DR Amy Prendergast

DR Amy Prendergast


  • Human-environment interaction
  • Human-environment interaction (shellfish foraging, seasonality)
  • Palaeoclimate reconstruction
  • Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction
  • Stable isotope geochemistry of mollusc shells (sclerochronology) (sclerochronology)
  • Tsunami hazards (tsunami geology, palaeotsunami)



  • Amy's research interests include palaeoenvironmental proxy development, palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, human-environment interaction, and natural hazards (particularly palaeotsunamis). For her palaeoenvironmental research, she uses stable isotope and trace element records in combination with growth increment analyses from mollusc shells to generate high-resolution records of climate and seasonality. She focuses on generating climate records from archaeological sites to facilitate reconstructions of human-environment interaction.

    Amy recently completed an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Mainz in Germany, reconstructing Palaeolithic human-environment interaction in response to extreme climate events in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean. 

    She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2014. Her PhD included palaeoenvironmental proxy development, the generation of seasonally-resolved marine and terrestrial palaeoenvironmental records, and records of shellfish foraging from the Haua Fteah, an archaeological site in northeast Libya that spans the last 160,000 years. 

    Between 2005-2009, Amy worked in government, first in the graduate program at Geoscience Australia, and then as a research scientist, leading a program of tsunami geology research at Geoscience Australia. Her work included research and capacity building and primarily focused on the Holocene geological record of past tsunamis in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

    Amy grew up in Melbourne and completed her undergraduate at the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Classics and Archaeology and a Bachelor of Science majoring in Earth Sciences. Her Honours in Earth Sciences focused on palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and human environment interaction in the Mallee region of northwestern Victoria.   


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • 2016 McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Melbourne (AUD $276,000)

    2013 Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellowship (€85,000)

    2012 Natural Environment Research Council, UK “Dating the human response to climate change in North Africa” (£7935) with Prof Graeme Barker

    2009 Rae and Edith Bennett Traveling Scholarship for PhD research: Three years full funding for PhD (AUD $180,000)

    2008 AusAID Public Sector Linkages Program “The application of tsunami geology to tsunami mitigation in Indonesia” (CI with  E. Yulianto. B. F. Atwater, and P. R. Cummins) (AUD $270,000)   


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Cambridge 2014
  • BSc (Hons), University of Melbourne 2004
  • BA, University of Melbourne 2003

Awards and honors

  • Chrysalis Scholarship, Association for Women Geoscientists, 2012
  • Mary Euphrasia Mosley Award, 2011
  • Rae and Edith Bennett Scholarship, 2009
  • Dean's Honour Roll, University of Melbourne, 2004
  • Best earth science Honours thesis, Victoria, Ivan Newham Prize, 2004
  • John Lovering Prize, University of Melbourne, 2004
  • P. W. Chron Scholarship, University of Melbourne, 2004
  • Honours Prize, Australian Institute of Geoscientists, 2004
  • Exhibition Award for Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, 2001



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I am available to supervise projects under the broad themes of palaeoenvironmental change, human-environment interaction, and natural hazards. I am particularly interested in the area of high resolution climate reconstruction using mollusc shell chemistry (sclerochronology) and can supervise projects relating to modern calibration of climate proxies, climate reconstruction using mollusc shell archives, reconstructing seasonal shellfish foraging from archaeological sites, as well as palaeotsunami research.