Emma Shuttleworth


  • Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, Geography
  • Room 1.029, Arthur Lewis Building

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I welcome enquiries from well-qualified and motivated students wishing to carry out research in areas linked to my research interests. I am keen to develop ideas relating to peatlands, landscape restoration, natural flood management, science communication and contaminated sediment dynamics. Please email me your CV and your project ideas.

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a peatland scientist with a focus on how landscape managment and restoration can improve the hydrology and geomorphology of degraded systems.  My primary research interests lie in how peatlands can be best managed for climate resilience and flood  risk reduction, and how these managment and restoration pracitces may benfit other ecosystem services, such as reducing sediment and contaminant release. 

Peatlands are an important store of soil carbon, play a vital role in carbon and water cycling, and can also act as sinks of atmospherically deposited heavy metals. Large areas of the UK’s blanket peat are significantly degraded and actively eroding, which negatively impacts the ecosystem services these areas support. The restoration of eroding UK peatlands is a major conservation concern, and over the last decade measures have been taken to control erosion and restore large areas of degraded peat. In severely eroded peatlands, topography is highly variable, and an appreciation of geomorphological form and process is key in understanding the controls on peatland function, and in mitigating the negative impacts of peatland erosion.

Current and recent research projects

2022 – 2024 Disturbance and Restoration of Metal Contaminated Peatlands. Funded by NERC Global Partnership Seedcorn Fund (NE/X002756/1). Co-I.

2022 – 2024 Peatfix: Innovative approaches to peatland restoration. Funded by Innovate UK. Joint PI.

2022 – 2023 Restoring Steep Bare Peat. Funded by National Trust. PI.

2021 – 2025 Yorkshire Peat Partnership Nature for Climate. Funded by Natural England. Acadmic PI. 

2020 – 2022 Towards a global solution for mitigating peat fire impacts on human and aquatic ecosystem health in an era of climate change. Funded by McMaster University GSI. International Partner.

2018 – 2019 Sediment and contaminant delivery to upland reservoirs following severe wildfire. Funded by NERC (NE/S011560/1). RCo-I.

2017 – 2023 Protect-NFM: Optimising NFM benefits of moorland restoration to protect downstream communities. Funded by NERC Evaluating the Effectiveness of Natural Flood Management research programme (NE/R004560/1). Co-I/RA.

2017 – 2022 MoorLIFE 2020 Sphagnum re-introduction on bare peat. Funded by EU LIFE via Moors for the Future Partnership. Academic PI.




Education and Career
2023 - present: Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, University of Manchester 
2019 - 2023: Lecturer in Physical Geography and Programme Director of Geography with Professional Placement, University of Manchester 
2017 - 2019: Research Associate, Protect-NFM (NE/R004560/1), University of Manchester
2014 - 2017: Research Associate, Making Space for Water and associated projects, University of Manchester
2009 – 2014: PhD, Tracing peatland geomorphology: sediment and contaminant movements in eroding and restored systems, University of Manchester
2007 – 2008: MSc, Environment and Climate ChangeUniversity of Liverpool
2001 – 2005: BSc (Hons) Geography, University of Liverpool
Professional Activities
2019: Assistant Editor for Mires and Peat
2015 – 2017: European Geosciences Union Early Career Scientist Representative for Geomorphology
2014 – 2015: Press Officer for the British Society for Geomorphology

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Member of British Society for Geomorphology 

Member of European Geosciences Union 

Member of British Hydrological Society 

Member of British Ecological Society 



Supervision information


I welcome enquiries from well-qualified students wishing to carry out research in areas linked to my research interests. I am keen to develop ideas relating to peatlands, landscape restoration, natural flood management, science communication and contaminated sediment dynamics with motivated students.

Current Postgraduate Researchers

Adam Johnston (2019 - 2023) "Evaluating the effectiveness of NFM optimised gully blocks in upland peatland restoration" (with Prof Martin Evans and Prof Tim Allott). Funded by a SEED/MERI scholarship. 

Jessica Gauld (2021 - 2025) "A palaeo-ecological study to inform restoration of Greater Manchester’s Peatlands" (with Dr Will Fletcher). Funded by a SEED/Presidential scholarship. 

Anindya Majhi (2021 - 2025) "The geography of gully erosion in India" (with Dr Angela Harris and Prof Martin Evans). Funded by a SEED scholarship. 

James Sloane (2022 - 2026) "Sphagnum establishment and peatland carbon balance" (with Prof Martin Evans and Dr Tim Thom). Funded by Yorkshire Peat Partnership. 

Recently completed

Sarah Brown (2016 - 2021) "Approaches to monitoring fluvial organic carbon mineralisation in UK banket bogs" (with Dr Claire Goulsbra and Prof Martin Evans). Funded by a SEED scholarship. 

Oscar Kennedy-Blundell (2016 - 2020) "Pyrogenic carbon characteristics and short-term degradation trends in UK peatland catchments" (with Dr Gareth Clay and Prof James Rothwell). Funded by a SEED scholarship. 



Further information


I take an active role in promoting the field of geomorphology. I am part of a team leading the BSG Communicating Geomorphology Working Group. Unlike other 'ologies' (biology, geology, psychology, etc) there is limited awareness of geomorphology outside of the discipline, which presents a great challenge when trying to highlight the importance of our work to stakeholders and the public.  We aim to further our understanding of how a wider audience ‘sees’ geomorphology and its relevance, in order to determine how best our research should be communicated and promoted. 

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Futures
  • Digital Futures
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute


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