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Personal profile


Richard is a Lecturer in the School of Environmental Sciences, specialising in a wide varity of catchment science research. Richard most recently worked on the DEFRA funded River Wensum Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) project which aimed to evaluate the extent to which on-farm mitigation measures could cost effectively reduce the impact of agricultural pollution on river ecology whilst maintaining food production capacity. Richard's research has included work on nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment, pesticides, biobeds, cover crops, reduced tillage regimes, indirect nitrous oxide emissions, invasive signal crayfish, integrated constructed wetlands and sediment fingerprinting. 


PhD Opportunities

Please contact me if you are interested in studying for a PhD on a Catchment Science related topic.


Website: http://rjc891.wix.com/richard-cooper






Key Research Interests and Expertise

Richard currently works on the River Wensum Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) project. This £12.3m Defra funded initiative is working in three UK catchments (Avon, Hampshire; Eden, Cumbria; Wensum, Norfolk) to evaluate the extent to which on-farm mitigation measures can cost-effectively reduce the impacts of diffuse water pollution on river ecology while still maintaining food production capacity. As part of this project, Richard has investigated the effectiveness of biobeds at degrading waste pesticides, cover crops at reducing nitrate leaching, reduced tillage at improving soil health, and sediment traps at reducing river turbidity. Richard has also explored the impact of invasive signal crayfish on water quality, and investigated indirect fluxes of nitrous oxide (N2O) emitted from agricultural rivers and subsurface drainage systems, with signficant implications for climate change research.


Prior to this, Richard spent two years working in the field of dendroclimatology, producing a 1000-year long reconstruction of East Anglian precipitation from the ring widths of both living oak trees and medieval wooden buildings. This reconstruction subsequently fed into a much larger European-wide drought atlas for the past millenium.   


Areas Of Expertise

  • Catchment science
  • Soil science
  • Geochemistry
  • Dendroclimatology
  • Agronomy


  • Sediment fingerprinting
  • Bayesian mixing models
  • Compound-specific stable isotopes
  • X-ray flourescence spectroscopy

Research Group Membership

River Wensum Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC)

Water Security Research Centre (WSRC)

Teaching Interests

ENV-4001A Global Environmental Challenges

ENV-4004Y Research and Field Skills (module co-organiser)

ENV-4004Y Slapton Field Course (module organiser)

ENV-6018B Land and Water Processes and Management (module organiser)

ENV-7043B Land and Water Processes and Management (module organiser)

ENV-6021A Independent Project

ENV-7018A Earth Science Research Topics

ENV-7026Y Research Training Project

ENV-7119Y MSc Dissertation

Professional Activities

Deputy Course Director for Environmental Sciences (2020 - onwards)

School Learning & Teaching Committee (2018 - onwards)

School Web Manager, Marketing & Communications Coordinator (2018 - onwards)

School Library Liaison Officer (2018 - onwards)

School UG Staff Student Liaison Committee (2019 - onwards)

Broadland Catchment Partnership Steering Group (2015 - onwards)

PGR Opportunities




2018 -           Lecturer in Catchment Science, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA 

2015-2018   Senior post-doctoral research associate, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA

2015            Assistant Conservation Officer, Norfolk Widlife Trust  

2011-2015  PhD Catchment Science, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA & British Geological Survey

2007-2011  MSci Environmental Science, School of Environmental Sciences, UEA

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Science, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

1 Oct 201131 Mar 2015

Award Date: 31 Mar 2015

Master of Environmental Science, University of East Anglia

Award Date: 1 Jan 2011

External positions

Broadland Catchment Partnership Steering Group, Broads Authority

2015 → …


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