Dr Boyd McKew

School of Life Sciences
Dr Boyd McKew



2015 - Present: 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


Journal articles (24)

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 E miliania 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). amoAGene 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 & Biodegradation. 96, 206-215

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

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 inEmiliania huxleyi(clone CCMP 1516). New Phytologist. 200 (1), 74-85

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

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

Chronopoulou, P-M., 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

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), 8-8

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

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

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

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 (1)

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


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

Natural Environment Research Council

Experimental Oil Spill Data-sharing (ExpOS'D)

ITOPF / NHL University of Applied Sciences


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