Professional summary

Research Interests

Keywords: freshwater ecology, water resources, lakes, reservoirs, eutrophication, climate change, phytoplankton, cyanobacteria, harmful algal blooms, WFD, Water Framework Directive, citizen science, natural capital, ecosystem services, connectivity

ORC id logo ORCID ID

I have worked on freshwaters from around the world for over 25 years and have published 84 ISI papers (Scopus h-index: 38, 5458 citations) and >100 reports on a range of issues related to water quality, algal blooms and the monitoring and management of water resources. I have particular expertise in biological responses to environmental change in lakes and reservoirs, particularly phytoplankton and harmful algal blooms of cyanobacteria. I was responsible for delivering legally-adopted UK and European water quality targets and phytoplankton assessment schemes for the European Water Framework Directive. I carry out my research, often collaboratively, analysing UK, European or global-scale datasets and combine these broad-scale studies with experiments in mesocosms and detailed time-series studies from CEH’s long-term lake monitoring programmes, particularly at Loch Leven, Scotland.

I led development of the UK Lakes Portal and the Bloomin’Algae citizen science app. I serve on UK (e.g. Scottish Health Protection Network) and overseas (e.g. GEO AquaWatch) working groups on the monitoring and management of water quality and water policy development.

I am a visiting professor at the University of Stirling 

Current or recently completed projects include:


Brief CV

Oct ’10 to Present Day        Principal Freshwater Ecologist, UKCEH Edinburgh

Apr ’13 to Dec '18              Group Leader, Freshwater Restoration & Sustainability Group (CEH Edinburgh)

Nov ’10 to Oct ‘11              Seconded National Expert to European Commission (JRC Ispra)

May ’01 to Sep ‘10              Senior Freshwater Ecologist, CEH Edinburgh

Aug ‘95 to April ‘01            Lecturer in Environmental Change, ECRC, Dept of Geography, UCL


1985-1988   University of Edinburgh, BSc Biological Sciences (Honours Botany)

1989-1993   University of Liverpool, PhD Experimental Limnology on Four Cheshire Meres

Panels, committees and memberships

  • Fellow of the Freshwater Biological Association (Elected July 2021)
  • Reviewer of IPCC 6th Assessment Report (Terrestrial & Freshwater Ecosystems and their Services) (2019-2021)
  • Chair of the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) AquaWatch Steering Committee (2020-2022)
  • Member of Scottish Government Health Department Blue-green Algae Working Group (2002-Present Day)
  • Expert Reviewer for EU Water Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) on the “Sustainable Management of Water Resources” (Mar-Oct 2018)
  • Co-ordinator of Scottish Freshwater Group (>400 members) (2007-2016)
  • Member of Canadian NSERC Review Panel on Great Lakes Network (2016)
  • Expert reviewer for European Commission on Water Framework Directive Compliance (2012-2016)
  • Member of NERC Peer Review College (Aug 2012 – July 2015)
  • Member of NERC Merit Promotion Panel (July 2014- Oct 2017)
  • Associate Editor Journal of Limnology (2011-), Guest Editor Hydrobiologia (2012-13)
  • Member of Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) & British Phycological Society (BPS)