Dr Boyd McKew

Senior Lecturer
School of Life Sciences
Dr Boyd McKew



2019 - Present: Senior Lecturer in Environmental Microbiology 2015 - 2019: Lecturer in Environmental Microbiology; Eastern ARC Research Fellow 2007 - 2015: Senior Research Officer, University of Essex 2003 -2006: PhD, Molecular Microbiology, University of Essex 1999 - 2003: BSc (Hons), Marine & Freshwater Biology, University of Essex


  • PhD, Molecular Microbiology, University of Essex

  • BSc Marine and Freshwater Biology


University of Essex

  • Lecturer in Environmental Microbiology, University of Essex (1/4/2015 - present)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

environmental molecular microbiology:

Open to supervise

Synthetic Biology - Designing and constructing new biological devices and systems for enhanced bioremediation of marine oil pollution

Open to supervise

Pollution microbiology, e.g. Microbial biodegradation of crude oil and hydrocarbons; Physiology and ecology of the obligate Hydrocarbon degrading Bacteria

Open to supervise

Carbon & nitrogen cycling in marine, estuarine, and freshwater environments

Open to supervise

Algal and bacterial physiology

Open to supervise

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Marine Biodiversity (BS251)

  • Tropical Marine Field Research Skills (BS256)

  • Marine Resources (BS705)

  • Professional Skills in Tropical Marine Biology (BS708)

  • Coral Reef Biodiversity and Management Field Trip (BS710)

  • Research Project in Life Sciences (BS832)

Previous supervision

Gregory David Jordan
Gregory David Jordan
Thesis title: Spatial Distribution of Specific Nitrogen-Cycle Microorganisms in Oxic River Sediments
Degree subject: Microbiology
Degree type: Master of Science (by Dissertation)
Awarded date: 23/1/2023
Emese Bartha
Emese Bartha
Thesis title: Investigating Extremotolerant Microbes in Non-Extreme Environments and Altering the Salinity Growth Limits of Halophiles
Degree subject: Biological Sciences
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 15/8/2022
Phillip Robert Kenneth Pichon
Phillip Robert Kenneth Pichon
Thesis title: Microbial Degradation of Acetaldehyde in Freshwater, Estuarine and Marine Environments
Degree subject: Microbiology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 26/4/2021
Bethan Nicole Greenwood
Bethan Nicole Greenwood
Thesis title: Corals At the Extreme: Partitioning the Response of Coral Holobionts to Marginal Habitats
Degree subject: Marine Biology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 28/1/2021
Gareth Edward Thomas
Gareth Edward Thomas
Thesis title: An Evaluation of the Effects of Marine Oil-Spills, Remediation Strategies, and Shipwrecks on Microbial Community Structure and Succession
Degree subject: Environmental Biology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 20/1/2021
Benjamin Harry Gregson
Benjamin Harry Gregson
Thesis title: Proteomic Insights Into the Marine Obligate Hydrocarbonoclastic Bacteria (Ohcb) During Alkane Degradation
Degree subject: Environmental Biology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 21/2/2020


Journal articles (38)

Clark, DR., McKew, BA., Binley, A., Heppell, CM., Whitby, C. and Trimmer, M., (2022). Hydrological properties predict the composition of microbial communities cycling methane and nitrogen in rivers. ISME Communications. 2 (1), 5-

Huby, TJC., Clark, DR., McKew, BA. and McGenity, TJ., (2021). Extremely Halophilic Archaeal Communities are Resilient to Short‐Term Entombment in Halite. Environmental Microbiology. 23 (7), 3370-3383

Gregson, BH., McKew, BA., Holland, RD., Nedwed, TJ., Prince, RC. and McGenity, TJ., (2021). Marine Oil Snow, a Microbial Perspective. Frontiers in Marine Science. 8

McGenity, TJ., McKew, BA. and Lea-Smith, DJ., (2021). Cryptic microbial hydrocarbon cycling.. Nature Microbiology. 6 (4), 419-420

Ferguson, RMW., O'Gorman, EJ., McElroy, DJ., McKew, BA., Coleman, RA., Emmerson, MC. and Dumbrell, AJ., (2021). The Ecological Impacts of Multiple Environmental Stressors on Coastal Biofilm Bacteria.. Global Change Biology. 27 (13), 3166-3178

Thomas, GE., Bolam, SG., Brant, JL., Brash, R., Goodsir, F., Hynes, C., McGenity, TJ., McIlwaine, PSO. and McKew, BA., (2021). Evaluation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Pollution From the HMS Royal Oak Shipwreck and Effects on Sediment Microbial Community Structure. Frontiers in Marine Science. 8

Uttarotai, T., McKew, BA., Benyahia, F., Murrell, JC., Mhuantong, W., Wangkarn, S., Chitov, T., Bovonsombut, S. and McGenity, TJ., (2021). Isoprene-Degrading Bacteria from Soils Associated with Tropical Economic Crops and Framework Forest Trees. Microorganisms. 9 (5), 1024-1024

Baker, K., Bracken, F., Corrigan, R., Creer, S., Foote, A., Fotherby, H., Gray, H., Lucas, M., Mariani, S., McKenzie, C. and McKew, B., (2021). Remembering Laura Corrigan. Environmental DNA. 3 (2), 321-322

Thomas, GE., Brant, JL., Campo, P., Clark, DR., Coulon, F., Gregson, BH., McGenity, TJ. and McKew, BA., (2021). Effects of Dispersants and Biosurfactants on Crude-Oil Biodegradation and Bacterial Community Succession. Microorganisms. 9 (6), 1200-1200

McKew, BA., Johnson, R., Clothier, L., Skeels, K., Ross, MS., Metodiev, M., Frenzel, M., Gieg, LM., Martin, JW., Hough, MA. and Whitby, C., (2021). Differential protein expression during growth on model and commercial mixtures of naphthenic acids in Pseudomonas fluorescens Pf‐5. MicrobiologyOpen. 10 (4), e1196-

Freeman, D., Bajón Fernández, Y., Wilson, A., McKew, BA., Whitby, C., Clark, DR., Jefferson, B., Coulon, F. and Hassard, F., (2020). Nitrogen oxidation consortia dynamics influence the performance of full-scale rotating biological contactors.. Environment International. 135, 105354-105354

Clark, DR., McKew, BA., Dong, LF., Leung, G., Dumbrell, AJ., Stott, A., Grant, H., Nedwell, DB., Trimmer, M. and Whitby, C., (2020). Mineralization and nitrification: Archaea dominate ammonia-oxidising communities in grassland soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 143, 107725-107725

Gregson, BH., Metodieva, G., Metodiev, MV., Golyshin, PN. and McKew, BA., (2020). Protein expression in the obligate hydrocarbon‐degrading psychrophile Oleispira antarctica RB‐8 during alkane degradation and cold tolerance. Environmental Microbiology. 22 (5), 1870-1883

Thomas, GE., Cameron, TC., Campo, P., Clark, DR., Coulon, F., Gregson, BH., Hepburn, LJ., McGenity, TJ., Miliou, A., Whitby, C. and McKew, BA., (2020). Bacterial Community Legacy Effects Following the Agia Zoni II Oil-Spill, Greece. Frontiers in Microbiology. 11, 1706-

Gregson, BH., Metodieva, G., Metodiev, MV. and McKew, BA., (2019). Differential protein expression during growth on linear versus branched alkanes in the obligate marine hydrocarbon‐degrading bacterium Alcanivorax borkumensis SK2T. Environmental Microbiology. 21 (7), 2347-2359

Gregson, BH., Metodieva, G., Metodiev, MV., Golyshin, PN. and McKew, BA., (2018). Differential Protein Expression During Growth on Medium Versus Long-Chain Alkanes in the Obligate Marine Hydrocarbon-Degrading Bacterium Thalassolituus oleivorans MIL-1. Frontiers in Microbiology. 9, 3130-

Thompson, MSA., Bankier, C., Bell, T., Dumbrell, AJ., Gray, C., Ledger, ME., Lehmann, K., McKew, BA., Sayer, CD., Shelley, F., Trimmer, M., Warren, SL. and Woodward, G., (2016). Gene‐to‐ecosystem impacts of a catastrophic pesticide spill: testing a multilevel bioassessment approach in a river ecosystem. Freshwater Biology. 61 (12), 2037-2050

Lansdown, K., McKew, BA., Whitby, C., Heppell, CM., Dumbrell, AJ., Binley, A., Olde, L. and Trimmer, M., (2016). Importance and controls of anaerobic ammonium oxidation influenced by riverbed geology. Nature Geoscience. 9 (5), 357-360

Tatti, E., McKew, BA., Whitby, C. and Smith, CJ., (2016). Simultaneous DNA-RNA Extraction from Coastal Sediments and Quantification of 16S rRNA Genes and Transcripts by Real-time PCR. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 2016 (112)

McKew, BA., Metodieva, G., Raines, CA., Metodiev, MV. and Geider, RJ., (2015). Acclimation of Emiliania huxleyi (1516) to nutrient limitation involves precise modification of the proteome to scavenge alternative sources of N and P. Environmental Microbiology. 17 (10), 4050-4062

Li, J., Nedwell, DB., Beddow, J., Dumbrell, AJ., McKew, BA., Thorpe, EL. and Whitby, C., (2015). amoA Gene Abundances and Nitrification Potential Rates Suggest that Benthic Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria and Not Archaea Dominate N Cycling in the Colne Estuary, United Kingdom. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 81 (1), 159-165

Beddow, J., Stölpe, B., Cole, PA., Lead, JR., Sapp, M., Lyons, BP., McKew, B., Steinke, M., Benyahia, F., Colbeck, I. and Whitby, C., (2014). Estuarine sediment hydrocarbon-degrading microbial communities demonstrate resilience to nanosilver. International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation. 96, 206-215

Mckew, BA., Lefebvre, SC., Achterberg, EP., Metodieva, G., Raines, CA., Metodiev, MV. and Geider, RJ., (2013). Plasticity in the proteome of Emiliania huxleyi CCMP 1516 to extremes of light is highly targeted. New Phytologist. 200 (1), 61-73

McKew, BA., Davey, P., Finch, SJ., Hopkins, J., Lefebvre, SC., Metodiev, MV., Oxborough, K., Raines, CA., Lawson, T. and Geider, RJ., (2013). The trade‐off between the light‐harvesting and photoprotective functions of fucoxanthin‐chlorophyll proteins dominates light acclimation in Emiliania huxleyi (clone CCMP 1516). New Phytologist. 200 (1), 74-85

McKew, BA., Dumbrell, AJ., Taylor, JD., McGenity, TJ. and Underwood, GJC., (2013). Differences between aerobic and anaerobic degradation of microphytobenthic biofilm-derived organic matter within intertidal sediments. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 84 (3), 495-509

Chronopoulou, P., Fahy, A., Coulon, F., Païssé, S., Goñi‐Urriza, M., Peperzak, L., Acuña Alvarez, L., McKew, BA., Lawson, T., Timmis, KN., Duran, R., Underwood, GJC. and McGenity, TJ., (2013). Impact of a simulated oil spill on benthic phototrophs and nitrogen‐fixing bacteria in mudflat mesocosms. Environmental Microbiology. 15 (1), 242-252

Taylor, JD., McKew, BA., Kuhl, A., McGenity, TJ. and Underwood, GJC., (2013). Microphytobenthic extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) in intertidal sediments fuel both generalist and specialist EPS-degrading bacteria. Limnology and Oceanography. 58 (4), 1463-1480

McKew, BA., Dumbrell, AJ., Daud, SD., Hepburn, L., Thorpe, E., Mogensen, L. and Whitby, C., (2012). Characterization of Geographically Distinct Bacterial Communities Associated with Coral Mucus Produced by Acropora spp. and Porites spp. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 78 (15), 5229-5237

McGenity, TJ., Folwell, BD., McKew, BA. and Sanni, GO., (2012). Marine crude-oil biodegradation: a central role for interspecies interactions. Aquatic Biosystems. 8 (1), 10-10

Coulon, F., Chronopoulou, P-M., Fahy, A., Païssé, S., Goñi-Urriza, M., Peperzak, L., Acuña Alvarez, L., McKew, BA., Brussaard, CPD., Underwood, GJC., Timmis, KN., Duran, R. and McGenity, TJ., (2012). Central Role of Dynamic Tidal Biofilms Dominated by Aerobic Hydrocarbonoclastic Bacteria and Diatoms in the Biodegradation of Hydrocarbons in Coastal Mudflats. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 78 (10), 3638-3648

Pankhurst, LJ., Whitby, C., Pawlett, M., Larcombe, LD., McKew, B., Deacon, LJ., Morgan, SL., Villa, R., Drew, GH., Tyrrel, S., Pollard, SJT. and Coulon, F., (2012). Temporal and spatial changes in the microbial bioaerosol communities in green-waste composting. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 79 (1), 229-239

McKew, BA., Taylor, JD., McGenity, TJ. and Underwood, GJC., (2011). Resistance and resilience of benthic biofilm communities from a temperate saltmarsh to desiccation and rewetting. The ISME Journal. 5 (1), 30-41

Sass, AM., McKew, BA., Sass, H., Fichtel, J., Timmis, KN. and McGenity, TJ., (2008). Diversity of Bacillus-like organisms isolated from deep-sea hypersaline anoxic sediments. Saline Systems. 4 (1), 8-

McKew, BA., Coulon, F., Yakimov, MM., Denaro, R., Genovese, M., Smith, CJ., Osborn, AM., Timmis, KN. and McGenity, TJ., (2007). Efficacy of intervention strategies for bioremediation of crude oil in marine systems and effects on indigenous hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria. Environmental Microbiology. 9 (6), 1562-1571

Hallsworth, JE., Yakimov, MM., Golyshin, PN., Gillion, JLM., D'Auria, G., De Lima Alves, F., La Cono, V., Genovese, M., McKew, BA., Hayes, SL., Harris, G., Giuliano, L., Timmis, KN. and McGenity, TJ., (2007). Limits of life in MgCl2‐containing environments: chaotropicity defines the window. Environmental Microbiology. 9 (3), 801-813

Coulon, F., McKew, BA., Osborn, AM., McGenity, TJ. and Timmis, KN., (2007). Effects of temperature and biostimulation on oil‐degrading microbial communities in temperate estuarine waters. Environmental Microbiology. 9 (1), 177-186

McKew, BA., Coulon, F., Osborn, AM., Timmis, KN. and McGenity, TJ., (2007). Determining the identity and roles of oil‐metabolizing marine bacteria from the Thames estuary, UK. Environmental Microbiology. 9 (1), 165-176

Daffonchio, D., Borin, S., Brusa, T., Brusetti, L., van der Wielen, PWJJ., Bolhuis, H., Yakimov, MM., D'Auria, G., Giuliano, L., Marty, D., Tamburini, C., McGenity, TJ., Hallsworth, JE., Sass, AM., Timmis, KN., Tselepides, A., de Lange, GJ., Hübner, A., Thomson, J., Varnavas, SP., Gasparoni, F., Gerber, HW., Malinverno, E. and Corselli, C., (2006). Stratified prokaryote network in the oxic–anoxic transition of a deep-sea halocline. Nature. 440 (7081), 203-207

Book chapters (2)

Underwood, GJC., Dumbrell, AJ., McGenity, TJ., McKew, BA. and Whitby, C., (2022). The Microbiome of Coastal Sediments. In: The Marine Microbiome. Editors: Stal, LJ. and Cretoiu, MS., . Springer International Publishing. 479- 534. 9783030903824

Smith, CJ., Mckew, BA., Coggan, A. and Whitby, C., (2016). Primers: Functional Genes for Nitrogen-Cycling Microbes in Oil Reservoirs. In: Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology Protocols. Editors: McGenity, TJ., Timmis, KN. and Nogales, B., . Springer. 207- 241. 978-3-662-50427-7

Grants and funding


Multi-trophic response and effects of an extensive oil spill in a coastal fish nursery

Natural Environment Research Council


ORBIT: Offshore Renewables: winds of change for Benthic communities?

Natural Environment Research Council


From Ions to Ecosystems: A Novel Framework for the Biomonitoring and Management of Vulnerable and Commercial Fishes

Medical Research Council

Effects of dispersants on mitigating envrionmental impacts of marine oil pollution

Oil Spill Response Ltd


Functionality and Ecological Connectivity of Man-Made Structures (FuECoMMS)

Natural Environment Research Council

A new dynamic for Phosphorus in RIverbed Nitrogen Cycling - PRINCe

Natural Environment Research Council

Engineered Biofilms with Modular Functionality for Persistent and Survivable Naval Platforms

Office of Naval Research


Experimental Oil Spill Data-sharing (ExpOS'D)

ITOPF / NHL University of Applied Sciences

A Novel Framework for Predicting Emerging Chemical Stressor Impacts in Complex Ecosystems

Natural Environment Research Council


A new dynamic for Phosphorus in Riverbed Nitrogen Cycling - PRINCe

Natural Environment Research Council

Quantifying a marine ecosystem's response to a catastrophic oil spill

Natural Environment Research Council

+44 (0) 1206 873010


3SW.3.20, Colchester Campus

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