Dr Laurence Carvalho

Anabaena circinalis

Lake users in sunshine

Dr Laurence Carvalho

Freshwater Ecologist

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Bush Estate
EH26 0QB
T: +44 (0)131 4454343
F: +44 (0)131 4453943
E-mail: Dr Laurence Carvalho

Specialities: lakes, eutrophication, phytoplankton, cyanobacteria, algal blooms, Water Framework Directive, ecosystem services, nutrient cycling.

Research interests

I am a freshwater ecologist with more than 20 years of experience researching biodiversity, water quality and algal blooms in lakes. I am particularly known for my work on eutrophication and climate change impacts on lakes.  My research has mainly focused on phytoplankton and I am interested in their response to environmental change, their use in lake assessment for the Water Framework Directive and their role in lake ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services.  I recently spent one year on secondment to the European Commission working on ecosystem services delivered by freshwater biodiversity. I carry out my research through the statistical analysis of long-term monitoring data from Loch Leven, and geographically-extensive datasets from a large number of UK and European lakes.

Current research projects

Completed projects

Input into completed projects

  • Deriving practical guidance on the importance of nitrogen in freshwater eutrophication (Scottish Executive)
  • Reviewing the potential for reductions of nitrogen and phosphorus inputs in current farm systems (Defra)
  • Feasibility studies on the restoration needs of four lake SSSIs (English Nature).



Brief CV

  • Oct 2001 onwards: NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (Edinburgh research site)
  • Aug 2012 onwards: member of NERC Peer Review College
  • Apr 2008 onwards: Coordinator of Scottish Freshwater Group
  • Nov 2010-Oct 2011: Seconded to the European Commission – Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy
  • 2003-2006: Honorary Lecturer, Division of Environmental & Evolutionary Biology, University of Glasgow
  • 1995-2001: Lecturer in Environmental Change, Environmental Change Research Centre (ECRC), Department of Geography, University College, London
  • 1994-1995: Post-doc, Natural History Museum
  • 1993-1994: Post-doc, University of Liverpool
  • 1989-1993: University of Liverpool. PhD on Experimental Limnology on Four Cheshire Meres
  • 1985-1988: University of Edinburgh. BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Upper Second)


Selected publications

See also the NERC Open Research Archive.

Carvalho L, McDonald C, de Hoyos C, Mischke U, Phillips G, Borics G, Poikane S., Skjelbred B, Lyche Solheim A, Van Wichelen J. & Cardoso A.C., 2013. Sustaining recreational quality of European lakes: minimising the health risks from algal blooms through phosphorus control.  Journal of Applied Ecology, 50, 315-323. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12059

Lyche-Solheim, A., L. Carvalho,  et al. 2013. Lake assessment of ecological status: sensitivity and uncertainty of four biological quality elements along gradients of eutrophication and hydromorphological pressures Hydrobiologia , 704, 57-74. Feb 2013. DOI 10.1007/s10750-012-1436-y

Carvalho L. et al. 2012. Strength and uncertainty of lake phytoplankton metrics for assessing eutrophication impacts in lakes.  Hydrobiologia, 704, 127-140. Feb 2013. DOI 10.1007/s10750-012-1344-1

Thackeray, S.J., P. Nõges, M.J. Dunbar, B.J. Dudley, B. Skjelbred, G. Morabito, L. Carvalho, et al. 2013. Quantifying uncertainties in biologically-based water quality assessment: a pan-European analysis of lake phytoplankton community metrics.  Ecological Indicators, 29, 34–47. DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2012.12.010

Bennion H., Carvalho L., Sayer C. and Wischnewski J. 2012. Identifying nutrient and climate impacts on diatom dynamics in Loch Leven from recent sediment records.  Freshwater Biology, 57, 2015-2029. 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2011.02651.x

Hunter, P.D., Czajkowski, M.I., Hanley, N. Tyler, A.N., Carvalho, L., Codd, G.A. and Mearns, K.J. 2012. The effect of risk perception on public preferences and willingness-to-pay for reductions in the health risks posed by toxic cyanobacterial blooms. Science of the Total Environment, 426: 32-44. Doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.02.017

Carvalho L, Ferguson C.A., Gunn I.D.M., Bennion H., Spears B. and May L.  2012. Water quality of Loch Leven: responses to enrichment, restoration and climate change, Hydrobiologia, 681:35-47.

Carvalho L, Miller CA, Scott EM, Codd GA, Davies PS and Tyler AN, 2011. Cyanobacterial blooms: Statistical models describing risk factors for national-scale lake assessment and lake management. Science of the Total Environment, 409: 5353–5358. Accepted Sep 2011.

Hunter, P.D., Tyler, A.N., Carvalho, L., Codd., G.A. and Maberly, S.C. 2010. Hyperspectral remote sensing of cyanobacterial pigments as indicators for cell populations and toxins in eutrophic lakes. Remote Sensing of Environment, 114: 2705-2718.  Published November 2010

Hering, D., Borja A., Carstensen J., Carvalho L., et al.  2010. The European Water Framework Directive at the age of 10: a critical review of the achievements with recommendations for the future.  Science of the Total Environment, 408: 4007-4019, Sep 2010.

Ferguson, C. A.; Carvalho, L.; Scott, E. M.; Bowman, A. W.; Kirika, A.. (2008). Assessing ecological responses to environmental change using statistical models.Journal of Applied Ecology, 45 (1). 193-203. 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2007.01428.x

Carvalho, L.; Solimini, A.; Phillips, G.; van den Berg, M.; Pietilainen, O.-P.; Lyche Solheim, A.; Poikane, S.; Mischke, U. (2008). Chlorophyll Reference Conditions for European Lake Types used for Intercalibration of Ecological Status.Aquatic Ecology, 42 (2). 203-211. 10.1007/s10452-008-9189-4

Cardoso, A. C.; Solimini, A.; Premazzi, G.; Carvalho, L.; Lyche, A.; Rekolainen, S. (2007). Phosphorus reference concentrations in European lakes.Hydrobiologia, 584 (1). 3-12. 10.1007/s10750-007-0584-y