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Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences

Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences

Earth System science research

This group is part of Exeter Climate Systems, and is based within Mathematics in order to maximise the pull-through of mathematics and statistics into the improvement of climate models.

Expertise in this group spans the understanding and modelling of most of the major uncertainties in the response of the climate system to anthropogenic forcing: clouds and water vapour, carbon cycle, aerosols, sea-ice, land-surface, stratosphere. In addition, this group is committed to quantifying the overall uncertainties in climate projections through probabilistic climate projections, and reducing these uncertainties through the application of statistical emulation methods and data-assimilation. This group is primarily based within the Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy at the Streatham campus.

Key staff:

Prof Mark Baldwin
Prof Bob Beare
Prof Richard Betts
Dr Niklas Boes
Dr Catherine Bradshaw
Dr Jo Browse 
Dr Jennifer Catto
Dr Sarah Chadburn
Dr Robin Chadwick
Prof Mat Collins
Prof Peter Cox
Prof Pierre Friedlingstein
Dr Anna Harper
Prof Jim Haywood
Dr Tim Jupp
Prof F Hugo Lambert
Gareth Lewis
Dr James Manners
Dr Doug McNeal
Dr Daniel Partridge
Dr Niall Robinson
Prof Adam Scaife
Prof James Screen
Dr William Seviour
Dr Katie Sheen
Prof Peter Stott
Dr Stephen Thomson
Prof Nadine Unger
Dr Helen Webster
Prof Hywel Williams
Prof Daniel Williamson
Andy Wiltshire

Biogeochemical Cycles focuses on the understanding, measurement and modelling of interactions between biogeochemical cycles and the climate, across a broad range of timescales and epochs.

Particular areas of expertise include the ocean carbon and nutrient cycles, marine ecology, forest fires, and the co-evolution of life and environment.

This group is primarily based within the College of Life and Environmental Science (CLES) at the Streatham campus, and has strong links to the Climate Dynamics group through common interests in climate-carbon feedbacks and climate tipping points. 

Key staff:

Prof Claire Belcher
Dr Bob Brewin
Dr James Dyke
Dr Paul Halloran
Prof Timothy Lenton
Dr Jean-Francois Mercure
Dr Marie-Jose Messias
Dr Lucy Rowland
Dr Ute Schuster
Dr Jamie Shutler
Prof Andrew Watson

Earth Resources and Global Changes focuses on the challenges that society face in response to climate change and the transition toward the circular economy. Major areas of research include the security of supply of critical raw materials (such as the rare-earth elements, platinum, indium, lithium and cobalt) needed for the transformation of our energy infrastructure away from fossil fuels, how deep geothermal heat can be harvested, how the Earth’s environments respond to climate change, and how society will need to respond to natural hazards caused by increased weathering, erosion and environmental degradation, and from volcanic eruptions.

The group is based on the Penryn Campus with members residing within the Camborne School of Mines and the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI).

Key staff:

Prof Jens Andersen
Dr Ian Bailey
Dr Sam Broom-Fendley
Prof Stephen Hesselbo
Dr James Hickey
Prof Karen Hudson-Edwards
Dr Sam Hughes
Dr Sev Kender
Dr Kate Littler
Dr Kathryn Moore
Dr Laura Newsome
Dr Robin Shail
Dr Clemens Vinzez Ullmann
Prof Francis Wall
Prof Ben Williamson

Environmental sciences

Ecosystems research focuses on understanding the impacts of environmental change and land management on the goods and services provided by the Earth’s ecosystems. The group uses a multifaceted approach, combining field, laboratory, and modelling studies, which integrate with the work of engineers, mathematicians and social scientists.

Studies are carried out in many ecosystem types from the ocean, to farmland and industrial mining sites, and for a range of taxa and systems including microbes, plants and biogeochemical cycles, insects, agri-environment and pollination services, marine vertebrates, fisheries and renewable energies, birds, protected areas and climate change, and mammals, human-wildlife conflicts and wildlife disease.

This group is based both in the Penryn and Streatham campuses.

Key staff:

Prof Stuart Bearhop
Dr Jason Chapman
Dr James Cresswell
Dr Regan Early
Prof Kevin Gaston
Dr Lucy Hawkes
Prof Dave Hodgson
Dr Christopher Kaiser-Bunbury
Dr Ilya Maclean
Prof Juliet Osbourne
Dr Orly Razgour
Dr Kees Jan van Groenigen
Prof Frank Van Veen
Dr Matthew Witt
Prof Gabriel Yvon-Durocher

Environmental Biology research explores environmental contaminants and other anthropogenic stressors. Key areas of research focus on understanding the mechanisms of action and physiological adaptations of aquatic organisms to pollutants (including endocrine disrupting chemicals, pharmaceuticals, microplastics and nanomaterials) and other environmental stressors and the broader implications for ecosystem functions.

Methodologies include in vitro and in vivo experimentation (including genome wide sequencing and transgenic fish models) and field studies of unique habitats and degraded environments across the globe. Research into the basic biology of test and sentinel organisms underpins all of the ecotoxicology work and is enhanced by complementary bioimaging techniques within the Living Systems Institute. This group is based within Biosciences on the Streatham campus. 

Key staff:

Prof Tamara Galloway
Prof Brendan Godley
Dr Julie Hawkins
Dr Ceri Lewis
Prof Callum Roberts
Dr Eduarda Santos
Prof Steve Simpson
Dr James Stephens
Dr Ruth Thurstan
Prof Charles Tyler

Environment and Human Health research carries-out transdisciplinary research into the interconnections between environmental change, human health and wellbeing.  Particular areas of expertise include the benefits to human health and wellbeing from interacting with the natural environment, and the evolution and ecology of antibiotic resistance in natural and farmed environments and subsequent transmission to humans. The influences and interconnections of climate and other environmental change and demographic change are key features of this research.

The group is based within a larger interdisciplinary research community at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, a WHO Collaborating Centre in Natural Environment and Health, which is based at the Royal Cornwall Hospital campus in Truro and at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) in Penryn and is part of the College of Medicine and Health.

Key staff:

Prof Lora Fleming
Prof William Gaze
Dr Anne Leonard
Dr Karyn Morrissey
Dr Aimee Murray
Dr Tim Taylor
Dr Michael Vos