• 01.24 Sciences

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Please contact me about any advertised PhD competition opportunities where I am a supervisor. Alternatively, we can discuss other potential projects and alternative sources of funding.

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Personal profile

Key Research Interests

My research centres on biological oceanography, especially the pivotal roles that marine microbes play in the biogeochemical cycles that are essential for the functioning of the whole Earth system.  I am interested in how marine organisms, especially plankton and seaweeds, interact, adapt to and influence their environment, and how this could alter with climate change.

The biogenic production of the sulphur trace gas dimethyl sulphide (DMS), volatile halocarbons and non-methane hydrocarbons are of particular interest.  In addition my group has worked on the DMS precursor dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP), dimethylsulphoxide (DMSO), acrylic acid and inorganic iodine species.  The research involves laboratory experiments on samples collected in the natural environment and cultures of marine microorganisms (phytoplankton, microzooplankton, seaweeds, bacteria and viruses), and fieldwork onboard research ships, on rocky shores, at land-based coastal fieldwork sites and mesocosm facilities.  Overall our research has made a significant contribution to improving understanding of the physiology, biochemistry and ecology of the production of trace gases and related compounds.

I also have active interests on other aspects of biological oceanography, biogeochemistry and the exploitation of algal biomass.  Projects have included: oxidative stress in Emiliania huxleyi; phytoplankton cell death processes; ocean acidification; the size structure of North Sea phytoplankton populations; how N:P ratios alter coastal phytoplanton communities; the variability in DMSP production between and within phytoplankton functional types (coccolithophores, dinoflagellates and diatoms); nutrient and sulphur deficiency and DMSP production in Emiliania huxleyi and Thalassiosira pseudonana; the production of trace gases by temperate and tropical seaweeds; diatom, coccolithophore and nanophytoplankton growth rates and carbon cycle modelling; the sustainable exploitation of algae for biofuels and other high-value products; automated systems for mesozooplankton analysis. 

Publications: EPrints Digital Repository

MSc, PhD & Postdoctoral Research Opportunities to date I have supervised 27 PhD students and 4 MSc students.  I welcome enquiries from potential students and postdocs at any time.

PhD Positions Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences. However, feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.


  • 2009 - present: Reader in Biological Oceanography, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia.
  • 1998 - 2009: Two consecutive 5-year UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Advanced Research Fellowships, University of East Anglia.
  • 1987 - 1998: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of East Anglia.
  • 1986 - 1987: Research Fellow, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, USA.
  • 1985 - 1986: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of East Anglia.
  • 1983 - 1985: NERC Research Fellow, University of Bristol.
  • 1979 - 1983: PhD University of Liverpool.
  • 1976 - 1979: BSc (Hons) Botany, University of Liverpool.



I developed interests in algae and ecophysiology as an undergraduate and PhD student at the University of Liverpool.  My PhD was on a non-heterocystous cyanobacterium that fixes nitrogen aerobically. Afterwards I moved to Bristol University with a 2-year UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Postdoctoral Fellowship on chemotaxis in benthic cyanobacteria, and then to an 8-month contract at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and a project on biogenic production of dimethylsulphide (DMS).  After that I moved to Case Western Reserve University, USA and did a project on high-affinity arabinose uptake in E. coli to learn more biochemical and molecular techniques.

I returned to UEA in 1987 and over the following 10 years I developed a research portfolio on production of DMS, halocarbons and hydrocarbons, and air-sea gas exchange.  Most of my projects have involved phytoplankton and seaweed physiology and marine microbial ecology.  In 1998 I won a 5-year NERC Advanced Fellowship on the biogenic production of trace gases of atmospheric significance in marine waters, and in 2004 I was awarded a rare second 5-year NERC Advanced Research Fellowship to develop physiological and molecular approaches to biogenic trace gas production.  During this period I established a research group and the Marine Trace Gas Biology Laboratory in the School of Environmental Sciences (ENV).  Since my appointment to a Readership in Biological Oceanography in 2009, I have continued research in these areas alongside my teaching and administration.

Since joining the ENV faculty I have gained experience as Health and Safety Co-Ordinator and Chair of the ENV Health and Safety Committee (2009-2013) and Director of Teaching for Postgraduate Taught Students (2017-2021).  I am involved in action on gender equity and fairness through Chairing ResNet (www.uea.ac.uk/resnet) a contact, support and information network for people working in research, teaching and support roles at the University of East Anglia and the Norwich Biosciences Institutes.  I am also a member of my School's Athena Swan committee and the UEA Equality and Diversity Committee. Externally I have served on various NERC panels and committees. I been a member and Chair of the Awards and Training Committee, President Elect, President, Immediate Past president and Chair of the Algal Applications Committee of the British Phycological Society. I have also been a member of the Phycological Society of America Grants and Awards Committee.  My interests in the sustainable production and exploitation of seaweeds and microalgae are reflected in my active participation in the BBSRC-NIBB Algae-UK and a Norfolk-based Algal Innovation Platform. 

Key Responsibilities

  • University of East Anglia Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee since November 2020
  • Chair of ResNet a contact, support and information network with a fairness and gender equality focus for people working in research, teaching and support roles at the University of East Anglia and the Norwich Biosciences Institutes.
  • ARIES Doctoral Training Programme Head of Training since October 2020.
  • Joint-Deputy Director (ENV-UEA) of the Collaborative Centre for the Sustainable Use of the Seas (CCSUS) a joint venture with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) that provides an interdisciplinary hub for research, engagement, knowledge transfer and training.
  • Director of Marine Biology for the UEA-based Marine Knowledge Exchange Network (MKEN).
  • Earth and Life Sciences Alliance (ELSA) Theme Leader for Elemental Cycles 


  • School of Environmental Sciences Director of Teaching for Postgraduate Taught Students, including Chair of PGT Exam Board and Chair of Staff Student Liason Committee. 2017-2021. 
  • University of East Anglia Athena Swan Central Steering Group.
  • School of Environmental Sciences 1st Year Co-Ordinator
  • School of Environmental Sciences Equality and Diversity Committee.

Teaching Interests

Modules Taught
ENV-3001Y Environmental Science
ENV-4001A Global Environmental Challenges
ENV-4006B Biodiversity and Sustainability
BIO-5013A Field Ecology 
ENV-7031A Geoengineering the Climate: Science and Policy
ENV-7030B Environmental Pollution - Science Policy and Management (Convenor)
ENV-3A20 Global Environmental Change (Convenor)
ENV-2A28 Plant, Animal and Microbial Interactions
BIO-2B15 Microbiology

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 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

External positions

Committee Chair , Awards and Training Committee, British Phycological Society


Chair of Steering Committee, Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa

2018 → …

Advisory Board Member, GCRF Project: Global Seaweed Star Project Safeguarding the Future of the Seaweed Industry in Developing Countries https://www.sams.ac.uk/science/projects/globalseaweedstar


Visiting Professor, University of Malaya


President, British Phycological Society

Aug 2015Jun 2018

Visiting Professor, Ocean University of China


Committee Chair, Algal Applications Committee, British Phycological Society

2013 → …

President Elect , British Phycological Society


Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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