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School of Environment and Life Sciences

Professor Mike Wood

Chair in Applied Ecology; Programme Leader for MSc UNIGIS Programmes


I have always been fascinated by science.  Some of my most treasured childhood possessions were my chemistry set, microscope and my collection of science books; my bedroom was my research laboratory!  I was particularly interested in the natural environment and spent much of my time investigating the wildlife of the different places I visited.  Pursuing a career in science was therefore an obvious choice for me.

After graduating from the University of Liverpool with a BSc in Zoology and then from the University of Manchester with an MSc in Pollution and Environmental Control, I entered the world of Environmental Consultancy.  During 3 years working as a Consultant, I delivered applied research and consultancy for a broad range of clients, but quickly realised that academia was where I wanted to develop my career.  I returned to the University of Liverpool to work as an Environmental Scientist, using the experience I had gained as a Consultant to secure substantive research funding in various areas of applied environmental science.  In parallel, I undertook a part-time PhD, graduating in 2010. 

My first academic post was at Manchester Metropolitan University, which provided me with excellent opportunities to hone my teaching skills.  Since 2011, I have been lecturing in environmental management at the University of Salford.  I am currently Reader in Applied Ecology at Salford. 

The University of Salford provides a fantastic environment for me to undertake my research and to deliver research-led teaching.  The University has also allowed me to develop a strong international reputation in science communication.  I currently undertake extensive research in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, studying environmental radioactivity and its impact on wildlife.  This research led to me being awarded the highly prestigious Times Higher Education Award for research in 2016.


I deliver research-led teaching in environmental management from at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.  I have led modules on topics such as ‘environment and sustainability’, ‘consultancy’, ‘environmental decision making’ and ‘environmental investigation and remediation’.  I am also Programme Leader for the UNIGIS suite of PG distance learning programmes, specialising in the environmental applications of Geographical Information Systems. 

In addition to these teaching activities, I supervise research projects undertaken by students at BSc, MSc and PhD level.  Recent supervisory roles include PhD research on the measuring the radiation exposure of free-ranging wildlife and MSc research on the influence of radiation on large mammal populations in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Research Interests

Since 2003, I have been undertaking research supported by Research Councils (NERC, EPSRC & ESRC), the European Commission (FP6 & FP7), the United Nations (IAEA & UNEP), Government agencies and industry. This funding has enabled me to deliver internationally-excellent high impact research including: (i) pioneering the development of new approaches to model and measure radionuclide transfer to wildlife; and (ii) establishing linkages between ecosystem services and poverty alleviation throughout the India & Hindu-Kush region.

As these two examples indicate, much of my research involves the application of ecological science to inform environmental decision-making, management and policy development. Much of my research has focussed on environmental radioactivity and its impacts on wildlife.  For over 15 years, I have played a key role in the development of the international system of environmental radiation protection and the computer models that different nations use for their regulatory assessments.  Much of my recent field research has been in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, an area that provides a natural laboratory for radioecological research.

Qualifications and Memberships

PhD Environmental Radiation Protection (University of Liverpool, 2003-2010, Part-time)

MSc Pollution and Environmental Control (University of Manchester, 1999 – 2000)

BSc (Hons.) Zoology (2:1) (University of Liverpool, 1995 – 1998)

PgC Academic Practice (Distinction) (Manchester Metropolitan University, 2012-2012)

Elected Member of Senate, University of Salford (2017 onwards)

Elected Council Member and Trustee, Society for Radiological Protection (2016 onwards)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA (October 2012)

Chartered Member of the Society for Radiological Protection, CRadP MSRP (2005)

Professional Radioecologist, Member of the International Union of Radioecology (2005)


Cresswell T, Metian M, Golding LA, Wood MD, 2017. Aquatic live animal radiotracing studies for ecotoxicological applications: Addressing fundamental methodological deficiencies. J Environ Radioact.

Caravaggi A, Banks P, Burton C, Finlay CMV, Haswell PM, Hayward M, Rowcliffe JM, Wood MD, 2017. A review of camera trapping for conservation behaviour research. Remote Sens Ecol Conserv.

Gashchak S, Gulyaichenko Y, Beresford NA, Wood MD, 2017 Brown bear (Ursus arctos L.) in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Proceedings of the Theriological School.

Guillén J, Beresford NA, Baeza A, Izquierdo M, Wood MD, Salas A, Muñoz-Serrano A, Corrales-Vázquez JM, Muñoz-Muñoz JG, 2017. Transfer parameters for ICRP’s Reference Animals and Plants in a terrestrial Mediterranean ecosystem. J Environ Radioact.

Gashchak S, Gulyaichenko Y, Beresford NA, Wood MD, 2017. European bison (Bison bonasus L.) in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (Ukraine) and prospects for the revival of bison populations in the region. Proceedings of the Theriological School.

Guillen J, Baeza A, Beresford NA, Wood MD, 2017. Do fungi need to be included within environmental radiation protection assessment models? J Environ Radioact 175, 70-77.

Stark K, Goméz-Ros JM, Vives i Batlle J, Hansen EL, Kapustka LA, Beaugelin-Seiller K, Wood MD, Bradshaw C, Real A, Hinton TG, 2017. Ionising radiation dosimetry for wildlife protection: State of the art and perspectives. J Environ Radioact 175-6, 105-114.

Kendrick P, Wood MD, Barçante L, 2017. Automated assessment of bird vocalization activity. J Acoust Soc Am, 141(5), pp.3963-3964.

Stowell D, Wood MD, Stylianou Y, Glotin H, 2016. Bird detection in audio: a survey and a challenge in: 26th International Workshop on Machine Learning for Signal Processing 13-16 Sept. 2016 , IEEE Computer Society, pp. 1-6.

Beresford NA, Gaschak S, Maksimenko A, Wood MD, 2016. The transfer of 137Cs, Pu isotopes and 90Sr to bird, bat and ground dwelling small mammal species within the Chernobyl exclusion. Zone. J Environ Radioact 153, 231-236.

Wood MD, Beresford NA, 2016. The wildlife of Chernobyl: 30 years without man. Biologist 63, 16-19.

Beresford NA, Wood MD, Vives i Batlle J, Yankovich TL, Bradshaw C, Willey N, 2016. Making the most of what we have: Application of extrapolation approaches in radioecological wildlife transfer models. J Environ Radioact 151, 373-386.

Stark K, Andersson P, Beresford NA, Yankovich TL, Wood MD, Johansen MP, Vives i Batlle J, Twining J, Keum D-K, Bollhöfer A, Doering C, Ryanj B, Grzechnik M, Vandenhove H, 2015. Predicting exposure of wildlife in radionuclide contaminated wetland ecosystems. Environ Pollut 196, 201-213. 

Beresford NA, Beaugelin-Seiller K, Burgos J, Cujic M, Fesenko S, Kryshev A, Pachal N, Real A, Vives i Batlle J, Vives-Lynch S, Wells C, Wood MD, 2015. Radionuclide biological half-life values for terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. J Environ Radioact 150, 270-276.

Cole P, Gornall B, Wood MD, Whitcher R, Bannon A, Bloomer S, Fear J, Hale H, Humphries J, Hunak S, Jones C, Matthewman C, Matthews A, Slater S, Stephens C, Stewart J, 2015. Strategies for engaging with future radiation protection professionals: A public outreach case study. J Radiol Prot 35, N25 -N32.

Beresford NA, Wood MD, 2014. A new simplified allometric approach for predicting the biological half-life of radionuclides in reptiles. J Environ Radioact 138, 116-121.

Yankovich TL, King-Sharp KJ, Benz ML, Carr J, Robertson E, Killey RWD, Beresford NA, Wood MD, 2014. Spatial analysis of Carbon-14 Dynamics in a Wetland Ecosystem (Duke Swamp, Chalk River Laboratories, Canada). J Environ Radioact 137, 173-180.

Kola-Lawal C, Wood MD, Alo B, Clark A, 2014. Factors in organizational environmental management system implementation – developed vs. developing country contexts. J Sustain Dev Energ Wat Environ Syst 2, 408-421.

Jackson D, Smith K, Wood MD, 2014.  Demonstrating Compliance with Protection Objectives for Non-Human Biota within Post-closure Safety Cases for Radioactive Waste Repositories.  J Environ Radioact 133, 60-68.

Johansen MP, Child DP, Davis E, Doering C, Harrison JJ, Hotchkis MAC, Payne TE, Thiruvoth S, Twining JR, Wood MD, 2014. Plutonium in wildlife and soils at the Maralinga legacy site: persistence over decadal timescales.  J Environ Radioact 131, 72-80.

Wood MD, Beresford NA, Howard BJ, Copplestone D, 2013. Evaluating summarised radionuclide concentration ratio datasets for wildlife. J Environ Radioact 126, 314-325.

Yankovich T, King-Sharp KJ, Benz ML, Carr J, Killey RWD, Beresford NA, Wood MD, 2013. Do site-specific radiocarbon measurements reflect localized distributions of 14C in biota inhabiting a wetland with point contamination sources? J Environ Radioact 126, 352-366.

Beresford NA, Yankovich TL, Wood MD, Fesenko S, Andersson P, Muikku M, Willey NJ, 2013. A new approach to predicting environmental transfer of radionuclides: a demonstration for freshwater fish and caesium. Sci Total Environ 463-464, 284-292.

Yankovich TL, Beresford NA, Fesenko S, Fesenko J, Phaneuf M, Dagher E, Outola I, Andersson P, Thiessen K, Ryan J, Wood MD, Bollhöfer A, Barnett CL, Copplestone D, 2013.  Establishing a database of radionuclide transfer parameters for freshwater wildlife.  J Environ Radioact 126, 299-313.

Howard BJ, Beresford NA, Copplestone D, Telleria D, Proehl G, Fesenko S, Jeffree RA, Yankovich TL, Brown JE, Higley K, Johansen MP, Mulye H, Vandenhove H, Gashchak S, Wood MD, Takata H, Andersson P, Dale P, Ryan J, Bollhöfer A, Doering C, Barnett CL, Wells C, 2013. The IAEA handbook on radionuclide transfer to wildlife.  J Environ Radioact 121, 55-74.

Johansen MP, Barnett CL, Beresford NA, Brown JE, Cerne M, Howard BJ, Kamboj S, Keum DK, Smodiš B, Twining JR, Vandenhove H, Vives i Batlle J, Wood MD, Yu C, 2012. Assessing doses to terrestrial wildlife at a radioactive waste disposal site: Inter-comparison of modelling approaches. Sci Total Environ 427-428, 238-246.

Wood MD, Beresford NA, Yankovich TL, Semenov DV, Copplestone D, 2011. Addressing current knowledge gaps on radionuclide transfer to reptiles. Radioprotection 46(6), 521-527.

Chen H, Wood MD, Linstead C, Maltby E, 2011. Uncertainty analysis in a GIS-based multi-criteria analysis tool for river catchment management. Environ Modell Softw 26, 395-405.

Wood MD, Beresford NA, Copplestone D, 2011. Limit of detection values in data analysis: do they matter? Radioprotection 46(6), 85-90. [IF = 0.508, 4 citations, 90%]

Vives i Batlle J, Beaugelin-Seiller K, Beresford NA, Copplestone D, Horyna J, Hosseini A, Johansen M, Kamboj S, Keum D-K, Kurosawa N, Newsome L, Olyslaegers G, Vandenhove H, Ryufuku S, Vives Lynch S, Wood MD, Yu C, 2011. The estimation of absorbed dose rates for non-human biota: an extended inter-comparison. Radiat Environ Biophys 50, 231-251.

Wood MD, Copplestone D, 2011. Temporal changes in gamma dose rates in the Esk Estuary, UK. Radioprotection 46(6), 301-307.

Wood MD, Beresford NA, Semenov DV, Yankovich TL, Copplestone D, 2010. Radionuclide transfer to reptiles. Radiat Environ Biophys 49(4), 509-530.

Yankovich TL, Vives i Batlle J, Vives-Lynch S, Beresford NA, Barnett CL, Beaugelin-Seffler K, Brown JE, Cheng J, Copplestone D, Heling R, Hosseini A, Howard BJ, Kamboj S, Kryshev AI, Nedveckaite T, Smith JT, Wood MD, 2010. An international model validation exercise on radionuclide transfer and doses to freshwater biota. J Radiol Prot 30(2), 299-340.

Yankovich TL, Beresford NA, Wood MD, Aono T, Andersson P, Barnett CL, Bennett P, Brown JE, Fesenko S, Johansen M, Hosseini A, Howard BJ, Phaneuf M, Tagami K, Takata H, Twining JR, Uchida S, 2010. Whole-body to tissue concentration ratios for use in biota dose assessments for animals. Radiat Environ Biophys 49(4), 549-565.

Wood MD, Beresford NA, Barnett CL, Copplestone D, Leah RT, 2009. Assessing radiation impact at a protected coastal sand dune site: An intercomparison of models for estimating the radiological exposure of non-human biota. J Environ Radioact 100, 1034-1052.

Wood MD, Leah RT, Jones SR, Copplestone D, 2009. Radionuclide transfer to invertebrates and small mammals in a coastal sand dune ecosystem. Sci Total Environ, 407(13), 4062-4074.

Beresford NA, Barnett CL, Beaugelin-Seiller K, Brown JE, Cheng J-J, Copplestone D, Gaschak S, Hingston JL, Horyna J, Hosseini A, Howard BJ, Kamboj S, Kryshev A, Nedveckaite T, Olyslaegers G, Sazykina T, Smith JT, Telleria D, Vives i Batlle J, Yankovich TL, Heling R, Wood MD, Yu C, 2009. Findings and recommendations from an international comparison of models and approaches for the estimation of radiological exposure to non-human biota. Radioprotection 44 (5), 565-570.

Jones DG, Appleton JD, Breward N, MacKenzie AC, Scheib C, Beresford NA, Barnett CL, Wood MD, Copplestone D, 2009. Assessment of naturally occurring radionuclides around England and Wales: Application of the G-BASE dataset to estimate doses to non-human species. Radioprotection 44 (5), 629-634.

Wood MD, Marshall WA, Beresford NA, Jones SR, Howard BJ, Copplestone D, Leah RT, 2008. Application of the ERICA integrated approach at the Drigg coastal sand dunes. J Environ Radioact 99(9), 1484-1495.

Beresford NA, Barnett CL, Jones DG, Wood MD, Appleton JD, Breward N, Copplestone D, 2008. Background exposure rates of terrestrial wildlife in England and Wales. J Environ Radioact 99(9), 1430-1439.

Copplestone D, Wood MD, Bielby S, Jones SR, Vives J, Beresford NA, Zinger I, 2005. Impact assessment of ionising radiation on wildlife: meeting the requirements of the EU birds and Habitat Directives. Radioprotection 40, 893-898.

Wood MD, Copplestone D, Zinger I, 2005. Developing experimental protocols for chronic irradiation studies: the application of a good practice guide framework. Radioprotection 40, 229-234.

Beresford NA, Wright SM, Barnett CL, Wood MD, Gaschak S, Arkhipov A, Sazykina TG, Howard BJ, 2005. Predicting radionuclide transfer to wild animals: an application of a proposed environmental impact assessment framework to the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Radiat Environ Bioph, 44(3), 161-168.

Hingston JL, Wood MD, Copplestone D, Zinger I, 2005. Impact of chronic, low-level ionising radiation exposure on terrestrial invertebrates. Radioprotection 40, 145-150.

Beresford NA, Wright SM, Barnett CL, Wood MD, Gashak S, Arkhipov A, Sazykina TG, Avila R, 2005. A case study in the Chernobyl exclusion zone – Part 1: Testing our ability to predict radionuclide transfer to wildlife. Radioprotection 40, 291-298.