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Environmental Biology and Biogeochemistry

Our Research

The occurrence and distribution of organic compounds in the environment provides information on past and present environments and the biogeochemical processes occurring in them. This information can be used for a number of purposes, including providing data for climate models and understanding element cycling and the fate of organic compounds in the environment.

Current Researchers

Dr Geoff Abbott researches the resilience of organic matter stored in soils and peat in response to negative and positive feedbacks, and biogeochemical cycling in northern and tropical peatlands; such as, analysing the transformation products from Sphagnum and other peatland plants to assess antioxidant activity. This involves mass spectrometry including GCMS, LCMSMS and pyrolysis/thermochemolysis-GCMS.

Dr Shannon Flynn 

Professor Neil Gray

Professor Ian Head 

Dr Martin Jones is currently exploring petroleum hydrocarbon biodegradation in surface and subsurface environments, the use of organic geochemical molecular markers for monitoring environmental processes and development of analytical methods for studying organic molecular markers in the environment.

Dr Elisa Lopez-Capel

Professor David Manning 

Dr Simon Peacock

Professor Yit Arn Teh studies the effects of functional biodiversity and land-use practices on ecosystem function, biogeochemical cycling, biosphere-atmosphere exchange and the social-ecological dimensions of land-use change, which includes: investigating biogeochemical cycling and trace gas exchange from managed peatlands; sustainable options for nitrogen management in agro-ecosystems; carbon dynamics in agroforestry landscapes; carbon, biodiversity and socio-economic benefits from forest restoration; and barriers and opportunities for afforestation and reforestation.

Dr Jon Telling 

Professor Rob Upstill-Goddard

Professor Sam Wilson

Example Projects

  • Effects of changing climate on a northern peatland: greenhouse gas sink or source? EPSRC and BGS. 2018 – 2022.
  • Woodland Trust Small Grant: “Unravelling re- and de-forestation impacts on carbon capture in limestone catchment areas,” 2021-present; Award: £19.5K; PI: M. Rogerson (Northumbria); Co-Is: M. Prendergast-Miller (Northumbria University), Y.A. Teh, D. Rempe (University of Texas), P. Mann (Northumbria University), V. Ersek (Northumbria University).
  • Biodegradation of hydrocarbons under anaerobic conditions. Use of molecular markers to detect anaerobic ammonium oxidation in past environments.
Rice agriculture greenhouse gases in Italy (Photo: Yit Arn Teh)
Tropical agriculture greenhouse gases in Borneo (Photo: Yit Arn Teh).

L: Rice agriculture greenhouse gases in Italy; R: Tropical agriculture greenhouse gases in Borneo (Photos: Yit Arn Teh)

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