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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Research Staff  /  Nadia Solovieva

Nadia Solovieva

Environmental Change Research Centre,
Department of Geography,
University College London,
26 Bedford Way,

Tel: 020 7679 5532/5558



  • 2000 PhD in Palaeoecology, University of London .
  • 1989 MSc in Hydrobiology, Lomonosov Moscow State University .
  • 1987 BSc in Plant Physiology, Lomonosov Moscow State University .


  • 1998-present Research Fellow, Environmental Change Research Centre, Department of Geography, University College London;
  • 1994-1995 Soros-funded visiting researcher, Department of Geography, University College London;
  • 1993-1994 Research and teaching assistant at the Department of Hydrobiology, Biological Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University;
  • 1989-1993 Research assistant, Institute of Global Climate and Ecology, Moscow , Russian Academy of Sciences.

Publications in refereed journals

  • Jones, V.J, Solovieva N, Self, A.E., McGowan, S., Rosén, P, Salonen, J.S., Seppä, H., Väliranta, M., Parrott, E., and Brooks, S.J. 2011. The influence of Holocene tree-line advance and retreat on an arctic lake ecosystem: a multi-proxy study from Kharinei Lake, North Eastern European Russia. Accepted by Journal of Paleolimnology.
  • Bezrukova E.V.,. Tarasov P.E., Solovieva, N., Krivonogov S.K., and Riedel, F., 2010. Last glacial–interglacial vegetation and environmental dynamics in southern Siberia: Chronology, forcing and feedbacks. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, online publication DOI information: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2010.07.020.
  • Leavitt, P.R. S.C. Fritz, N.J. Anderson, P.A. Baker, T. Blenckner, L. Bunting, J. Catalan, D.J. Conley, , W. Hobbs, E. Jeppesen, A. Korhola, S. McGowan, K. Rühland, J.A. Rusak, G. Simpson, N. Solovieva, and J. Werne. 2009. Paleolimnological evidence of the effects on lakes of energy and mass transfer from climate and humans. Limnology and Oceanography, vol 54, part 2, 2330-2348.
  • Walker, T.R, Crittenden, P.D., Dauvalter, V.A.,Jones, V.J., Kuhry, P., Loskutova, O., Mikkola K., Nikula, A., Patova, E., Ponomarev, V.I., Pystina, T., Ratti, O., Solovieva, N., Stenina, A. Virtanen, T., Young, S. 2009. Multiple indicators of human impacts on the environment in the Pechora Basin, north-eastern European Russia, Ecological Indicators 9: 765–779.
  • Rudaya, N., Tarasov, P., Dorofeyuk, N, Solovieva, N, Kalugin, I., Andreev, A., Daryin, A, Diekmann, B., Tserendash, T, Wagner, M. 2009. Holocene vegetation and environments in the Mongolian Altai derived from the Hoton-Nur pollen and diatom records, Journal of Quaternary Science 28: 540 -554.
  • Solovieva, N., Jones, V.J., Birks, J.H.B., Appleby, P., Nazarova, L. 2008. Diatom responses to 20th century climate warming in lakes from the northern Urals, Russia., Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 259, 96-106.
  • Walker, T., Habeck, O., Karjalainen, T., Virtanen, T., Solovieva, N., Jones, V.J., Kuhry, P., Ponomarev,V., Mikkola, K., Nikula, A., Patova, E., Crittenden, P., Young, S., Ingold, T. 2006. Perceived and measured levels of environmental pollution: interdisciplinary research in the subarctic lowlands of northeast European Russia, Ambio, 35, 220 – 228.
  • Smol, J., Wolfe, A., Birks, J., Douglas, M.S.V., Jones, V., Korhola, A., Pienitz, R., Ruhland, K., Sorvari, S., Antoniades, D., Brooks, S., Fallu, M-A., Hughes, M., Keatley, B., Laing, T., Michelutti, N., Nazarova, L., Nyman, M., Quinlan, R., Paterson, A., Perren, B., Rautio, M., Saulnier-Talbot, E., Siitonen, S., Solovieva, N., Weckstrom, J. 2005. Climate-driven regime shifts in the biological communities of arctic lakes. 2005. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 12, 4397-4402.
  • Solovieva, N., Jones, V., Nazarova, L., Brooks, S.,. Birks, H. J. B, Grytnes, J-A., Appleby, P., Kauppila, T., Kondratenok, B., Renberg, I., Ponomarev. V. 2005. Palaeolimnological evidence for recent climate change in lakes from the northern Urals, Russia. Journal of Paleolimnology, 33, 463-482.
  • Solovieva, N., Tarasov, P., MacDonald, G. 2005. Quantitative reconstruction of Holocene climate from the Chuna Lake pollen record, Kola Peninsula, north-west Russia, The Holocene,15, 141-148.
  • Jones, V., Leng, M., Solovieva, N., Sloane, H., Tarasov, P. 2004. Holocene climate on the Kola Peninsula: evidence from the oxygen isotope record of diatom silica. Quaternary Science Reviews 23, 833-839.
  • Kultti, S., Väliranta, M., Sarmaja-Korjonen, K., Solovieva, N., Virtanen, T., Kauppila, T., Eronen, M. 2003. Palaeoecological evidence of changes in vegetation and climate during the Holocene in the pre-Polar Urals, Northeast European Russia. 2003. Journal of Quaternary Science 18, 503-520.
  • Sarmaja-Korjonen, K., Kultti, S., Solovieva, N., Väliranta, M. 2003. Mid-Holocene palaeoclimatic and palaeohydrological conditions in northeastern European Russia; a multi-proxy study of Vankavad lake, Journal of Paleolimnology 30, 415-426.
  • Solovieva, N., Jones, V.J. 2002. A multiproxy record of Holocene environmental changes in the central Kola Peninsula, northwest Russia. Journal of Quaternary Science 17, 303-318.
  • Solovieva, N., Jones, V.J, Appleby, P.G, Kondratenok, B.M. 2002. Extent, environmental impact and long-term trends in atmospheric contamination in the Usa basin of east-European Russian arctic. Water, Air, And Soil Pollution 139, 237-260.
  • Subetto, D.A., Wohlfarth, B., Davydova N.D., Sapelko, T.V., Björkman, L , Solovieva, N., Wastegård, S. , Possnert, G., Khomutov, V.I. 2002. Climate and environment on the Karelian Isthmus, northwestern Russia, 13000-9000 cal. yrs BP. Boreas 31, 1-19.
  • Cameron, N. G., H. J. B. Birks, V. J. Jones, F. Berge, J. Catalan, R. J. Flower, J. Garcia, B. Kawecka, K.A. Koinig, A. Marchetto, P. Sánchez-Castillo, R. Schmidt, M. Šiško, Solovieva, N., Štefková, E., Toro, M. 1999. Surface-sediment and epilithic diatom pH calibration sets for remote European mountain lakes (AL:PE Project) and their comparison with the Surface Waters Acidification Programme (SWAP) calibration set. Journal of Paleolimnology 22, 291-317.

(ii) Books:

  • MacDonald, G., Edwards,T., Gervais, B., Laing, T., Pisaric, M., Porinchu, D., Snyder, J., Solovieva, N., Tarasov, P., Wolfe, B. 2005. Paleolimnological research from northern Russian Eurasia. In: Pienitz, R., Douglas, M.S.V., and Smol, J.P., eds. Long-term environmental change in Arctic and Antarctic Lakes. Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research Series: vol 8. Springer Verlag, 550 pp.

Research interests cover the following four areas:

1. Environmental and climate change during the Holocene

(a) Palaeolimnological assessment of environmental change in the Kola Peninsula during the Holocene

The main objective of the successfully defended PhD thesis was to study the Holocene environmental and, primarily, a climate change using sediments of a small upland lake from the Kola Peninsula, Russia . The training set of 25 lakes was generated, diatom-water chemistry relationship was examined applying a series of multivariate statistical methods and a diatom-pH transfer function was developed. A sediment core from an upland Chuna lake was analysed for diatoms, pollen, organic content, metal concentration and magnetic properties in order to find the response of the lake ecosystem to the climate change during the Holocene. The reconstruction of the water pH based on high resolution diatom analysis of the top 40 cm of the core was performed in order to trace short-term climate oscillations during the last 2,000 years. No apparent changes in water acidity associated with climate change were found. However, a major floristic change of the diatom community, which occurred in the lower part of the core between 6,500 and 5,500 yr BP, is associated with pollen changes, sediment accumulation rate and change in sediment organic content and concentration of basic cations and can be related to an indirect climate influence on diatom assemblage. The results suggest that Holocene climatic variability can be studied using biotic responses of lake ecosystems recorded in the sediments. (see Solovieva, 2000; Solovieva and Jones, 2002 from the list of publications above)

I have been involved in several collaborative projects in the Kola Peninsula :

(i) the collaborative research by the University of Lund and Department of Geography, Moscow State University on diatom responses to treeline changes in the Kola Peninsula (see Subetto et al ., 2002 from the list of publications above);

(ii) generation of a regional pollen training set for the Kola Peninsula with Department of Geography, University of California (Professor Glen MacDonald, Departments of Geography and Organismic Biology, Ecology and Evolution, UCLA) (Solovieva et al ., 2005)

(iii) generation of a regional diatom-pH transfer function with Department of Geography, University of Helsinki (Dr. Atte Korhola)

(iv) use of the oxygen composition of diatom silica ( d 18 O diatom ) to reconstruct Holocene climate variability (Jones et al ., 2004)

(b) Palaeolimnology and climate change in the Urals during the Holocene

Within a frame of palaeoclimate workpackage of the TUNDRA project palaeoenvironmental histories of two lake from the northern Urals were established. Sediment cores from the two lakes were analysed for cladocera, diatoms and pollen. pH and total phosphorus (TP) were reconstructed using diatom-based models. Fluctuations of water level determined using cladoceran analysis are generally correlated with the pollen and diatom changes. For lake Mezhgornoe, three major development stages were established: (1) Younger Dryas period (up to c.13,100 cal BP) which is characterised by very low water level, higher pH, low diatom abundance and prevalence of non-arboreal pollen (2) early and mid Holocene (c. 13,000 - 6,000 cal BP) when the water level, diatom accumulation rate and TP increased, the lake was totally dominated by small Fragilaria , and Picea was likely to occur in the catchment of the lake, and (3) late Holocene, which featured the retreat of the Picea tree-line and possibly further increase in the lake water level (Kultti et al ., 2003). Lake Vankavad was probably formed at ca. 5600 cal. BP and initially it was shallow with a littoral cladoceran fauna. Macrofossil and pollen results suggest that dense Betula - Picea forests grew in the vicinity and the shore was close to the sampling point. At ca. 5400 cal. BP the water level rose coincident with the decrease in the density and area of forests, probably caused by cooling climate and accelerated spread of mires. There was also a further rise in the water level at ca. 3500 BP (ca. 3800 cal. BP). The initiation of the lake, followed by two periods of rising water-level, as well as the increase in mire formation, was a consequence of a rise in groundwater level. This probably reflects lower evapotranspiration in a cooling mid-Holocene climate and/or higher precipitation in the lowland area ( Sarmaja-Korjonen et al. , 2003).

2. Response of aquatic ecosystems to recent climate change

This research theme formed the basis for a NERC small grant project. The recent sediments from two deep arctic lakes, Mitrofanovskoe and Vanuk-ty, situated in the permafrost belt within the Bol'shezemel'skaya Tundra in the northern Ural region, were studied for diatoms, chironomids, spheroidal carbonaceous particles and stable lead isotopes. The magnitudes and rates-of-change in diatom and chironomid assemblages were numerically estimated. Instrumental climate records were used to assess statistically the amount of variance in diatom and chironomid data explained by temperature. August and September air temperatures have a statistically significant effect on diatom composition at both lakes. At Mitrofanovskoe Lake , major compositional changes in diatom and chironomid assemblages occurred at the turn of the 20 th century and might be related to the regional increase in temperature. Chironomid-inferred air temperature also increased by approximately 1°C since the early 1900s. At both lakes diatom compositional changes, coincident with the increase in June and September temperatures, also occurred at the late 1960s. These compositional changes are correlated with the increase in diatom production, sediment organic content and diatom species richness, and are likely to be a diatom response to the lengthening of the growing season. These changes are also correlated with the circum-Arctic temperature increase from the 1960s. Both lead isotopes and spheroidal carbonaceous particles show a clear atmospheric pollution signal, peaking in the 1980s (Solovieva et al ., 2005).

3. Use of d 18 O diatom records in annually laminated lake sediments to reconstruct regional climate patterns

This is an ongoing NERC-funded research project in collaboration with Dr. M. Leng from NERC Isotope Geoscience Laboratory and Dr. I. Snowball from University of Lund . The project aims to statistically examine the relationship between meteorological records and d 18 O diatom in two annually laminated lake sediment cores in central Sweden . Climate in central Sweden is strongly influenced by North Atlantic Oscillation and the Scandinavian pattern and the results of the work are therefore likely to be representative of the wider European region. By establishing exactly how d 18 O diatom reflects local and regional climate signals, it will be possible to provide the basis for the development of a climate transfer function potentially applicable at a range of sites and timescales.

4. Use of palaeoeocological methods to study effects of pollution on lake ecosystems

Within a frame of a pollution workpackage in TUNDRA and SPICE projects (see above) lake sediment records were used to investigate the extent, environmental impact and long-term trends in air pollution in the Usa basin of East-European Russian Arctic . Sediment cores from fourteen lakes located along three pollution gradients in the Usa basin, North-East Russia were analysed for diatoms, spheroidal carbonaceous particles and heavy metals. Modern water chemistry and surface sediments were also analysed. At each site past pH was inferred using a diatom –based transfer function and critical loads for sulphur deposition were calculated using a diatom model. Lakes from the Vorkuta transect currently experience the highest levels of atmospheric deposition, however, results suggest that at present day sulphur deposition levels there is no danger of lake acidification at any of the sites, due to their high buffering capacity. The sediment records show that sites from the Inta and Vorkuta transects experienced higher pollution loads 10-30 years ago, when coal production and mining were more intensive. There is also evidence that in the Vorkuta area atmospheric deposition might have led to the alkalisation of the lakes since diatom floristic changes and an increase in inferred pH coincide with the period of peak industrial activity (Solovieva et al ., 2002).

Research Experience

  • Diatom analysis, including taxonomy and analysis of spatial and temporal distributions;
  • Pollen analysis, including pollen transfer functions and climate reconstructions;
  • Spheroidal carbonaceous particle analysis, including assessment of air pollution;
  • Stable isotope analysis, including recent climatic reconstructions;
  • Environmental changes in late-glacial environments.
  • Climate change in the Arctic ;
  • Dating of recent lake sediments;
  • Lakes as ecological archives and ‘early warning' systems;
  • Phytoplankton analysis, including taxonomy and primary productivity analysis;
  • Palaeolimnological techniques, climate change and pollution in the Russian Arctic;
  • Palaeolimnological evidence for lake acidification, assessment of critical loads.
  • From 2005 visiting lecturer in Research Methods in Geography, London South Bank University;
  • 2001-present visiting lecturer in Holocene environmental change and air pollution at the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary;
  • 1998-present lecturing contribution to MSc courses at UCL: Diatom Ecology, (MSc in Micropalaeontology); Holocene climate change (MSc in Quaternary Science).

Research grants and contracts

  • 2010-2013 NERC Standard Grant. Holocene climate variability in the Kamchatka Peninsula.
  • 2006-2010  CARBO-NORTH. Funding source: EU Framework VI. (Quantifying the Carbon Budget in Northern Russia), Principal investigator Professor Peter Kuhry, University of Stokholm, Sweden
  • 2003-2005  NERC small grant. Assessing regional climate signals from 18Odiatom records in annually laminated lake sediments. Principal Investigator Dr. Viv Jones, Department of Geography, UCL
  • 2001-2003  NERC small grant.   Palaeolimnological evidence for circumarctic climate warming in Northern Russia. Principal Investigator Dr. Viv Jones, Department of Geography, UCL
  • 2000-2003  SPICE (Sustainable Pechora in a Changing Environment).  Funding Source: EU  INCO-COPERNICUS Principal investigator Dr. Peter Kuhry, Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi, Finland
  • 1998-2001 TUNDRA (Tundra Degradation in the Russian Arctic).  Funding source EC. Principal investigator Dr. Peter Kuhry, Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi, Finland