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Professor Angela Coe

Profile summary

Professional biography

Professor of Sedimentary Geology

My research spans sedimentology and stratigraphy. I am particularly interested in deciphering and understanding palaeoclimate change, detecting past changes in sea-level and advancing our understanding of geological time. I have been at the forefront of developing new field and geochemical proxies for environmental change. A lot of my research has focussed on the Jurassic, but I have also worked on many other interevals in the Phanerozoic. I have worked for the Open University for over 25 years based at the main campus in Milton Keynes. Prior to this I was the Elf postdoctoral fellow at Durham University and studied for my D.Phil at Oxford University.  In 2021 I was honoured to be awarded the John Phillips medal by the Yokshire Geological Society for distinguished contributions to our knowledge of the stratigraphy and palaeontology of Yorkshire and the north of England.

I am passionate about helping undergraduates and postgraduates to learn and develop new skills. I have been at the forefront of developing new methods for more effective education for over two decades. In 2015-2016 I led a project on innovative methods of bringing the educators and students closer together in distance education so that students are better supported and more engaged. This has initated entirely new approaches to teaching across the University and several strategic University projects. In 2018 I was presented with an Open University Teaching Award for Excellence in Innovation and I joined the University Senior Team to contribute my expertise in teaching. 

Current postions and service within the international scientific community

Past services to the international scientific community

  • Secretary of the International Subcommission on Jurassic Stratigraphy
  • Member of Council for the Geological Society, London
  • Chair of the Joint Committee for Palaeontology
  • Member of Council of the Yorkshire Geological Society
  • Academic advisor for the successful bid to make the Dorset Coast a World Heritage site.
  • External examiner for two degrees and a diploma at University College, Cork, Ireland
  • External examiner for Luton University
  • PhD Examiner Univeristy of Aberdeen, University of Exeter.
  • Editorial Board for Geology

Authored books

**NEW** Coe, A.L. (ed) 2022. Deciphering Earth's History: the Practice of Stratigraphy, Geological Society, London, Geoscience in Practice,  (For more information see:

Coe, A.L., Argles, T. W., Rothery, D. A. & Spice, R. A. 2010. Geological Field Techniques (edited by: Angela L. Coe), Wiley-Blackwell and The Open University, 323pp. (ISBN 9781444330625) (Website and link to other resources)

Coe, A.L., Bosence, D., Church, K. D., Flint, S.S., Howell, J. A. & Wilson, R.C.L. 2003. The Sedimentary Record of Sea-Level Change (edited by: Angela L. Coe). Cambridge University Press and The Open University, 288pp. (ISBN 978 0 521 53842 4) (Website and link to resources)

Research interests

My research  focuses on sea-level change, the development and application of sequence stratigraphy and palaeoclimate change including de-oxygenation of the oceans. I currently have research projects in the following areas:

  • The environmental impact of global warming during the Toarcian (Early Jurassic) Oceanic Anoxic Event
  • The effect of extreme climate change during the Jurassic on insects
  • Development of new geochemical proxies for oceanic de-oxygenation 
  • The causes and consequences of global cooling during the mid-Miocene
  • Oxfordian (Upper Jurassic) stratigraphy and cycles
  • Early Jurassic of Morocco
  • Tectonic versus climatic controls on Upper Jurassic mass-flow deposits in NE Scotland
  • Flora evolution and flora response to palaeoenvironmental change
  • Stratigraphy of Mars
  • Jurassic stratigraphy

I started the Palaeoenvironmental Change Research Group and oversee the running of a suite of laboratories for the preparation of sedimentary deposits for sedimentological, palaeontological and stable isotopic analyses.

Postgraduate and postdoctoral opportunities

I have a lot of experience of post-graduate supervision through my own students and setting up and then serving as the postgraduate tutor for the department for over 10 years. I have a team of postgraduate students, and also host and mentor post doctoral researchers. I advertise new PhD projects each year.  Please do get in touch if you are interested in working with me as either a PhD student or a postdoctoral fellow. 

My current research students are: Julie HarraldJoe McNeil and Emily Swaby. All of my research students have gone on to successful careers in academia, the oil industry, teaching or the charity sector. 

Teaching interests

I teach a broad range of Earth Science disciplines including: sedimentology, stratigraphy, palaeoclimatology, palaeontology, field skills, earth system science, basin analysis, geophysics and general geology. I have also contributed towards pedagogy, science communication, project work and led 10 course teams.

Current contributions to the Open University teaching management and strategy

  • Contributor to the Institution wide TEF documentation and advisory panel
  • Academic lead Open edX
  • Employability lead, School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems

Current undergraduate modules

S309 Earth processes. Academic lead and core author of this level 3, 60 credit course on Earth processes. Through my leadership this innivative flagship course has developed and tested a brand new way of producing and presenting online modules at the Open University. The KPIs from the student survey are 7-15% higher than the average for the univeristy at level 3. The module is presented every year starting in October.

S831 Environmental Science challenges (in production) for first presentation in October 2023. Academic lead and author. This module will be core to the new integrated masters in Environmental Science M05.

S209 Earth Science, author of material on sedimentology, sedimentary environments, home and field based project work, residential field work. Also led work on the learning outcomes and assessment strategy.  This module is presented every year starting in October.

Linked undergraduate qualifications: S309 and S209 contribute towards R53 the new Geology degree and associated Higher Education Diploma and are included in theEarth Science pathway of the BSc in Natural Sciences . More information on our qualifications for current OU students can be found on the Qualification website.



The Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Kimmeridgian Stage (Jurassic System), at Flodigarry, Staffin Bay, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UK (2023)
Wierzbowski, Andrzej; Barski, Marcin; Coe, Angela L.; Hounslow, Mark W.; Matyja, Bronisław A.; Price, Gregory D.; Wierzbowski, Hubert; Wright, John K.; Atrops, with contributions from Francois; Grabowski, Jacek; Mattioli, Emanuela; Morton, Nicol; Ogg, James G.; Olóriz, Federico; Page, Kevin; Parent, Horacio; Przybylski, Piotr; Schweigert, Guenter and Villaseñor, Anna Bertha
Episodes ((Early Access))

Mounds in Oxia Planum: The Burial and Exhumation of the ExoMars Rover Landing Site (2022)
McNeil, Joseph D.; Fawdon, Peter; Balme, Matthew R.; Coe, Angela L. and Thomas, Nicolas
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 127, Article e2022JE007246(11)

Morphology, Morphometry and Distribution of Isolated Landforms in Southern Chryse Planitia, Mars (2021-05-11)
McNeil, Joseph D.; Fawdon, Peter; Balme, Matthew R. and Coe, Angela L.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 126, Article e2020JE006775(5)

Use of drones to analyse sedimentary successions exposed in the foreshore (2021)
Harrald, Julie; Coe, Angela L.; Thomas, Rick M. and Hoggett, Murray
Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 132(3) (pp. 253-268)

Portable X‐ray fluorescence spectroscopy as a tool for cyclostratigraphy (2019-06-14)
Saker-Clark, Matthew; Kemp, David B. and Coe, Angela L.
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 20(5) (pp. 2531-2541)

Variability in modern pollen rain from moist and wet tropical forest plots in Ghana, West Africa (2019-01)
Julier, Adele C. M.; Jardine, Phillip E.; Adu-Bredu, Stephen; Coe, Angela L.; Fraser, Wesley T.; Lomax, Barry H.; Malhi, Yadvinder; Moore, Sam and Gosling, William D.
Grana, 58(1) (pp. 45-62)

Ocean circulation in the Toarcian (Early Jurassic), a key control on deoxygenation and carbon burial on the European Shelf (2018-09)
Ruvalcaba Baroni, Itzel; Pohl, Alexandre; van Helmond, Niels A. G. M.; Papadomanolaki, Nina M.; Coe, Angela L.; Cohen, Anthony S.; van de Schootbrugge, Bas; Donnadieu, Yannick and Slomp, Caroline P.
Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 33(9) (pp. 994-1012)

The modern pollen-vegetation relationship of a tropical forest-savannah mosaic landscape, Ghana, West Africa (2018-07-03)
Julier, Adele C. M.; Jardine, Phillip E.; Adu-Bredu, Stephen; Coe, Angela L.; Duah-Gyamfi, Akwasi; Fraser, Wesley T.; Lomax, Barry H.; Malhi, Yavinder; Moore, Sam; Owusu-Afriyie, Kennedy and Gosling, William D.
Palynology, 42(3) (pp. 324-338)

Landscape-scale drivers of glacial ecosystem change in the montane forests of the eastern Andean flank, Ecuador (2018-01-01)
Loughlin, Nicholas J.D.; Gosling, William D.; Coe, Angela L.; Gulliver, Pauline; Mothes, Patricia and Montoya, Encarni
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 489 (pp. 198-208)

Polylepis woodland dynamics during the last 20,000 years (2018)
Valencia, Bryan G.; Bush, Mark B.; Coe, Angela L.; Orren, Elizabeth and Gosling, William D.
Journal of Biogeography, 45 (pp. 1019-1030)

Chemotaxonomy as a tool for interpreting the cryptic diversity of Poaceae pollen (2016-12)
Julier, Adele C. M.; Jardine, Phillip E.; Coe, Angela L.; Gosling, William D.; Lomax, Barry H. and Fraser, Wesley T.
Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 235 (pp. 140-147)

Drivers of ecosystem and climate change in tropical West Africa over the past ∼540 000 years (2016-10)
Miller, Charlotte S.; Gosling, William D.; Kemp, David B.; Coe, Angela L. and Gilmour, Iain
Journal of Quaternary Science, 31(7) (pp. 671-677)

Environmental controls on the distribution and diversity of lentic Chironomidae (Insecta: Diptera) across an altitudinal gradient in tropical South America (2016-01-18)
Matthews-Bird, Frazer; Gosling, William D.; Coe, Angela L.; Bush, Mark; Mayle, Francis E.; Axford, Yarrow and Brooks, Stephen J.
Ecology and Evolution, 6(1) (pp. 91-112)

Evidence for weathering and volcanism during the PETM from Arctic Ocean and Peri-Tethys osmium isotope records (2015-11-15)
Dickson, Alexander J.; Cohen, Anthony S.; Coe, Angela L.; Davies, Marc; Shcherbinina, Ekaterina A. and Gavrilov, Yuri O.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 438 (pp. 300-307)

Continental margin molybdenum isotope signatures from the early Eocene (2014-10-15)
Dickson, Alexander J.; Cohen, Anthony S. and Coe, Angela L.
Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 404 (pp. 389-395)

Development of freeze-thaw processing technique for disaggregation of indurated mudrocks and enhanced recovery of calcareous microfossils (2014-09-01)
Kennedy, Alice E. and Coe, Angela L.
Journal of Micropalaeontology, 33(2) (pp. 193-203)

The impact of anoxia on pelagic macrofauna during the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (Early Jurassic) (2014-09)
Caswell, Bryony A. and Coe, Angela L.
Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 125(4) (pp. 383-391)

The spread of marine anoxia on the northern Tethys margin during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (2014-07-14)
Dickson, Alexander J.; Rees-Owen, Rhian L.; März, Christian; Coe, Angela L.; Cohen, Anthony S.; Pancost, Richard D.; Taylor, Kyle and Shcherbinia, Ekaterina
Paleoceanography, 29(6) (pp. 471-488)

Primary productivity controls on opportunistic bivalves during Early Jurassic oceanic deoxygenation (2013-11)
Caswell, Bryony A. and Coe, Angela L.
Geology, 41(11) (pp. 1163-1166)

Osmium-isotope evidence for volcanism, weathering, and ocean mixing during the early Aptian OAE 1a (2012)
Bottini, Cinzia; Cohen, Anthony S.; Erba, Elisabetta; Jenkyns, Hugh C. and Coe, Angela L.
Geology, 40(7) (pp. 583-586)

Seawater oxygenation during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (2012)
Dickson, Alexander J.; Cohen, Anthony S. and Coe, Angela L.
Geology, 40(7) (pp. 639-642)

A high-resolution shallow marine record of the Toarcian (Early Jurassic) Oceanic Anoxic Event from the East Midlands Shelf, UK (2012)
Caswell, Bryony A. and Coe, Angela L.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 365-6 (pp. 124-135)

Vegetation, climate and fire in the eastern Andes (Bolivia) during the last 18,000 years (2011-12-01)
Williams, Joseph J.; Gosling, William D.; Brooks, Stephen J.; Coe, Angela L. and Xu, Sheng
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 312(1-2) (pp. 115-126)

Four thousand years of environmental change and human activity in the Cochabamba Basin, Bolivia (2011-07)
Williams, Joseph J.; Gosling, William D.; Coe, Angela L.; Brooks, Stephen J. and Gulliver, Pauline
Quaternary Research, 76(1) (pp. 58-68)

Astronomical forcing and chronology of the early Toarcian (Early Jurassic) oceanic anoxic event in Yorkshire, UK (2011)
Kemp, David B.; Coe, Angela L.; Cohen, Anthony S. and Weedon, Graham P.
Paleoceanography, 26, Article PA4210(4)

Seawater redox variations during the deposition of the Kimmeridge Clay Formation, United Kingdom (Upper Jurassic): evidence from molybdenum isotopes and trace metal ratios (2010-11)
Pearce, Christopher R.; Coe, Angela L. and Cohen, Anthony S.
Paleoceanography, 25, Article PA4213(4)

Oxfordian magnetostratigraphy of Britain and its correlation to Tethyan regions and Pacific marine magnetic anomalies (2010-01-31)
Ogg, James G.; Coe, Angela L.; Przybylski, Piotr A. and Wright, John K.
Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 289(3-4) (pp. 433-448)

Magnetostratigraphic correlation of the Oxfordian-Kimmeridgian boundary (2010-01-15)
Przybylski, Piotr A.; Ogg, James G.; Wierzbowski, Andrzej; Coe, Angela L.; Hounslow, Mark W.; Wright, John K.; Atrops, François and Settles, Erik
Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 289(1-2) (pp. 256-272)

New range data for marine invertebrate species across the early Toarcian (Early Jurassic) mass extinction (2009-09)
Caswell, Bryony A.; Coe, Angela L. and Cohen, Anthony S.
Journal of the Geological Society, 166 (pp. 859-872)

Molybdenum isotope evidence for global ocean anoxia coupled with perturbations to the carbon cycle during the Early Jurassic (2008-03)
Pearce, Christopher R.; Cohen, Anthony S.; Coe, Angela L. and Burton, Kevin W.
Geology, 36(3) (pp. 231-234)

The Late Palaeocene-Early Eocene and Toarcian (Early Jurassic) carbon isotope excursions: a comparison of their time scales, associated environmental changes, causes and consequences (2007-12)
Cohen, Anthony S.; Coe, Angela L. and Kemp, David B.
Journal of the Geological Society, 164(6) (pp. 1093-1108)

A nonmarine record of eccentricity forcing through the Upper Triassic of southwest England and its correlation with the Newark Basin astronomically calibrated geomagnetic polarity time scale from North America (2007-11)
Kemp, David and Coe, Angela L.
Geology, 35(11) (pp. 991-994)

The impact of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province on climate and on the Sr- and Os-isotope evolution of seawater (2007-02-09)
Cohen, Anthony S. and Coe, Angela
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 244(1-4) (pp. 374-390)

Reply to letter from: Glowniak, E. & Wierzbowski, H. Comment on The mid-Oxfordian (Late Jurassic) positive carbon-isotope excursion recognized from fossil wood in the British Isles (2007)
Pearce, C. R.; Coe, A. L. and Hesselbo, S. P.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 248(1-2) (pp. 252-254)

A potential stratotype for the Oxfordian/ Kimmeridgian boundary: Staffin Bay, Isle of Skye, UK (2006-09)
Wierzbowski, Andrzej; Coe, Angela L.; Hounslow, Mark W.; Matyja, Bronislaw A.; Ogg, James G.; Page, Kevin N.; Wierzbowski, Hubert and Wright, John K.
Volumina Jurassica, 4 (pp. 17-33)

Astronomical pacing of methane release in the Early Jurassic period (2005-09-15)
Kemp, David B.; Coe, Angela; Cohen, Anthony S. and Schwark, Lorenz
Nature, 437(7057) (pp. 396-399)

The mid-Oxfordian (Late Jurassic) positive carbon-isotope excursion recognised from fossil wood in the British Isles (2005-06-09)
Pearce, Christopher R.; Hesselbo, Stephen P. and Coe, Angela L.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 221(3-4) (pp. 343-357)

What status for the Quaternary? (2005-02)
Gibbard, Philip L.; Smith, Alan G.; Zalasiewicz, Jan A.; Barry, Tiffany; Cantrill, David; Coe, Angela L.; Cope, John C. W.; Gale, Andrew S.; Gregory, F. John; Powell, John H.; Rawson, Peter F.; Stone, Philip and Waters, Colin N.
Boreas, 34(1) (pp. 1-6)

Osmium isotope evidence for the regulation of atmospheric CO2 by continental weathering (2004-02)
Cohen, Anthony S.; Coe, Angela L.; Harding, Stephen M. and Schwark, Lorenz
Geology, 32(2) (pp. 157-160)

Cyclostratigraphy, orbital tuning and inferred productivity for the type Kimmeridge Clay (Late Jurassic), Southern England (2004)
Weedon, G.P.; Coe, A.L. and Gallois, R.W.
Journal of the Geological Society, 161(4) (pp. 655-666)

New geochemical evidence for the onset of volcanism in the Central Atlantic magmatic province and environmental change at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary (2002-03)
Cohen, Anthony S. and Coe, Angela L.
Geology, 30(3) (pp. 267-270)

Integrated stratigraphy of the Kimmeridge Clay Formation (Upper Jurassic) based on exposures and boreholes in south Dorset, UK (2001-09)
Morgans-Bell, Helen S.; Coe, Angela L.; Hesselbo, Stephen P.; Jenkyns, Hugh C.; Weedon, Graham P.; Marshall, John E.A.; Tyson, Richard V. and Williams, Carolyn J.
Geological Magazine, 138(5) (pp. 511-539)

Astronomical calibration of the Jurassic time scale from cyclostratigraphy in British mudrock formations (1999-07-15)
Weedon, Graham P.; Jenkyns, Hugh C.; Coe, Angela L. and Hesselbo, Stephen P.
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 357(1757) (pp. 1787-1813)

Precise Re–Os ages of organic-rich mudrocks and the Os isotope composition of Jurassic seawater (1999-04)
Cohen, Anthony S.; Coe, Angela L.; Bartlett, Jessica M. and Hawkesworth, Christopher J.
Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 167(3-4) (pp. 159-173)

Sequence stratigraphy of the Coniacian of the Anglo-Paris Basin (1999)
Grant, Simon F.; Coe, Angela L. and Armstrong, Howard A.
Geological Magazine, 136(1) (pp. 17-38)

Geological Field Techniques (2010)
Coe, Angela; Argles, Thomas; Rothery, David and Spicer, Robert
ISBN : 978-1-4443-3061-8 | Publisher : Wiley Blackwell in association with the OU | Published : Chichester

The Sedimentary record of sea-level change (2003-05)
Coe, Angela L.; Bosence, Dam W.J.; Church, Kevin D.; Flint, Stephen S.; Howell, John A. and Wilson, R. Chris L.
ISBN : 0 521 53842 4 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press and the Open University | Published : Cambridge, UK

Jurassic sequences of the Hebrides Basin, Isle of Skye, Scotland (2000)
Hesselbo, Stephen P. and Coe, Angela L.
In: Graham, J.R. and Ryan, A. eds. Field Trip Guidebook (pp. 41-58)
ISBN : 952106620 | Publisher : International Association of Sedimentologists | Published : Dublin

A comparison of the Oxfordian successions of Dorset, Oxfordshire and Yorkshire (1995-09-01)
Coe, A. L.
In: Taylor, P. D. ed. Field Geology of the British Jurassic. GSL Miscellaneous Titles (pp. 151-172)
ISBN : 1897799411 | Publisher : The Geological Society, London | Published : London, U.K.

Making the Production of Learning at Scale more Open and Flexible (2016)
Papathoma, Tina; Ferguson, Rebecca; Littlejohn, Allison and Coe, Angela
In : Learning at Scale 2016 (25-26 Apr 2016, Edinburgh, Scotland) (pp. 273-276)

Mo-isotopes as tracers of Cretaceous ocean anoxia (2011)
Izon, G.; Cohen, A.; Coe, A.; Poulton, S. and Wagner, T.
In : Goldschmidt Conference 2011 (14-19 Aug 2011, Prague, Czech Republic)

A marine Mo-isotope record across OAE1a (2010)
Izon, Gareth; Cohen, Anthony and Coe, Angela
In : American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2010. (13-17 Dec 2010, San Francisco)

Driving Disruptive Innovation: Analysis of changes in Professional Practice through the production of an OU module (S309) (2015-09-01)
Littlejohn, Allison; Papathoma, Tina; Smidt, Samantha; Jelfs, Anne; Bridgman, Sarah and Coe, Angela
Open University Insight