Honorary Professor Mike Gagan

Honorary Professor

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science


Mike Gagan joined the University of Queensland in 2018 to pursue his abiding interests in tropical palaeoclimatology, natural hazards, neotectonics, and early human migration in Australasia. He received his BA in geology from UC Santa Barbara (1980) and then relocated to Australia to work with Elf Aquitaine Minerals Pty. Ltd. as an exploration geologist (1981-84) on the Sorby Hills (WA) carbonate-hosted lead-zinc-silver deposit. He completed his PhD at James Cook University (1990) on the marine geology of the Great Barrier Reef, and then held faculty appointments at the University of New England, Northern Rivers (1988-1991) and the Australian National University (1992-2017).

Since 1994, Mike has enjoyed an active scientific partnership with colleagues at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). The group uses geochemical tracers in raised-reef corals and speleothems to explore three Quaternary research themes: (1) the history of ocean temperature, salinity and palaeomonsoons in Australasia; (2) environmental impacts and early human dispersal; and (3) reconstructing great-earthquake cycles along convergent plate boundaries. The recent award of ARC Discovery grant DP180103762 will allow these topics to be further developed at UQ.


  • McDonough, Liza K., Treble, Pauline C., Baker, Andy, Borsato, Andrea, Frisia, Silvia, Nagra, Gurinder, Coleborn, Katie, Gagan, Michael K., Zhao, Jian-xin and Paterson, David (2022). Past fires and post-fire impacts reconstructed from a southwest Australian stalagmite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 325, 258-277. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2022.03.020

  • Treble, Pauline C., Baker, Andy, Abram, Nerilie J., Hellstrom, John C., Crawford, Jagoda, Gagan, Michael K., Borsato, Andrea, Griffiths, Alan D., Bajo, Petra, Markowska, Monika, Priestley, Stacey C., Hankin, Stuart and Paterson, David (2022). Ubiquitous karst hydrological control on speleothem oxygen isotope variability in a global study. Communications Earth and Environment, 3 (1) 29. doi: 10.1038/s43247-022-00347-3

  • Brenner, Logan D., Linsley, Braddock K., Webster, Jody M., Potts, Donald, Felis, Thomas, Gagan, Michael K., Inoue, Mayuri, McGregor, Helen, Suzuki, Atsushi, Tudhope, Alexander, Esat, Tezer, Thomas, Alex, Thompson, William, Fallon, Stewart, Humblet, Marc, Tiwari, Manish and Yokoyama, Yusuke (2020). Coral Record of Younger Dryas Chronozone Warmth on the Great Barrier Reef. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 35 (12) e2020PA003962. doi: 10.1029/2020PA003962

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Book Chapter

  • Gagan, Michael K. and Abram, Nerilie J. (2011). Stable isotopes and trace elements. Encyclopedia of modern coral reefs. (pp. 1034-1043) The Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi: 10.1007/978-90-481-2639-2_27

  • Gagan, Michael K. (2009). Paleo-el niÑo-southern oscillation (Enso) records. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. (pp. 518-538) Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4020-4411-3_172

  • Anderson, Atholl, Gagan, Michael and Shulmeister, James P. (2007). Mid-Holocene cultural dynamics and climatic change in the Western Pacific. Climate Change and Cultural Dynamics: A Global Perspective on Mid-Holocene Transitions. (pp. 265-296) edited by David G. Anderson, Kirk A. Maasch and Daniel H. Sandweisse. New York, United States: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/B978-012088390-5.50013-3

Journal Article

Conference Publication