I developed an early interest in algae and ecophysiology whilst studying for my BSc in Botany at the University of Liverpool and subsequently stayed on there to do a PhD on a non-heterocystous cyanobacterium that fixes nitrogen aerobically.  I then moved to Bristol University for a 2-year UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Postdoctoral Fellowship focussing on chemotaxis in cyanobacteria, before moving to the University of East Anglia (UEA) for 8 months to work on biogenic production of dimethylsulphide (DMS).  After this I worked at Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, USA on high-affinity arabinose uptake in E. coli; a project that I undertook to learn more biochemical and molecular techniques.

I returned to UEA and DMS-related research in March 1987 and over the following 10 years I developed a portfolio of research projects on production of DMS, halocarbons and hydrocarbons, and air-sea gas exchange.  Most of these involved phytoplankton and seaweed physiology and marine microbial ecology.  In 1998 I won a 5-year NERC Advanced Fellowship to work on the biogenic production of trace gases of atmospheric significance in marine waters.  In 2004 I was awarded a rare second 5-year NERC Advanced Research Fellowship to develop physiological and molecular approaches to biogenic trace gas production.  During these Fellowships I established a research group and the Marine Trace Gas Biology Laboratory in the School of Environmental Sciences (ENV).  Since my appointment to a Readership in Biological Oceanography in 2009, I have continued research in these areas alongside my teaching and administration.

From 2002-2009 I was Chair of the ENV Researchers' Affairs Forum and represented Research Staff on the ENV Executive Group, the UEA Research Staff Working Group and UEA Research Staff Training Steering Committee.  After joining the ENV faculty I was the ENV Health and Safety Co-Ordinator and Chair of the ENV Health and Safety Committee for 4 years (2009-2013).  I am currently involved in action on gender equality and fairness through Chairing ResNet ( a contact, support and information network for people working in research, teaching and support roles at the University of East Anglia and the Norwich Biosciences Institutes.  I am also a member of the UEA Athena Swan Central Steering Group and the ENV Equality and Diversity Committee.  Beyond UEA I am President Elect for the British Phycological Society and a member of the Phycological Society of America Grants and Awards Committee.  My interests in the sustainable production and exploitation of seaweeds and microalgae are reflected in chairing the British Phycological Society Algal Applications Committee and being an active participant in the NERC and Technology Strategy Board Algal Bioenergy Special Interest Group.



  • 2009 - present: Reader in Biological Oceanography, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia.
  • 1998 - 2009: Two consecutive 5-year UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Advanced Research Fellowships, University of East Anglia.
  • 1987 - 1998: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of East Anglia.
  • 1986 - 1987: Research Fellow, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio, USA.
  • 1985 - 1986: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of East Anglia.
  • 1983 - 1985: NERC Research Fellow, University of Bristol.
  • 1979 - 1983: PhD University of Liverpool.
  • 1976 - 1979: BSc (Hons) Botany, University of Liverpool.

PhD Positions

Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences. However, feel free to email me to discuss projects outside these areas and alternative sources of funding.

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