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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, sustainable agriculture, mineral weathering and contaminated sites. I was appointed as an Anniversary chair in the Department of Environment and Geography in York in 2012 and served as Head of Department 2015-2019
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 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 2014-2021 having previously sat on the REF2014 committee. 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 an Honorary Research Fellow 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 use a combination of mineralogical, chemical and biological techniques to investigate the biogeochemistry of contaminated soils and rates of mineral weathering. A particular focus at the moment is the role of earthworms in soil systems. This covers a broad range of areas ranging from ecosystem services, to evolution to carbon cycling.