Professional summary

Research Interests

I have more than 40 years’ of experience as a freshwater ecologist. Initially, my main research focus was the population dynamics of zooplankton and their role as indicators of environmental quality. I still maintain that interest but, in recent years, my research focus has changed to the causes and effects of water quality problems in lakes. This includes gathering the scientific evidence that is required to underpin the successful restoration of lakes and to support their sustainable management.

My current research interests include:

  • Long term monitoring of Loch Leven, Scotland, and its management as a landscape scale research platform
  • Eutrophication and recovery processes in freshwater lakes, including the impacts of climate change and their mitigation
  • Linking land to water, including the sources and fates of the major plant nutrients (phosphorus, nitrogen and silicon) at the catchment scale, and how they impact on aquatic ecosystems
  • The better management of sewage in rural areas, including impacts on the environment and risk assessment approaches

Brief CV

Employment history

  • PhD student, Paisley College of Technology, 1976-1979
  • Royal Society funded post doctoral reseach associate, Intitute of Limnology, Austria, 1979-1980
  • Freshwater ecologist, CEH, 1980 to present

Editing, lecturing and memberships of scientific organising committees

  • Guest editor for Special Issues of Hydrobiologia (1987, 2005, 2012, 2017)
  • Visiting lecturer SRUC/University of Edinburgh
  • Visiting lecturer Napier University, Edinburgh

Memberships of scientific organising committees for international conferences

  • International Rotifer Symposia 1985 (UK), 2000 (Thailand), 2015 (Czech Republic), 2018 (USA)
  • International Shallow Lakes Conference 2017 (Mexico)

Current research projects

  • SUNRISE: Enhancing freshwaters in China, India & Kenya (NERC funded; 2017-2020)
  • Developing a Sentinel monitoring network for Scotland’s rivers and lochs (SEPA/Scottish Government funded; 2017-2018)
  • RESAS ‘Payment for ecosystem services’ and ‘Catchment and waterbody typologies’ tasks (Funded by Scottish Government RESAS Strategic Research Programme; 2016-21)
  • NitroPortugal: Strengthening Portuguese research and innovation capacities in the field of excess reactive nitrogen (EU funded, 2016-2019)
  • Nutrient source apportionment study to support the restoration and future sustainable management of Linlithgow Loch, Scotland (Funded by Midlothian Council & Historic Environment Scotland; 2016-2019)
  • Natural Capital Metrics: integrating data, models and scientific knowledge to assess natural capital assets, ecosystem services and human well-being within the UK (NERC funded; 2016-2018)
  • Hydroscape: the importance of connectivity in freshwater ecosystems (NERC funded; 2015-2019)
  • Long term monitoring of Loch Leven, Scotland, UK (Funded by NERC & Scottish Natural Heritage; PI - 1995 onwards)

Past research projects

  • Restoration of lakes impacted by eutrophication (Various studies funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Coal, Environment Agency, Natural England, Natural Environment Research Council, & others)
  • Impacts of septic tanks on downstream water quality and ecology, including risk assessment and options for mitigation of impacts (Various studies funded by Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Perth & Kinross Council, Broads Authority, NERC Macronutrient Cycles, Scottish Center of Expertise for Waters, United Utilities & others)
  • Nutrient budgets and source apportionment for Loch Leven, Llangorse Lake, Esthwaite Water, Loweswater, Loch Davan, Loch Kinnord, Loch Lomond, Hornsea Mere, Mere Mere, Hatchmere (Various studies funded by SNH, SEPA, CCW, NE)
  • Defra Toolkits: Developing a field tool kit for ecological targeting of agricultural diffuse pollution mitigation measures (Defra funded; 2012-2015)
  • Investigation of the impacts of changes in farm management on nutrient loads to, and ecological response in, Loweswater (NERC-RELU funded; 2009-2011)
  • WISER (Waterbodies in Europe - Integrative systems to assess ecological status and recovery): Lake recovery trajectories (EU Funded, 2008-2012)
  • Understanding and quantifying the processes that link water quality and quantity, biota and the physical environment. (NERC funded; 2005-2008)
  • EURO-LIMPACS: Disentangling the combined effects of eutrophication and climate change in long-term historical monitoring data from European lakes (EU funded; 2004-2009)
  • REBECCA (Relationships Between Ecological And Chemical Status Of Surface Waters): review of methods for establishing historical reference conditions in lakes from catchment characteristics (EU Funded, 2004-2007)
  • CLIME: assessment of the impacts of climate change on nutrient delivery from lakes to catchments and the subsequent effect on lake ecological water quality (EU funded, 2003-2005)
  • NUPHAR: Risk assessment methodology for determining nutrient impacts in surface freshwater bodies – methodologies developed for estimating the nutrient loads to water from sewage works, septic tanks and cage fish farms (Environment Agency funded, 2003)
  • EUROLAKES: Study to improve strategies for the long-term management, short-term pollution control and integrated monitoring of deep European Lakes and their catchments (EU funded, 2000-2003).


  • 1980 PhD in zooplankton ecology, Council for National Academic Awards
  • 1976 BSc (Hons) in Biology and Mathematic, University of Keele

Panels, committees and memberships

  • Scottish Freshwater Group (1976 to present)
  • Freshwater Biological Association (FBA; 1980 to present)
  • Data and Quality Assurance Sub-Committee, NERC Thematic Programme on Environmental Diagnostics (1995-1999)
  • Loch Leven Catchment Management Project Working Group on Water Quality (1996-1999)
  • SEPA Rural Diffuse Pollution Research Group, December 2001
  • NERC Science Panel III promotion panel (2001-2004)
  • Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) (2005 to present)
  • Scottish Aquatic Environment Monitoring Strategy Group (2005 to 2008)
  • SEPA Priority Catchment Monitoring Working Group (2006-2010)
  • International Limnology Society (SIL; National Representative and Treasurer (2008 to present)
  • NERC Peer Review College, Panel C (2012 to present)
  • UK Nitrate Vulnerable Zone review panel (2012 & 2015)
  • UK & Ireland Lakes Network (Trustee; 2013 to present)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (2013 to present)
  • British Ecological Society (2014 to present)
  • Member of Evaluators Panel, Environment protection Agency of Ireland (2014 to present)
  • Member of ‘Co-ordinated agenda for marine, environment and rural affairs science’ (CAMERAS) environmental monitoring co-ordination group (2015 to present)
  • Linlithgow Loch Strategic Management Group (2016 to present)
  • UK Environment Observation Framework (UKEOF) Secretariat; regional representative for Scotland (2016 to present)
  • Loch Leven Fisheries and Catchment Research Groups (1995 to present)