Research Group

Ecology and Environmental Microbiology Group

Two  orange clown fish swimming just above the yellow strands of an anenome.

Global biodiversity and by association ecosystem functioning is changing rapidly in response to changes in environmental and climatic conditions.

Understanding the ecological mechanisms behind these changes and providing clear management and policy recommendations are among the great challenges of the 21st century.

We address these challenges across all levels of biological organisation (from genes to ecosystems) and across taxonomic groups (from microbes to macro-organisms), focussing on four broad themes:

  • Biodiversity (including microbial)
  • Climate and environmental change
  • Biogeochemical cycling
  • Environmental biotechnology

Our research benefits society in the areas of conservation and sustainable use of living resources and their habitats, assessment of anthropogenic impacts on the environment, and detection and remediation of pollution.

Our work

Our impact


Our activity

Selected papers - 2022

Selected papers - 2021

Recent news

School of Life Sciences

Funding and facilities

We have an extensive network of national and international collaborations through projects funded by UKRI (especially NERC, and also BBSRC, STFC and ESRC), the EU, and various foundations and stakeholders. We also have access to funded PhD studentships via the NERC ARIES doctoral training partnership.

We have also been involved in several responsive projects and many major large directed research programmes from NERC, including: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability, Environmental Microbiology and Human Health, INSITE, Emerging Risks of Chemicals in the Environment, Understanding Urban Soil Properties, Functions, and Below-Ground Inter-Connections.

Our research is supported by state-of-the-art laboratory and facilities infrastructure, which includes the latest molecular ecology facilities (e.g. ddPCR, NGS and robotic high-throughput liquid handling systems), analytical equipment (including new triple-quadrupole GC-MS, and ICP-MS). We have large-scale mesocosm and microbiological cultivation facilities, as well as access to the marine and freshwater environments via our group’s new research vessels. 

Research degrees in Life Sciences

We have a vibrant postgraduate community, and are always keen to recruit new postgraduate research students (both PhD and Master of Science by Dissertation). Throughout the year we may have funded opportunities, such as PhD projects funded by NERC ARIES Doctoral Training Partnership.

Please feel free to contact individual group members if you are interested in postgraduate research or applying for postdoctoral fellowships. Many of our academics maintain lists of project areas that they are happy to supervise, and will be able to help you narrow down a research topic.

A sample being held up to the light in a lab
Our research

Our research covers the whole spectrum of biology – from the cell right through to communities and ecosystems. Our dedicated research groups bring together experts for collaboration research projects that deliver real-world impact.

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Contact us
Liz Lee Reynolds Research Manager