My project is aimed at investigating the environmental impacts of major volcanic eruptions over the past millennium. This research involves using diatom assemblages in varved lake sediments as a proxy for catchment ecosystem response and recovery following volcanic deposition events. The region of study for my project is North-western Europe and Scandinavia, with numerous study locations in Sweden and Finland. Components of my project include biogeochemical processes (with a focus on Sulphur, Iron and Mercury), using diatom communities (a major group of algae) preserved in the lake bed to understand changes in ecosystem function over time. During the later stages of my project I will perform high-resolution XAS speciation of chemically unaltered varved sediments at the MAX IV Synchrotron accelerator facility in Lund, in an effort to develop new applications of Synchrotron light within paleolimnology.