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Dr. Catherine Dalton

Department of Geography
Mary Immaculate College
South Circular Road

Direct Line:+ 353 (0) 61 204931
Fax: + 353 (0) 61 313632
Email: catherine.dalton@mic.ul.ie











Current Post:

Lecturer in Physical Geography, University of Limerick  (Mary Immaculate College)


  • Ph.D. University College London (1999)
  • M.Sc. Environmental Science, Trinity College Dublin (1992)
  • Dip. in Environmental Management, Dublin Institute of Technology (1986)

Catherine is a Lecturer in Physical Geography at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick   She has an MSc in Environmental Science from Trinity College Dublin and received a PhD from University College London in 1999 where she worked at the Environmental Change Research Centre. Her doctoral thesis was a palaeolimnological investigation of acidity in humic waters in Connemara (EU Human Capital and Mobility Fellowship Grant Reference No. ERBCHBICT-94-1059). Catherine has been a joint recipient of funding awards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the ERTDI Programme 2000-2006, STRIVE Programme 2007-2013 and the Marine Institute/Geological Survey INFOMAR Programme.

Catherine is the current President of the Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) (http://www.iqua.ie/) 2014+, and Vice-Chair of the International Paleolimnology Association (http://paleolim.org/) 2013+ 

Also see http://www.palaeolim.ie/

Research Projects (2002-2016):


2017 Marine Insititute Award. Contribution to Workpackage 5 Metagenomics in Burrishoole Ecosystem Observatory Network 2020 (BEYOND 2020): Using next generation science and technology to inform ecosystem response to environmental change. In collaboration with DkIT/DCU/UCC. Marine Research Programme 2014-2020.

2014 – Delivering Integrated Water Management Through the Bottom-up Approach: A Critical Analysis. IRD Duhallow, Cork Co Council and Mary Immaculate College. EPA Project Number 2014-W-DS23 STRIVE Programme 2014 - 2020.

2014 – Limerick County Council. Contibution towards laboratory and analytical costs of a palaeolimnological assessment of Lough Gur.

2011 – Mary Immaculate College Studentship Award 2011 for doctoral project:  Tracking environmental change using coastal sediment records.  Recipient Joyce Novak.

2009 – Geological Survey of Ireland and Marine Institute INFOMAR award # INF-09-19-DAL.  Using coastal paleoenvironmental records to examine past climate variation and track anthropogenic influences.

2009/10 – Mary Immaculate College Research Fellowship Award 2009-10 (salary equivalent).

2008 - EPA Doctoral Scholarship # 2008-PhD-W-d. Limno- and palaeo-ecological responses to lake water dissolved organic carbon (DOC).  STRIVE Programme 2007 - 2013.

2007 - EPA Doctoral Scholarship # 2007-PHD-B-2. Palaeolimnological assessment of recent disturbance / regime shifts in sediment cores from ecotonal brackish lake systems.  STRIVE Programme 2007 - 2013.

2006 - EPA Project # 2005-W-MS-40.  Past, current and future interactions between pressures, chemical status and biological quality elements for lakes in two contrasting instrumented catchments in Ireland (ILLUMINATE).

2003 -   EPA Doctoral Scholarship # 2002-PHD2-34.  Environmental RTDI Programme 2000 – 2006 Phase 3. Irish Ecoregion Community Training-set and Ecological Restoration Targets.   ERTDI Programme 2000-2006.

2002 -  EPA Project # 2002-W-LS/7.  IN-SIGHT: Identification of refereNce-Status for Irish lake typoloGies using palaeolimnological metHods and Techniques.  ERTDI Programme 2000-2006.

International Peer Reviewed Publications (2010 +)

Dalton, C., Jennings, E., O’Dwyer, B. Taylor, D.  (in press).  Integrating observed, inferred and simulated data to illuminate environmental change: a limnological case study.  Biology & Environment.

de Eyto, E., Dalton, C. Dillane, M., Jennings, E., McGinnity, P., O'Dwyer, B., Poole, R., Rogan, G. & Taylor, D. (in press) The response of North Atlantic diadromous fish to multiple stressors including land use change: a multidecadal study. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Sparber, K., Dalton, C. de Eyto, E., Jennings, E., Lenihan, D. & Cassina F. (2015) Contrasting pelagic plankton in temperate Irish lakes: the relative contribution of hetero-, mixo- and autotrophic components, and the effects of extreme rainfall events.  Inland Waters 5: 295-­310.

Dalton, C,  O’Dwyer, B, Taylor, D, de Eyto, E, Jennings, E, Chen, G, Poole, R, Dillane, M. McGinnity P. (2014). Anthropocene environmental change in an internationally important oligotrophic salmonid catchment on the Atlantic seaboard of western Europe.  Anthropocene 5:9–21.

Mylotte R., Verheyen, V., Reynolds, A., Dalton, C., Patti, A.F., Chang, R., Burdon, J. & Hayes,  M.H. (2014). Characterisation of Organic Materials Isolated from Estuarine Sediments. Journal of Soils and sediments 15(1):211-224.

Cassina, F., Dalton, C. & DeEyto, E. (2013).  The palaeolimnology of Lough Murree, a brackish ecotonal lake in the Burren, Ireland. Biology & Environment – Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. 113: 1

Cassina, F., Dalton, C., Dillane, M. & DeEyto, E. (2013).  A multi-proxy palaeolimnological study to reconstruct the evolution of a coastal brackish lake (Lough Furnace, Ireland) during the late-Holocene. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 383–384: 1–15.

Murnaghan, S., Taylor, D., Jennings, E., Dalton, C., Olaya-Bosch, K. & O’Dwyer, B. (2012) Middle to late Holocene environmental changes in western Ireland inferred from fluctuations in preservation of biological variables in lake sediment. Journal of Paleolimnology, 48, 433-448.

Chen, G., Dalton, C. & Taylor, D. (2010). Cladocera as indicators of trophic state in Irish Lakes. Journal of Paleolimnology 44: 465-481.


National Peer Reviewed Research Reports (2005+)

Ballinger, J., O’Doherty, T., Igoe, F., Dalton, C., O’Keeffe, B. & Riney B. (2016) Delivering Integrated Catchment Management through the bottom-up approach: A critical analysis. Full & Synthesis reports, EPA Project # 2014-W-DS-23.

Dalton, C. and OCarroll, E. (Eds.) (2014) Limerick and Shannon Estuary Region, IQUA Field Guide No. 32, Irish Quaternary Association, Dublin.   ISBN: 978-0-947920-46-3

Dalton, C., Mylotte, R. Hayes, M., McCarron, S., Edwards, R. & Turner, J. (2010) Using coastal paleoenvironmental records to examine past climate variation and track anthropogenic influences. INFOMAR Project Report (Project # INF-09-19-DAL) pp. 47.

Dalton, C., Jennings, E., Taylor, D., O’Dwyer, B., Murnaghan, S., Bosch, K., de Eyto, E. & Sparber, K. 2010.  ILLUMINATE Synthesis Report.  Strive Report 59.  EPA/ERTDI Project # 2005-W-MS-40 26 pp.  ISBN: 978-1-84095-371-8.  http://www.epa.ie/downloads/pubs/research/water/name,30443,en.html

Dalton, C., Jennings, E., Taylor, D., O’Dwyer, B., Murnaghan, S., Bosch, K., de Eyto, E. & Sparber, K. 2010.  Past, current and future Interactions between pressures, chemicaL status and bioLogical qUality eleMents for lakes IN contrAsting catchmenTs in IrEland ((ILLUMINATE). EPA/ERTDI Project # 2005-W-MS-40. Full Final Report 286 pp.  http://erc.epa.ie/safer/downloadCheck.jsp?isoID=31&rID=10184&atID=2031

Dalton, C.,  Cullinane, S. & Allott, N. (2008).  An assessment of algal biodiversity along the river Fergus cascade.  EPA Small Scale Study Report (SSS # 2004-SS-30-M1), 46 pp.

Taylor, D., Dalton, C., Leira, M. & Jordan, P. (2007). Identification of reference-status for Irish lake typologies using palaeolimnological methods and Techniques (IN-SIGHT).  2002-W-LS-17  Synthesis Report 40 pp. Environment Protection Agency, pp.33. ISBN: 1:84095-211-3

Taylor, D., Dalton, C., Leira, M., Jordan, P., Irvine, K., Bennion, H., McGee, E.  & León-Vintró, L. (2006) Identification of refereNce-Status for Irish lake typoloGies using palaeolimnological metHods and Techniques IN-SIGHT EPA/ERTDI Project # 2002-W-LS/7  Final Report 216 pp. School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College, University of Dublin.  http://www.epa.ie/downloads/pubs/research/water/name,22733,en.html

Dalton, C., Taylor, D., Leira, M., Jordan, P., Irvine, K., Bennion, H. & León-Vintró, L. (2005).  IN-SIGHT EPA/ERTDI Project # 2002-W-LS- Work Package (WP) 3 (Months 21-36).  Final Report  73 pp. University of Limerick (Mary Immaculate College)
Taylor, D., Leira, M., Dalton, C., Jordan, P., Irvine, K., Bennion, H. & Magee, E. (2005).  IN-SIGHT EPA/ERTDI Project # 2002-W-LS- Work Package (WP) 2 (Months 7-20).  Final Report 65 pp.  Dept. Geography, Trinity College Dublin.

International Conference Presentations (2007+)

Dalton C. (2015) Sediment accumulation in lacustrine systems in Ireland.  13th International Paleolimnology Symposium (IPS2015) 4-8th August 2015 Lanzhou, China.

Dalton, C. (2010).  Diatom preservation in coastal palaeoenvironmental records. British & Irish Diatomists Meeting 22nd  - 24th October 2010, Glencree Reconciliation Centre, Co. Wicklow.

Dalton, C., Mylotte, R. & Hayes, M.H.B. (2010) Coastal palaeoenvironmental records from Galway Bay, Ireland. All at Sea? 9th-10th Spetember Loughborough, UK.

Dalton, C. (2009).  Reconstruction of the recent past in a west of Ireland catchment.  11th International Palaeolimnology Symposium, 15-18th December 2009, Guadeljara, Mexico.

Dalton, C. (2009).  Galway bay sediment cores. British Diatomists Meeting 23th  - 25th October 2009, Freshwater Biological Association, Ferry House, Windermere, UK.

Dalton, C. (2008).  Current Irish diatom research. British Diatomists Meeting 24th  - 26th October 2008, Juniper Hall, Surrey UK.

Dalton, C., Cullinane, S. & Allott, N. (2007).  Algal studies in three Fergus river system lakes, Co. Clare Ireland.  Societal Internationalis Limnologiae (SIL) 30th Congress 12th-18h August 2007 Montreal, Canada.


Current Teaching

Undergraduate Modules:

  • Undergraduate Final Year Project (BA4707/8) 4th Year B.A.

  • Reconstructing Past Environments (GY4707) 4th Year B.A.

  • Global Environmental Change (GY4708) 4th Year B.A. & B.Ed.

  • Biogeography (GY4744) 2nd Year B.A. & B.Ed.

  • The Dynamic Earth (GY4741) 1st Year B.A.


Current Postgraduate Students:

  • Happy to discuss possibilities with potential students!

Past Postgraduate Students:

  • Joyce Novak (2011-2017): Title. Holocene environmental reconstruction in Galway Bay, a shallow coastal embayment along Ireland’s North-East Atlantic margin.   Co-supervised with Dr. Caroline Cusack, Marine Institute.  Funding Mary Immaculate College Studentship Award 2011 College Research Directorate Seed Funds and Marine Institute INFOMAR award # INF-09-19-DAL.(Examiners: Dr David Ryves (University of Loughborough), and Dr. Aaron Potito (NUIG); Viva date March 14th 2017).
  • Niall Walsh (2015-2017): Title - Using lake sediment records to examine recent productivity in Lough Gur, Co. Limerick. Co-supervisor Dr. Norman Allott (TCD).  Funding Mary Immaculate College Departmental Assistantship Award. Examiners: Prof. Anson Mackay (UCL) & Dr. Aaron Potito (NUIG). Examiners report 14/7/2017.
  • Rosaleen Mylotte (2009-2014):  Isolation and Characterisation of Organic Components in Sediments from an Estuarine Environment.  Principle Supervisor Prof.  Michael Hayes, University of Limerick. Viva date May 15th 2014.
  • Filippo Cassina (2007-2012): Title. A late-Holocene palaeolimnological assessment of two Irish coastal  lagoons.  Co-supervised with Elvira de Eyto, Marine Institute.  Funding body: EPA Doctoral Scholarship # 2007-PHD-B-2).  (Examiners: Dr Kaarina Weckstrom (Geological Survey of Denmark), and Dr Ken Byrne (University of Limerick); Viva date July 6th 2012).
  • Karin Sparber (2007-date): Working Title. Limno- and palaeo-ecological responses to lake water dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Co-supervised with Elvira de Eyto, Marine Institute.  Funding body EPA (Doctoral Scholarship # 2008-PhD-W-d). 
  • Marzena Olas (2006-2008): Working title.  Past and current interactions between pressures, chemical status and biological quality elements for lakes in two contrasting instrumented catchments in Ireland.  Co-supervised with Elvira de Eyto, Marine Institute.  Funding body EPA (Project # 2005-W-MS-40). 
  • Guangjie Chen (2003-2006):  Development of an Irish Ecoregion community (diatom and cladoceran) training-set using palaeolimnological techniques to reconstruct reference conditions and determine targets for lake restoration.   Funding body:  EPA Doctoral Scholarship # 2002-PHD2-34. (Examiners: Dr. Catherine Duigan & Dr. Tom Harrington; Viva date 2nd October 2006).
  • Shane Cullinane (2003-2012):  An assessment of Algal Biodiversity in Lakes.  Funding bodies:   EPA SSS # 2004-SS-30-M1; MIC-CRD award; Geography Department Teaching Assistantship. Examiners: Prof. David Taylor (TCD) & Dr. Angela Hayes (MIC-UL). Examiners report 15/6/2007.


Undergraduate Dissertation Topics:

Catherine is seeking students who wish to work on the following undergraduate Final Year Project topics:

1. Biogeography

Ecological surveys; Landscape interpretation; Ecosystem studies; Human modification of the landscape; Heritage studies; Plant and animal distribution; Reconstructing change in Ireland in the Holocene

2. Aquatic Ecology

Water quality (freshwater systems); Monitoring water quality; Indicators of water quality; Aquatic pollution; Lake sediment studies; Algal ecology; Water resources

3. Environmental Issues

Air pollution and environmental change; Environmental indicators; Conservation (theory and practice); Protected areas and species; Ecosystem management; Ecosystem sustainability; Environmental Impact Assessment


Professional Affiliations

  • Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) (President) (2014+) http://www.iqua.ie/
  • International Paleolimnological Association (Vice Chair) (2012+) http://paleolim.org/
  • Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Geosciences and Geographical Sciences Committee (2014+) (Member) http://www.ria.ie/


Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel:+35361 204300  V94VN26

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