environment and climatic influences. NZ Partners: University of Otago, GNS Science. International Partners: University of Massachusetts, University of Adelaide. Funding: Marsden Fund, Royal Society of New Zealand.

Ice in the Greenhouse: a Paleocene record of Antarctic deep-water flow.

Investigation of deep-sea erosion of the New Zealand landmass prior to the opening of the circum-Antarctic sea way. Work is based on outcrops now exposed along the eastern margin of the New Zealand landmass including Campbell Island. A combination of geochemical, paleontologic, sedimentologic and paleomagnetic methods are being employed to determine ocean temperatures and currents as well as identify and correlate hiatuses and other environmental indicators. NZ Partners: GNS Science, University of Otago, Waikato University, International Partners: University of Bristol, City University of New York. Funding: Marsden Fund, Royal Society of New Zealand.

Glaciomarine retreat on Campbell Island.

Campbell Island sits isolated from mainland New Zealand and well south, within the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, it is potentially a good barometer of long-term Southern Hemisphere ocean and climate change. We will collect marine geophysical data from the “fiords” on the eastern side of Campbell Island and use gravity and piston cores to sample and study the retreat history. The RV Polaris II is supporting the field work. Funding from the University of Otago PBRF funds.

Ross Sea Drift and the last Glacial Maximum in Antarctica.

Determining the relationship between glacial deposits of the Ross Sea drift and marine strata recovered by coring or ice shelf exhumation through field studies and cosmogenic dating of quartz rich marine sandstones found on the surface of the drift. The aim is to test the history of deposition of the Ross Sea drift and timing and extent of processes involved in its deposition. NZ Partner; GNS Science. International Partners: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, ANSTO. Funding from University of Otago Research Grant.

A national Centre for Advanced Teaching and Postgraduate Research in Marine Sciences.

A project to bring together advanced teaching and postgraduate research in marine Sciences across the breadth of disciplines in the physical and marine biological sciences as well as across full latitudinal extent and range of unique marine environments embodied in the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone. NZ Partners: Auckland University, University of Otago, Victoria University and Industry Partners. Funding from the Tertiary Education Commission.

Pliocene sea level history.

Determination and correlation of relative sea level histories from the New Zealand and Chilean margins of the South Pacific. Correlation using high resolution magnetostratigraphies to decipher eustatic and tectonic influence in stratigraphic sequence development. NZ Partners: University of Otago, Victoria University, International Partners: Southern Illinois University, Universidad Catolica del Norte, Servicio National de Geologia y Mineria de Chile. Funding: Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, and International partners.

Paleoseismicity of the Alpine Fault and Hikurangi Subduction Margin.

Construction of a well dated record of earthquake history for two of New Zealand’s regions known to be the source of large earthquakes. The target period is the last 20 thousand years and project will use sediment cores collected from the RV Marion DuFresne and RV Tangaroa. Seismic events will be identified and dated using sedimentological, physical and magnetic analysis of the cores. NZ Partners: NIWA, Victoria University, University of Otago. International Partners: Geoscience Rennes (CNRS), Geosciences Azure (Nice), Virginia Institute of Technology, Oregon State University. Funding: Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International partners.

Climate Variability West Coast NZ.

Construction of the paleoceanographic history of intermediate and deep water circulation of the SE Tasman Sea from long sediment cores collected as part of the MATACORE voyage of the RV Marion DuFresne. Cores transect the watermasses of interest and the sediment record is provided by a combination of sediment sourced from the Hokitika and Cook Submarine Canyons as well as hemipelagic and biogenic sedimentation. A combination of sedimentologic, stable isotope, paleontologic and magnetic methods are being employed to reconstruct and date water mass history. NZ Partners: NIWA, University of Otago, GNS Science, Geomarine Research. International Partners: Geoscience Rennes (CNRS), Geosciences Azure (Nice), Alfred-Wegener-Institute. Funding: Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International partners.

Postgraduate Students

Jacob Anderson - Thesis Title (PhD): Determining Antarctica’s terrestrial climate history from microbial populations in permafrost

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Publications

Hollis, C. J., Tayler, M. J. S., Andrew, B., Taylor, K. W., Lurcock, P., Bijl, P. K., … Wilson, G. S., … Phillips, A. (2014). Organic-rich sedimentation in the South Pacific Ocean associated with Late Paleocene climatic cooling. Earth-Science Reviews, 134, 81-97. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2014.03.006

Brachfeld, S., Pinzon, J., Darley, J., Sagnotti, L., Kuhn, G., Florindo, F., Wilson, G., Ohneiser, C., … Joseph, L. (2013). Iron oxide tracers of ice sheet extent and sediment provenance in the ANDRILL AND-1B drill core, Ross Sea, Antarctica. Global & Planetary Change, 110, 420-433. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2013.09.015

Lurcock, P. C., & Wilson, G. S. (2013). The palaeomagnetism of glauconitic sediments. Global & Planetary Change, 110, 278-288. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2013.06.010

Nelson, F. E., Wilson, G. S., & Neil, H. L. (2013). Marine magnetic signature of the Last Glacial Maximum and last deglaciation from the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes. Marine Geology, 346, 246-255. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2013.09.011

Ohneiser, C., Acton, G., Channell, J. E. T., Wilson, G. S., Yamamoto, Y., & Yamazaki, T. (2013). A middle Miocene relative paleointensity record from the Equatorial Pacific. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 374, 227-238. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.04.038

Chapter in Book - Research

Wilson, G., Pekar, S. F., Naish, T. R., Passchier, S., & DeConto, R. (2009). The Oligocene-Miocene boundary: Antarctic climate response to orbital forcing. In F. Florindo & M. Siegert (Eds.), Antarctic climate evolution. (pp. 369-400). Amsterdam: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/s1571-9197(08)00009-8

Wilson, G. S., Pekar, S. F., Naish, T. R., Passchier, S., & DeConto, R. (2009). The Oligocene-Miocene boundary: Antarctic climate response to orbital forcing. In F. Florindo & M. Siegert (Eds.), Developments in earth and environmental sciences (Vol. 8). (pp. 369-400). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/S1571-9197(08)00009-8

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Journal - Research Article

Hollis, C. J., Tayler, M. J. S., Andrew, B., Taylor, K. W., Lurcock, P., Bijl, P. K., … Wilson, G. S., … Phillips, A. (2014). Organic-rich sedimentation in the South Pacific Ocean associated with Late Paleocene climatic cooling. Earth-Science Reviews, 134, 81-97. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2014.03.006

Pekar, S. F., Speece, M. A., Wilson, G. S., Sunwall, D. S., & Tinto, K. J. (2013). The Offshore New Harbour Project: Deciphering the Middle Miocene through Late Eocene seismic stratigraphy of Offshore New Harbour, western Ross Sea, Antarctica. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 381, 199-213. doi: 10.1144/sp381.2

Roberts, A. P., Sagnotti, L., Florindo, F., Bohaty, S. M., Verosub, K. L., Wilson, G. S., & Zachos, J. C. (2013). Environmental magnetic record of paleoclimate, unroofing of the Transantarctic Mountains, and volcanism in late Eocene to early Miocene glaci-marine sediments from the Victoria Land Basin, Ross Sea, Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 118, 1845-1861. doi: 10.1002/jgrb.50151

Ohneiser, C., Acton, G., Channell, J. E. T., Wilson, G. S., Yamamoto, Y., & Yamazaki, T. (2013). A middle Miocene relative paleointensity record from the Equatorial Pacific. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 374, 227-238. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.04.038

Lurcock, P. C., & Wilson, G. S. (2013). The palaeomagnetism of glauconitic sediments. Global & Planetary Change, 110, 278-288. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2013.06.010

Brachfeld, S., Pinzon, J., Darley, J., Sagnotti, L., Kuhn, G., Florindo, F., Wilson, G., Ohneiser, C., … Joseph, L. (2013). Iron oxide tracers of ice sheet extent and sediment provenance in the ANDRILL AND-1B drill core, Ross Sea, Antarctica. Global & Planetary Change, 110, 420-433. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2013.09.015

Nelson, F. E., Wilson, G. S., & Neil, H. L. (2013). Marine magnetic signature of the Last Glacial Maximum and last deglaciation from the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes. Marine Geology, 346, 246-255. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2013.09.011

Aitken, A. R. A., Wilson, G. S., Jordan, T., Tinto, K., & Blakemore, H. (2012). Flexural controls on late Neogene basin evolution in southern McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Global & Planetary Change, 96-97, 9-22. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2011.08.003

Levy, R., Cody, R., Crampton, J., Fielding, C., Golledge, N., Harwood, D., … Ohneiser, C., Wilson, G., … Winter, D. (2012). Late Neogene climate and glacial history of the Southern Victoria Land coast from integrated drill core, seismic and outcrop data. Global & Planetary Change, 80-81, 61-84. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2011.10.002

Ohneiser, C., & Wilson, G. (2012). Revised magnetostratigraphic chronologies for New Harbour drill cores, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica. Global & Planetary Change, 82-83, 12-24. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2011.11.007

Lurcock, P. C., & Wilson, G. S. (2012). PuffinPlot: A versatile, user-friendly program for paleomagnetic analysis. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 13(6). doi: 10.1029/2012gc004098

Cody, R., Levy, R., Crampton, J., Naish, T., Wilson, G., & Harwood, D. (2012). Selection and stability of quantitative stratigraphic age models: Plio-Pleistocene glaciomarine sediments in the ANDRILL 1B drillcore, McMurdo Ice Shelf. Global & Planetary Change, 96-97, 143-156. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2012.05.017

Wilson, G. S., Levy, R. H., Naish, T. R., Powell, R. D., Florindo, F., Ohneiser, C., … Riesselman, C., … Wise, S. (2012). Neogene tectonic and climatic evolution of the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica: Chronology of events from the AND-1B drill hole. Global & Planetary Change, 96-97, 189-203. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2012.05.019

Passchier, S., Browne, G., Field, B., Fielding, C. R., Krissek, L. A., Panter, K., … and ANDRILL-SMS Science Team, including Ohneiser, C., Palin, M., Riesselman, C., & Wilson, G. (2011). Early and middle Miocene Antarctic glacial history from the sedimentary facies distribution in the AND-2A drill hole, Ross Sea, Antarctica. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 123(11-12), 2352-2365. doi: 10.1130/B30334.1

Naish, T. R., & Wilson, G. S. (2009). Constraints on the amplitude of mid-pliocene (3.6-2.4ma) eustatic sea-level fluctuations from the new zealand shallow-marine sediment record. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 367(1886), 169-187. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2008.0223

Naish, T., Powell, R., Levy, R., Wilson, G., Scherer, R., Talarico, F., … Ohneiser, C., … Riesselman, C., … Williams, T. (2009). Obliquity-paced pliocene west antarctic ice sheet oscillations. Nature, 458(7236), 322-328. doi: 10.1038/nature07867

Wilson, G. S., & Tinto, K. J. (2009). Calibration values for gravity base stations, McMurdo Station and Scott Base, Ross Island, Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 21(4), 367-372. doi: 10.1017/s0954102009001977

Field, B. D., Crundwell, M. P., Lyon, G. L., Mildenhall, D. C., Morgans, H. E. G., Ohneiser, C., Wilson, G. S., … Chanier, F. (2009). Middle Miocene paleoclimate change at Bryce Burn, southern New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics, 52(4), 321-333. doi: 10.1080/00288306.2009.9518461

Johnston, L., Wilson, G. S., Gorman, A. R., Henrys, S. A., Horgan, H., Clark, R., & Naish, T. R. (2008). Cenozoic basin evolution beneath the southern McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Global & Planetary Change, 62, 61-76. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2007.11.004

Ohneiser, C., Wilson, G. S., Field, B. D., & Crundwell, M. P. (2008). A new high-resolution, middle Miocene magnetostratigraphy from western Southland, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics, 51(3), 261-274. doi: 10.1080/00288300809509864

Wilson, G., Damaske, D., Möller, H.-D., Tinto, K., & Jordan, T. (2007). The geological evolution of southern McMurdo Sound: New evidence from a high-resolution aeromagnetic survey. Geophysical Journal International, 170(1), 93-100. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03395.x

Gilichinsky, D. A., Wilson, G. S., Friedmann, E. I., McKay, C. P., Sletten, R. S., Rivkina, E. M., … Tiedje, J. M. (2007). Microbial populations in Antarctic permafrost: Biodiversity, stage, age, and implication for astrobiology. Astrobiology, 7(2), 275-311. doi: 10.1089/ast.2006.0012

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Journal - Research Other

Wilson, G. S., Naish, T. R., Powell, R. D., Levy, R. H., Crampton, J. S., & McMurdo ANDRILL Science Implementation Committee (MASIC). (2012). Late Neogene chronostratigraphy and depositional environments on the Antarctic margin: New results from the ANDRILL McMurdo Ice Shelf Project. Global & Planetary Change, 96-97, 1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2012.05.007

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