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University to host four-part lecture by Beacon Professor Clive Finlayson

Photo by Eyleen Gomez

The University of Gibraltar will host a four-part lecture series by Beacon Professor Clive Finlayson, titled ‘Gibraltar – paradise between oceans, ice sheets and deserts’.

The series will review the current state of knowledge of past climate change and how it affected Gibraltar in particular.

The first of the series will be held on Monday February 7, from 6pm to 7.30pm at the Europa Point campus.

The other talks in the series will be held on Monday May 23, October 17 and December 12.

The talk will set Gibraltar at a junction, with ice sheets to the north, the Sahara Desert to the south and the Atlantic and Mediterranean to the west and east.

“The focus will be on the rapid, and often violent, climate changes that affected the northern hemisphere during the last glacial cycle, between 125,000 and 10,000 years ago and will include subsequent global warming,” a spokesman for the University said.

“These intervals included significant changes in sea level.”

“How did Gibraltar react to past changes and can we learn lessons when looking at future scenarios?”

“Each of the lectures will draw upon specific examples from Gibraltar, based on the research that is being carried out at the Gorham’s Cave Complex UNESCO World Heritage Site, which will help to set Gibraltar in the broader context.”

The first of this four-part lecture series, titled ‘Atlantic – ocean currents and climate influences from the west’, examines the influence of the Atlantic Ocean on Gibraltar.

From an ancient story of the Mediterranean drying up and its subsequent re-filling at Gibraltar, the lecture will focus on the period spanning the Late Pleistocene and the early Holocene: it includes the last glacial cycle (125,000-10,000 years ago) and the early part of the Holocene global warming (10,000-3,000 years ago).

The argument will be put forward, and supported by evidence from Gibraltar and other parts of the Iberian Peninsula, that the influence of the Atlantic was critical in buffering the region from the severity of the last ice age.

Bizarre combinations of plant and animal species, found nowhere else today, reveal the extent of the glacial upheaval that took place across Europe.

Ultimately, many species that survived did so in glacial refugia in the south-west of the Iberian Peninsula. They included human populations that subsequently, with climate warming, re-colonised the rest of Europe.

Entry to all lectures will require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test taken within the previous 24 hours.

For more information and details on how to book your free space, visit

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