Eric Galbraith

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Experimental Sciences & Mathematics

A native of Halifax, Canada, Galbraith completed an undergraduate degree in Earth and Planetary Science at McGill University in 1997, then worked as an exploration geologist in Peru and a tour guide on polar expedition cruises before undertaking a PhD at the University of British Columbia, completed in 2006. This was followed by three years of postdoctoral research at Princeton University, developing and using Earth System models, with a focus on ocean biogeochemistry and long-term climate variability. Galbraith returned to McGill University as a professor, where he worked until joining ICREA in 2015.

Research interests

Over the past century, humans have emerged as a dominant component of the Earth system. For decades, it has been clear that we are on an  increasingly unsustainable trajectory due to rapid alteration of climate, biogeochemical cycles and ecosystems at the global scale. Despite this clarity, we have not yet made the large changes in trajectory that are required to ensure sustainability. Part of this lack of action can be attributed to an incomplete understanding of the emergent properties of the human-Earth system, including the behavioural motivations of humans and outcomes for human experience and well-being. I am interested in using statistical analyses, simple theory and numerical models to improve our predictive understanding of the coupled human-Earth system. Most of my past work has addressed uncertainty in the natural science side of the system, including the study of past, natural climate changes, and the controls on the chemical composition and large-scale ecology of the global ocean. My focus is now on developing integrated, quantitative descriptions of the two-way coupling between natural and human elements by bridging Earth system modeling methods with social science. Most of my current work is developing these approaches for the global marine fishery, through the ERC-funded BIGSEA project.

Selected publications

- Claret M, Galbraith ED, Palter JB, Bianchi D, Fennel K, Gilbert D & Dunne JP 2018, 'Rapid coastal deoxygenation due to ocean circulation shift in the northwest Atlantic', Nature Climate Change, 8, 10.

- Kavanagh L &  Galbraith E 2018, 'Links between fish abundance and ocean biogeochemistry as recorded in marine sediments', Plos One, 13, 8, e0199420.

- Hoogakker BAA, Lu Z, Umling N, Jones L, Zhou X, Rickaby REM, Thunell R, Cartapanis O & Galbraith E 2018, 'Glacial expansion of oxygen-depleted seawater in the eastern tropical Pacific', Nature, 562, 7727.

- McGee D, Moreno-Chamarro E, Marshall J & Galbraith ED 2018, 'Western U.S. lake expansions during Heinrich stadials linked to Pacific Hadley circulation', Science Advances, 4, 11, eaav0118.

- Eggleston, Sarah; Galbraith, Eric D. 2018, 'The devil's in the disequilibrium: multi-component analysis of dissolved carbon and oxygen changes under a broad range of forcings in a general circulation model', Biogeosciences, 15, 12, 3761 - 3777.

- Cartapanis O, Galbraith ED, Bianchi D & Jaccard S 2018. 'Carbon burial in deep-sea sediment and implications for oceanic inventories of carbon and alkalinity over the last glacial cycle', Climate of the Past, 14 (11), pp. 1819-1850.