Dr Andrew Johnson

Professor Andrew Johnson

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Maclean Building
Benson Lane
Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford
Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB
T: +44 (0)1491 838800
F: +44 (0)1491 692424
E-mail: Professor Andrew Johnson


Current work

The research supports CEH objectives in Water and Pollution and Environmental Risk. Currently the main focus is on risk ranking all the major chemical contaminants of UK surface waters based on the proximity of their environmental concentration to reported harmful concentrations measured in the laboratory.

Another active research interest is in linking wildlife monitoring data with sewage effluent exposure in British rivers.


Research interests

To try to assess the level of threat to the natural environment from chemical and biological hazards associated with human activity and so help preserve that environment for future generations. The main interest is in the aquatic environment and in assessing the threat posed by chemicals, nanoparticles and viruses.

Trying to understand the magnitude of the chemical challenge has led to the setting up of a National Fish Tissue Archive to allow a temporal and spatial assessment of chemical contamination of native fish to be carried out. The research tries to be forward looking and so examine how those chemical and biological threats might alter with climate change.

The complex challenges of environmental issues means that collaboration is vital in making progress. I have developed long-term collaborations with Kyoto University, Japan, which shares many of our concerns regarding endocrine disruption in rivers, and with Brunel University, UK, who are experts in ecotoxicology. These links have led to being awarded Visiting Professorships at both institutions.


Brief CV

First degree was a BSc in Microbiology from Reading University (1985), followed by a PhD in Soil Science, also at Reading University (1988). After four years as a Post-Doctoral Research fellow at Reading, I moved to the then Institute of Hydrology at Wallingford in 1992.

Highlights to date include:

  • Assessing the extent of herbicide loss from clay fields and demonstrating regular cycles of herbicide contamination in Chalk groundwater
  • Revealing the natural biodegradation rates of steroid oestrogens in rivers
  • Assessing the importance of different types of sewage treatment plant in removing oestrogens from the effluent
  • Guiding a GIS water quality modelling project that revealed the extent of risk faced by British fish to endocrine disruption
  • Elucidating the threat from cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs to the environment and human health Current studies include: Assessing how environmental change will shape the British river of the future

Selected publications

See also NERC Open Research Archive.

Johnson, A.C., Belfroid, A., and Di Corcia, A. (2000). Estimating steroid oestrogen inputs to activated sludge treatment works and observations on their removal from the effluent.  Sci. Total Environ. 256, 163-173.

Johnson, A.C and Sumpter J.P. 2001. Removal of endocrine disrupting chemicals in activated sludge treatment works. Environmental Science & Technology 35, 4697-4703.

Johnson, A.C., Williams, R.J. (2004).  A model to estimate influent and effluent concentrations of estradiol, estrone and ethinyloestradiol at sewage treatment works. Environmental Science & Technology, 38, 3649-3658.

Johnson, A.C., Aerni, H-R., Gerritsen, A., Gibert, M., Giger, W., Hylland, K., Jürgens, M., Nakari, T., Pickering, A., Suter, M.J-F., Svenson, A. and Wettstein, F.E. (2005).  Comparing steroid estrogen, and nonylphenol content across a range of European sewage plants with different treatment and management practices. Water Research 39: 47-58.

Johnson, A.C., Williams, R.J., Matthiessen, P.  (2006).  The potential steroid hormone contribution of farm animals to freshwaters, the United Kingdom as a case study.  Science of the Total Environment 362, 166-178.

Johnson, A.C., Williams, R.J., Simpson, P., R. Kanda (2007). What difference might sewage treatment performance make to endocrine disruption in rivers? Environmental Pollution, 147, 194-202.

Johnson, A.C., Jürgens, M.D., Williams, R.J., Kümmerer, K., Kortenkamp, A., Sumpter, J.P. (2008). Do cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs discharged into rivers pose a risk to the environment and human health? An overview and UK case study. Journal of Hydrology, 348, 167-175.

Johnson A.C., Ternes, T., Williams, R.J., Sumpter, J.P. (2008) Assessing the concentrations of  polar organic microcontaminants in the aquatic environment: Measure of Model? Environmental Science and Technology 42, 5390-5399.

Johnson AC, Acreman MC, Dunbar MJ et al. (2009). The British river of the future: How climate change and human activity might affect two contrasting river ecosystems in England. Sci. Total Environ. 407, 4787-4798

Johnson, A.C. (2010).Natural variations in flow are critical in determining concentrations of point source contaminants in rivers: An estrogen example. Environmental Science and Technology 44, 7865-7870.

Johnson, A.C., Yoshitani, J., Tanaka, H. and Suzuki, Y. (2011). Predicting national exposure to a point source chemical: Japan and endocrine disruption as an example. Environmental Science and Technology 45, 1028-1033.

Johnson, A.C., Bowes, M.J., Crossley, A., Jarvie, H.P., Jurkschat, K., Juergens, M.D., Lawlor, A.J., Park, B., Rowland, P., Spurgeon, D., Svendsen, C., Thompson, I.P., Barnes, R.J., Williams, R.J. and Xu, N. (2011). An assessment of the fate, behaviour and environmental risk associated with sunscreen TiO2 nanoparticles in UK field scenarios. Sci. Total Environ. 409, 2503-2510.

Johnson, A.C. and Park, B. (2012).  Predicting contamination by the fuel additive cerium oxide engineered nanoparticles within the United Kingdom and the associated risks.  Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 31, 2582-2587.