Dr. Jesse Zondervan

Geology & Geomorphology

Geospatial Analysis, Surface Processes, Transdisciplinary Science, Emerging Tech

PDRA at the University of Oxford

My work focuses on understanding physical, chemical and biological processes on the Earth's surface. The Earth's surface is the interface of multiple Earth systems: the lithosphere, the biosphere, the atmosphere and the hydrosphere. I'm interested in how these spheres interact to shape the environment in which we live.

Whilst my training is originally in geology and surface processes, I have experience working across subdisciplines of the Earth sciences and other disciplines such as archaeology.

I approach questions using an integrated approach to fieldwork and digital analysis, including remote sensing, geospatial analysis, machine learning and high-performance computing.

Now I'm working on integrating my work with synthetic biology approaches against desertification. The interface of engineering and science is of primary interest to my future work, in which I aim to contribute to solutions for planetary resilience.


I'm now working on the ROC-CO₂ project at the University of Oxford as a postdoctoral research associate.

I'm involved in science communication and I am the Content Editor for Geology for Global Development (GfGD).


  • Leveraging emerging technologies to drive solutions for planetary resilience

  • Biogeoengineering and terraforming using synthetic biology (gene editing)

  • Surface processes controlling mountain landscape evolution

  • Properties of rock (e.g. lithology, rock strength, chemistry) in relation to geomorphology

  • Quaternary climate, the carbon cycle and its impact on human evolution and cultures

  • Development and application of novel dating approaches

Impakter - a Series on Geoscience in a Context of Globalisation and Emerging Technology

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In a series of four articles about science, millennial scientist Jesse Zondervan delves into the future of geoscience applications in relation to the rise of globalisation.

Geoscience as a tool in the twenty-first century

Dealing with risk – Are we ready to deal with high-impact, complex and uncertain science?

Millennial Scientists in a Segregating World — The Role of Science in Shaping Society