Throughout my career, two themes have dominated my research: one is to understand how today’s oceans operate and the other is to reconstruct glacial climates. Initially these were quite separate tracks, but as time went on, it became clear that they intersected. To understand the changes in climate that occurred during the last million years, it is essential to come to grips with the reorganisations that have taken place in the ocean’s mode of operation. Well before I grasped the importance of the role played by the ocean, I realised that the difference between the radiocarbon ages of coexisting benthic...

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