Mark Hodson

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I am a low temperature mineralogist and geochemist and have worked on soils for almost 20 years with particular interests in earthworm ecology, contaminated sites and mineral weathering.  I was appointed as an Anniversary chair in the Department of Environment and Geography in York in 2012.  Prior to coming to York I worked in the Soil Science department at the University of Reading, starting as a lecturer in 1999, being promoted to senior lecturer, reader and finally a chair in environmental mineralogy and geochemistry in 2009. Whilst at the University of Reading I founded the Soil Research Centre.  The centre comprised about 30 staff, over 40 PhD students from around the world, technical and administrative support and visiting scientists, and served as the focus for soil related research activities at the University.

As a postdoctoral researcher I worked at the Natural History Museum with Dr Eva Valsami-Jones (now a Professor at Birmingham University) on the use of phosphorus amendments for the in situ remediation of metal contaminated soil and at the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute (now the Hutton Institute) with Dr Simon Langan (now Office Head of the International Water Management Institute) on mineral weathering rates in soils and critical loads of acid rain.  My PhD was completed at the University of Edinburgh and investigated the solidification of magma chambers and the low temperature alteration of mineral sand I read a BA in Geology at the University of Oxford.

Out in the wider world I am on the editorial boards of the journals Environmental Pollution and Applied Geochemistry, am a member of the Executive committee of the Geochemistry and Mineralogy magazine Elements and have been involved in public lectures, radio and television programmes.  I remain strongly committed to outreach and engagement activities.  I have served on various committees involved in the funding of environmental science and currently sit on the Research Excellence Framework (REF) subpanel that will be assessing research quality in the UK university Environmental Science sector for the period 2009-2014.  I have been awarded the Houtermans medal of the European Association for Geochemistry and the Max Hey medal of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland and am a Scientific Associate of the Natural History Museum.


2012 – present Professor of Environmental Science University of York
1999 – 2012 Lecturer, Senior lecturer, Reader and Professor in Environmental Mineralogy and Geochemistry
Head of Department
Acting Head of School
Director of the Soil Research Centre
School Director of Research
University of Reading
1998 – 1999 Researcher “In situ remediation of metal contaminated soil” Department of Mineralogy
The Natural History Museum
1995 – 1997 Higher Scientific Officer “Mineral weathering and critical loads” Macaulay Land Use Research Institute
1991 – 1994 PhD “Igneous layering in the syenites of Nunarssuit and West Kûngnât, South Greenland"
Supervised by Profs. Ian Parsons and Brian Upton
Department of Geology and Geophysics
University of Edinburgh
1988 – 1991 B.A. Geology The Queen's College
University of Oxford




I am a low temperature geochemist and mineralogist. My research on biogeochemical cycling in pristine and human-impacted environments comprises three inter-related strains.  My work on mineral weathering relates to soil development and nutrition and the release of contaminants at former mine sites.  Additional work on former mine sites considers the mobility and availability of inorganic contaminants and the remediation of such sites using inorganic and organic amendments.  My work on earthworm ecology initially focussed on the impact of contaminants on earthworms, both in terms of their use in risk assessment and their evolutionary response to these environmental stressors but has widened to consider the adaptation and evolution of earthworms in other extreme environments (more specifically Azorean volcanic soils with elevated temperatures and carbon dioxide levels).  Additional work on earthworms includes investigating earthworm secreted calcium carbonate and its potential use as a palaeothermometer for reconstructing past terrestrial climates, modelling earthworm population dynamics and determining survival strategies under adverse water and temperature regimes in temperate (and changing) climates. 

I have written over 100 referred journal papers and am on the editorial board of two journals, Environmental Pollution and Applied Geochemistry as well as being a member of the Executive committee of the magazine Elements.  I have organised international conferences and sat on various committees that either fund or assess the outcomes of environmental research.  I currently sit on on the Research Excellence Framework (REF) subpanel that will be assessing research quality in the UK university Environmental Science sector for the period 2009-2014

I am also strongly committed to outreach and engagement activities.  I currently hold a STFC (Science and Technology Facilities Council) Science in Society fellowship that enables me to spend time visiting schools and interest groups to talk about a whole host of issues such as careers in science, global warming, evolution and the sustainable management of soil.  I am also currently liasing with artists over a variety of projects.  Please do get in touch if there are engagement activities you’d like me to be involved in.


2011 - 2014 NERC £547k

“Stress in a hot place: Ecogenomics and phylogeography in a pantropical sentinel inhabiting multi-stressor volcanic soils” with Dr Pete Kille, Profs. John Morgan and Mike Bruford (Cardiff).

PDRA: Dr Luís Cunha.

2011 - 2014

STFC Science in Society Fellowship

£84k ”Shining light on the environment”.
2010 - 2013 NERC £448k

”Earthworm secreted calcite granules - constructing a new terrestrial palaeo-environment thermometer and quantifying carbon sequestration potential.” with Dr Stuart Black (Reading).

PDRA: Dr Emma Versteegh.

2010 - 2013 Diamond  

“Investigations into earthworm generated calcium carbonate.” With Prof. Fred Mosselmans (Diamond) and Dr Paul Schofield (NHM).

PDRA: Dr LoredanaBrinza.







  • Mr Ashfaq Asfar (EPSRC) Remediation of metal contaminated soils and waters with engineered nanoparticles.  
    Co-supervisor Prof L Harwood (School of Chemistry, main supervisor).
    Start date October 2011
  • Mr DavidHughes (EPSRC) Remediation of metal contaminated soils and waters with engineered nanoparticles.  
    Co-supervisor Prof L Harwood (School of Chemistry). 
    Start date October 2011
  • Mr BaderAlbogami (Ministry of Higher Education Saudi Arabia) Metal uptake byearthworms.  
    Co-supervisor Dr S Black.  
    Start date February 2011
  • Mr Mark Hirons (ESRC-NERC ES/I003800/1) Addressing Livelihood and Environmental Needs:  What are the Implications of Implementing the REDD Mechanism in Rural Sub-Saharan Africa? 
    Co-supervisor Dr G Hilson (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, main supervisor). 
    Start date October 2010
  • Ms Alice Johnston (Syngenta BBSRC Industrial Case award) Modelling earthworm population dynamics in agricultural fields.  
    Co-supervisor: Prof. Richard Sibly (main supervisor, School of Biological Sciences). 
    Start date October 2010.
  • Mr Joseph Olimah (Nigerian Government) Plant - metal - microbe interactions. 
    Co-supervisor Dr Liz Shaw. 
    Start date January 2010.
  • Ms Musfiroh Jani (Malaysian government) The crystal chemistry of hydrous ferrous sulphates.  
    Co-supervisor: Dr Ann Chippindale (School of Chemistry).  
    Start date January 2010.
  • Mr Chris Speed (University of Reading) Impacts of bioturbation on preservation and interpretation of archaeological environments. 
    Co-supervisors: Prof. Martin Bell, Prof. Mike Fulford (main supervisor)  
    Start date October 2008.
  • Mr Martin Clifford (ESRC – NERC) Environment, health and mercury pollution in the small-scale gold mining industry: strategies and ways forward in Ghana and Guyana.  
    Co-supervisors: Dr G Hilson (main supervisor).  
    Start date October 2008.

External activities


  • Panel member 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) Sub-panel 7: Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences
  • Awards Committee Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland
  • European Association for Geochemistry’s Houterman’s medal committee

Editorial duties

  • Executive Committee: Elements
  • Associate Editor: Applied Geochemistry
  • Editorial Board: Environmental Pollution

Hodson, Mark‌ 

Contact details

Prof. Mark Hodson
Head of Department
Department of Environment and Geography
University of York
YO10 5NG

Tel: 01904 324065
Fax: 01904 322998