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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 Environment Department 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.