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Personal profile

Administrative Posts

  • Director Ecology BSc programmes (C180, C9C1) (2006-)
  • Deputy Director MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation (2007-)
  • Convener of modules: BIO-M512 Restoration Ecology, BIO-3C45 Organisms and Environment, BIO-2B26 Community, Ecosystem and Macro-Ecology.
  • Chair/director of Teaching (2002-2005)
  • School of Biological Sciences Chair/director of Teaching (2002-2005)


  • Professor of Ecology (2007)
  • Reader in Plant Ecology, University of East Anglia (1997-2007)
  • Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia (1992-1997)
  • Lecturer in Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia (1972-1992)
  • Ph.D. - University College London (1973)
  • B.Sc. - Botany, University College London (1969)

External Activities

  • Editor of Biological Flora of the British Isles for the British Ecological Society (2004-)
  • Evolution and Systematics of the Salicornia/Sarcocornia Lineage (Chenopodiaceae) Workshop, Institut für Spezielle Botanik, University of Mainz, Germany (2006)
  • 'BES Award' of the British Ecological Society for exceptional service to the Society and the discipline of ecology (2005)
  • Executive (Senior) Editor of Journal of Ecology (1998-2004). Previously joint Editor and Associate Editor
  • INTECOL Wetlands Congress, Utrecht, The Netherlands (2004)
  • Research Council for Bioscience and Environment of the Academy of Finland. Panel for Ecology and Evolution (2001, 2003, 2005)
  • European representative at the University of Georgia Marine Institute on Sapelo Island, Georgia USA, 50th Anniversary Symposium (2003)
  • 6th International Conference on Environmental Future: Wetlands, Zürich, Switzerland (2003)
  • Workshop Réponses biologiques à la contrainte hydraulique (2002)

Key Research Interests

I am essentially a plant ecologist whose work mainly centres on coastal and aquatic systems, ecological restoration and conservation. The approach frequently involves population-based and eco-physiological studies that are aimed a both the advancement of ecological understanding and its practical application. Much of our work is designed to provide scientific under-pinning for species conservation for or the reconstruction of degraded ecosystems.

Current Research Projects

  • Restoration and conservation of threatened charophyte (stonewort) populations and their functions in shallow lakes
  • Successional development of salt marshes after managed and accidental coastal realignment following breaches of seawalls.
  • Population and physiological ecology of halophytes in North Norfolk, and in a mosaic of developing and eroding salt marshes at Odiel in S.W. Spain (collaborating with Prof. E. Figueroa, University of Sevilla).
  • Ecological tolerances of beach and dune species, and the ecohydrology of sand-dune systems.

Life in our research group 

We are a diverse group, with varied backgrounds and experience, but have a common enthusiasm to address ecological questions firmly rooted in field observations of plant distribution and abundance, particularly when they may inform larger-scale issues of ecosystem function. Often but not always the immediate topic of interest will contribute to investigating practical problems of ecological restoration or biodiversity conservation (another integrating theme). There is some emphasis on the use of environmental manipulations for field experimentation, backed up by appropriate laboratory, glasshouse and growth-cabinet studies. Projects may be based anywhere in the world; recently group members have been working in western Australia, S.W. Spain and Paraguay, and we currently have plans to expand work in Saudi Arabia. We have featured recently in the annual ‘Rebellion’ student conference organized by the Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation and regularly contribute to its weekly seminars.

PhD Positions

Please email me to discuss PhD opportunities and projects within the School of Biological Sciences.

Postdocs & Fellows 

I am always happy to discuss possibilities for postdoctoral work and collaborations. Possible funding routes include applying for fellowships, with me acting as sponsor, or grant applications with you as a named post-doc. At the moment, I am particularly keen to help establish conservation-based projects in Paraguay, in collaboration with the World land Trust and Guyra Paraguay.

Areas of Expertise

Habitat restoration; physiological, genetic and population aspects of plant ecology; local differentiated populations of salt-marsh plants.

Teaching Interests

  • BIO-1A03 (Biodiversity)
  • BIO-1A4Y (Skills for Biologists)
  • BIO-1A8Y (Issues & Approaches in Ecology)
  • BIO-2B1Y Biology in Society
  • BIO-2B26 (Community, Ecosystem and Macro-Ecology)
  • BIO-3C45 (Organisms and Environment)
  • BIO-M512 (Restoration Ecology)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or