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Senior LecturerMatiu Prebble

Environmental Science
Internal Phone: 90287


Research Interests

Along with Te Ao Māori and Pasifika cullture, and growing my own fruit and vegetables, I'm interested in the long term connections between people and the environment. Aotearoa and many of the Pacific Islands are uniquely placed to begin to understand these connections given the relatively recent human occupation. The kinds of questions I'm interested in addressing include: What was the environment like prior to human occupation? How hostile were these environments to human settlement? How did the indigenous first peoples arrive on these islands, adapt to and transform these islands - leading to the thriving societies seen at first European contact? How did the later arrivals of people transform the islands, and the lifeways of indigenous societies? How can these bodies of information on the past be used to understand present and future environments, and vice versa?
The kinds of places where I obtain data to inform on these questions include wetlands, peat bogs, lakes, or anywhere organic sediments and fossil remains can be found. This includes archaeological sites.
My research tools include: microscopy, mass spectrometry, sediment coring devices, archaeological excavation methods, and a wide range of numerical methods. I mainly work in sedimentology, microscopy, geochemistry laboratories and herbaria.
I have a strong terrestrial ecology and biogeography focus and specialise in botanical applications to archaeology, palaeoecology, soil science and aerobiology.
I have worked on most of the Pacific Island Archipelagoes from Papua New Guinea to Rapa Nui.

Recent Publications

  • Strandberg NA., Sear DA., Langdon PG., Cronin SJ., Langdon CT., Maloney AE., Bateman SL., Bishop T., Croudace IW. and Leng MJ. (2023) Island ecosystem responses to the Kuwae eruption and precipitation change over the last 1600 years, Efate, Vanuatu. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 11
  • Ladd SN., Maloney AE., Nelson DB., Prebble M., Camperio G., Sear DA., Hassall JD., Langdon PG., Sachs JP. and Dubois N. (2021) Leaf Wax Hydrogen Isotopes as a Hydroclimate Proxy in the Tropical Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 126(3)
  • Nogué S., Santos AMC., John H., Björck S., Castilla-Beltrán A., Connor S., de Boer EJ., de Nascimento L., Felde VA. and Fernández-Palacios JM. (2021) The human dimension of biodiversity changes on islands. Science 372(6541): 488-491.
  • Roman M., McWethy DB., Kehrwald NM., Erhenhi EO., Myrbo AE., Ramirez-Aliaga JM., Pauchard A., Turetta C., Barbante C. and Prebble M. (2021) A multi-decadal geochemical record from Rano Aroi (Easter Island/Rapa Nui): Implications for the environment, climate and humans during the last two millennia. Quaternary Science Reviews 268
  • Sachs JP., Mügler I., Sachse D., Prebble M. and Wolhowe M. (2021) Last millennium hydroclimate in the central equatorial North Pacific (5°N, 160°W). Quaternary Science Reviews 259