Personal profile


2012 - present  Senior Lecturer in Ecology, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester.

2005 – 2012  Lecturer in Ecology, School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester.

1996 – 2005  Lecturer in Ecology, Department of Life Sciences, King’s College London.

1993 - 1996  Postdoctoral Research Associate, Sheffield Centre for Arctic Ecology, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield.

1990 - 1993  Postdoctoral Research Fellow, NERC CEH Merlewood, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria.

Academic invitations


September 2009 - October 2018. Invited review panel member of University of Lund Centre for Studies of Carbon Cycle & Climate Interactions, Sweden.

September 2014 - September 2015. Invited external examiner for Arctic Mycology MSc Course, The University Centre in Svalbard, Svalbard, Norway.

October 2013. Invited talk at British Embassy, Moscow, Russia, at workshop 'Managed and unmanaged carbon intensive ecosystems (tundra, bogs, steppes, forests) and polar ecosystems under climate change and climate variability'. 

June 2008. Invited vice-chair of international external review panel of research quality in Biogeosciences at the University of Lund, Sweden.

May 2008. Invited presentation for the Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA.


NERC CASE PhD (University of Lancaster and NERC CEH Merlewood, Cumbria) 1990; BSc (Hons) University of Exeter 1986.

Research interests

(1) Structure and function of fungal communities in soils and plant litter, (2) Biogeochemistry of Arctic and Antarctic soils, (3) Techniques to characterise the structure and function of the soil microbial community.

My group


I am interested in self-funded / sponsored students for PhD projects related to soil fungal communities and their functions including:

Microbial controls on carbon loss from eroding and restored UK blanket peatland
The blanket peatlands of the UK are important terrestrial carbon stores but are uniquely eroded because of impacts of industrial pollution, overgrazing, wildfire and climate change (Evans and Warburton, 2011). Carbon is lost from eroded peatlands through physical erosion but also in dissolved and gaseous forms because of in situ microbial decomposition of organic matter in peat. Degraded peatlands can shift from carbon sinks to carbon sources. In the last decade there have been significant efforts to restore the degraded peatlands of the British uplands. Although microbial communities have been investigated in the context of restoration (Elliott et al., 2015), there has been little work on microbial function in the context of carbon loss from degraded and restored systems. This project aims to develop understanding of the links between peatland restoration, microbial communities and carbon cycling in upland peatlands.

Training will be provided in microbial community composition and activity assessed using DNA and RNA analyses (using high throughput Illumina sequencing platform) and appropriate functional gene determinations, gaseous carbon flux (direct chamber based measurements of CO2, CH4 and N2O), dissolved carbon flux and water table measurement (building on existing dipwell networks).

Elliott, D.R., Caporn, S.J.M., Nwaishi, F., Nilsson, R.H., Sen, R., 2015. Bacterial and fungal communities in a degraded ombrotrophic peatland undergoing natural and managed re-vegetation. PLoS ONE 10, e0124726. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124726

Evans, M., Warburton, J., 2011. Geomorphology of Upland Peat: Erosion, Form and Landscape Change. John Wiley & Sons.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Energy
  • Digital Futures


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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