The Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre currently has more than 40 postgraduate research students and is an international community.
Within the Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre each area of research is led by experienced researchers whose expertise has international recognition. All our researchers publish their work in peer reviewed internationally recognised journals and are regularly invited to speak at international conferences. They lead on a wide range of established collaborations with UK, international academic and industry partners.
The research areas within the Centre are:
- Disease Ecology
- Ecosystems (Natural and Urban)
- Landscape Dynamics
Dr Chiara Benvenuto - Lecturer in Zoology
Integrating behavioural ecology with population ecology, population genetics and ecological modelling
Dr. Jean Boubli - Reader
Tropical Ecology and Conservation; Primatology; Animal Behaviour and Ecology, Biogeography
Dr. Robert Jehle – Senior Lecturer
The ecology, behaviour and evolution of amphibians at the level of populations including the documentation of spatial and temporal population processes using genetic markers, and the use of genetic information to document mating systems; and field-based studies on habitat use and migration, and the application of such data for conservation.
Professor Stefano Mariani - Chair in Conservation Genetics
Population genetics of fish (also molluscs and mammals) currently focusing on:
a) interdisciplinary approaches to identifying biological units for conservation and management,
b) the population genetic consequences of sex-change in fish, and
c) the biological and societal drivers of seafood consumption.
Professor Steven Martin - Chair in Animal Ecology
Various aspects of the biology of social insects (bees, wasps, ants and termites) including looking at molecular changes associated with increased virulence of an emerging viral pathogen using the honeybee, Varroa mite and deformed wing virus as a model system and investigating the underlying mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity in chemical recognition systems in ants, using Formcia ants as the model system.
Dr. Sean O’Hara - Lecturer in Wildlife Cognition and Behaviour
Understanding the evolved psychologies that underscore behavioural decision making. Drawing on a background of biosciences, evolutionary anthropology and evolutionary psychology I address key questions relating to social and cognitive evolution in humans and other animals from a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspective.
Dr. Paul Rees - Senior Lecturer in Wildlife
The behaviour and welfare of animals in zoos (especially elephants), the ecology and behaviour of mammals (particularly African large mammals), biological education and wildlife law. I have a particular interest in the importance of policy and legislation in influencing the pivotal role of zoos in the conservation of biodiversity and the welfare of animals living in them.
Professor Robert Young - Professor of Wildlife Conservation
Animal behaviour and how it can be used to improve animal conservation and animal welfare; how animals communicate; the human wildlife interface; human-animal interactions in urban environments.
Disease ecology is the study of the underlying principles that influence the spatio-temporal patterns of diseases and consequently much research lies at the interface of human biology, animal biology, and human health. Research particularly focuses on transmission ecology of non-vector and vector-borne zoonotic infections (both microbial and parasitic including echinococcosis, trypanosomiasis, microsporidiosis and tick-borne microbes) and molecular epidemiology of the diseases they cause.
Professor Richard Birtles - Chair in Biomedicine
Exploring the strategies adopted by infectious agents, at the individual and population level, to persist in nature, in particular those microorganisms that are arthropod transmitted.
Dr. Kevin Bown - Lecturer in Biology
The ecology and epidemiology of tick-borne infections.
Professor Philip Craig - Professor of Biology
Professor Geoff Hide - Professor of Parasitology
Molecular epidemiology of parasites (in particular trypanosomes).
Professor Gai Murphy – Associate Dean (Academic)
Impact of urban vector species on environmental and public health.
Professor Michael Rogan – Professor of Zoology
The biology, immunology and epidemiology of tapeworm parasites (Cestodes) particularly Echinococcus.
Professor Judith Smith – Head of School
Understanding the relationship between transmission and disease using two systems; the zoonotic pathogen Toxoplasma gondii and the microsporidia, a group of fungal related parasites that infect all animal taxa.
Dr. Denise Thomasson - Lecturer
Parasitology using molecular techniques to detect Toxoplasma gondii in wild mice populations, particularly in areas where there is an absence of definitive hosts the cat.
Ecosystems (Natural and Urban)
Dr. Mags Adams - Lecturer in Geography
Urban wellbeing and quality of life, connecting previous work on sensory environments (noise and soundscapes), urban environmental quality (24 hour cities, urban design and mobility), and use and experience of urban green spaces.
Dr. Richard Armitage - Senior Lecturer in GIS
The application of GIS and earth observation methods and technologies to the characterisation and interpretation of both the natural and human environment (the impact of green spaces on the urban environment with a focus on the role that they play in ecosystem services; fire risk in UK upland areas and the development of new methods to characterise forest canopies using terrestrial laser scanning (TLS); and the potential of using both environmental and socio-economic indicators to describe neighbourhoods.
Dr. Marcus Chilaka - Lecturer in Environmental Health
Health Impact Assessment (HIA), the wider socio-environmental determinants of health, community participation in health and development, and Environmental and Public Health policy.
Dr Michael Hardman – Lecture in Geography
Interdisciplinary research in topics ranging from food security and urban agriculture to guerrilla gardening and city planning.
Professor Philip James – Professor of Ecology
Interdisciplinary research in Urban ecology, conservation ecology, Socio-ecological systems.
Professor Richard Knowles - Professor of Transport Geography
Spatial implications of Peak Oil, alternative fuels and dearer personal mobility and into workplace travel plans and sustainable development.
Dr. Depapriya Mondal - Lecturer
Health risk assessment and environmental epidemiology; analysis of potential environmental toxins and quantifying the contaminants (both inorganic, organic and microbial) in environmental media like food and water, and also as biomarkers of human exposure through non-invasive sampling of urine or hair; modelling as estimation of disease burden completing meta-analysis and conducting health risk assessments based on cross-sectional, longitudinal and follow up datasets.
Dr. Stephen Todd – Senior Lecturer
Building Pathology and energy conservation areas.
Dr. Mike Wood - Lecturer in Environmental Management
Development of tools and methods for environmental management;
Modelling environmental contaminants, especially in coastal interface ecosystems;
Management of environmental pollution;
Pollution ecology, especially Radioecology;
Food chain transfer of contaminants;
Ecosystem services and poverty alleviation;
Environmental management decision making and uncertainty; and
Corporate environmental management and Environmental Management Systems.
Research in landscape dynamics is concerned with the temporal and spatial dynamics of the Earth's land surface. This research involves the measurement, modelling, and analysis of land surface and atmospheric processes using techniques such as lidar, remote sensing of land surface vegetation change, glaciology, and sediment and nutrient dynamics. The Centre carries out high quality real-world research that contributes to scientific understanding of the nature and impacts of environmental change on the natural and human environment.
Professor Chuxia Lin - Professor of Environmental Science
Chuxia Lin has a broad range of research interests in environmental sciences with a particular focus on environmental issues related to acid sulphate weathering in mine areas (acid mine drainage) and coastal lowlands (acid sulphate soils). Other research interests include chemical behaviour of heavy metals and pesticides in water-soil-plant systems, characterisation and treatment of industrial wastes, ecotoxicology, soil carbon sequestration, climate change adaptation, and payment for environmental services (PES).
Professor David Collins - Professor of Physical Geography
(a) climatic warming and meltwater discharge from mountain glaciers,
(b) quality of meltwater draining from glaciers, and
(c) hydrology and year-to-year variability of river flow from basins of varying percentage glacierisation.
Professor Mark Danson - Professor of Environmental Remote Sensing
Mapping, modelling and understanding environmental change, specifically the effects of climate and human activity on the biosphere.
Dr. Neil Entwistle - Lecturer in Geography
Hydromorphology including sediment transport dynamics, catchment/ reach connectivity, ecohydraulics.
Dr. Simon Hutchinson – Senior Lecturer
Palaeolimnology; using sediment-based depositional records to reconstruct the impacts of environmental changes driven by both human and natural agents at timescales from the last full glacial, to the Holocene and the post-industrial period (e.g., from the last 50,000 to the most recent 50 years).