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Dr Cathy Cole

Senior Lecturer

Ocean and climate science is at the heart of Cathy’s work, spanning her PhD and postdoctoral research and her professional experience in science communication. Prior to joining CAT, Cathy was a Lecturer in Science Communication at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and she now teaches on the MSc in Sustainability & Behaviour Change. Her career ambition stems around crafting messages with meaning to engage society and to empower positive change.

Cathy Cole is a senior lecturer/tutor on the MSc Sustainability & Behaviour Change course. With a background in oceanography, climate change, and science communication, she lectures primarily on communicating transformational social change, and on our changing ocean in the context of climate change.

Cathy holds an MSc in Oceanography, and a PhD in Marine Biogeochemistry, both from the University of Southampton. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Andrews, she investigated the biomineralisation of tropical coral skeletons under changing ocean conditions, both past and future. With a growing concern for the impacts of our changing climate in today’s world, Cathy took up a position at the Met Office in 2016 as a Climate Science Communicator, connecting emerging climate science with policymakers in government. Moving to New Zealand in 2018, she joined the Department of Science Communication at the University of Otago as a Lecturer. There, the drumbeat of her work was to find the relevance of scientific knowledge for diverse audiences, deliver this information in clear, accessible and engaging media, and to empower meaningful action to address our climate crisis.

Cathy founded Kitchen 1.5 in 2019, a plant-based recipe blog that aims to inspire positive change beginning with something as simple (and complex…) as our diets. This was initiated as a personal response to the target set by the Paris Agreement to strive to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial era. Avoiding the extreme dangers of higher warming levels requires transformational change across society, and food is one area where many of us can adjust for the health of both people and planet.

Ocean science continues to be a major feature of Cathy’s work, since the ocean is at the heart of our changing climate. For the treasure trove of ocean climate data to have impact, it needs to be communicated in accessible ways. In 2021, Cathy initiated a project to bring ocean climate data to life in local communities (, through the co-creation of powerful visual stories sharing changes underway at a local scale.


2013   PhD Marine Biogeochemistry, University of Southampton

2009   MSc Oceanography, University of Southampton

2008   BSc Natural Sciences: Chemistry and Earth Science, Durham University

Teaching Activities

Cathy teaches lectures and practicals for both on-site and distance-learning students, particularly for the MSc in Sustainability & Behaviour Change.

Research Interests

Science communication for change: oceans, climate, environment, food.

Visual storytelling, and creative non-fiction writing.

Marine biogeochemistry.


Cole, C., Savoie, G., Carson, S. (accepted pending revisions). Our Ocean Climate Story: Connecting communities with local data. Journal of Science Communication.

Allison, N., Cole, C., Hintz, C., Hintz, K., Rae, J., & Finch, A. (2021). Resolving the interactions of ocean acidification and temperature on coral calcification media pH. Coral Reefs, 401807–1818,

Cole, C., Finch, A. A., Hintz, C., Hintz, K., Yu, Y., EIMF, & Allison, N. (2021). The KD Sr/Ca in cultured massive Porites spp. corals are reduced at low seawater pCO2Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 314, 55-67,

Kellock, C., Cole, C., Penkman, K., Evans, D., Kröger, R., Hintz, C., Hintz, K., Finch, A., Allison, N. (2020). The role of aspartic acid in reducing coral calcification under ocean acidification conditions. Scientific Reports, 10, 12797. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-69556-0

Allison, N., Cole, C., Hintz, C., Hintz, K., & Finch, A. A. (2018). Influences of coral genotype and seawater pCO2 on skeletal Ba/Ca and Mg/Ca in cultured massive Porites spp. corals. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 505, 351-358. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.06.015

Allison, N., Cole, C., Hintz, C., Hintz, K., Rae, J., & Finch, A. (2018). The effect of ocean acidification on tropical coral calcification: Insights from calcification fluid DIC chemistry. Chemical Geology, 497, 162-169. doi: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2018.09.004

Cole, C., Finch, A. A., Hintz, C., Hintz, K., & Allison, N. (2018). Effects of seawater pCO2 and temperature on calcification and productivity in the coral genus Porites spp.: An exploration of potential interaction mechanisms. Coral Reefs, 37, 471-481. doi: 10.1007/s00338-018-1672-3

Rae, J. W. B., Burke, A., Robinson, L. F., Adkins, J. F., Chen, T., Cole, C., … Taylor, B. J. (2018). CO2 storage and release in the deep Southern Ocean on millennial to centennial timescales. Nature, 562, 569-573. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0614-0

Cole, C., Finch, A., Hintz, C., Hintz, K., & Allison, N. (2016). Understanding cold bias: Variable response of skeletal Sr/Ca to seawater pCO2 in acclimated massive Porites corals. Scientific Reports, 6, 26888. doi: 10.1038/srep26888

Cole, C., James, R. H., Connelly, D. P., & Hathorne, E. C. (2014). Rare earth elements as indicators of hydrothermal processes within the East Scotia subduction zone system. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 140, 20-38. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2014.05.018

Cole, C., Varela Coelho, A., James, R. H., Connelly, D., & Sheehan, D. (2014). Proteomic responses to metal-induced oxidative stress in hydrothermal vent-living mussels, Bathymodiolus sp., on the Southwest Indian Ridge. Marine Environmental Research, 96, 29-37. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2013.09.003

James, R. H., Green, D. R. H., Stock, M. J., Alker, B. J., Banerjee, N. R., Cole, C., … Connelly, D. P. (2014). Composition of hydrothermal fluids and mineralogy of associated chimney material on the East Scotia Ridge back-arc spreading centre. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 139, 47-71. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2014.04.024