Professional summary

Research Interests

Mike Bowes is a senior nutrient hydrochemist at UKCEH, and leads the River Water Quality & Ecology Group. His main research interest is investigating the sources and fates of the major plant nutrients (phosphorus, nitrogen and silicon) within rivers at the catchment scale, and how they impact on aquatic ecosystems. 

Mike specializes in nutrient interactions with river biota and bed-sediment. This novel research has identified threshold phosphorus concentrations that need to be attained in UK rivers before improvements in river ecology are likely to be observed. He also investigates how physical parameters such as light and flow velocity affect algal growth rates in rivers, and uses high frequency chemical and biological monitoring to determine the causes of algal blooms.

Mike developed the Load Apportionment Model, a novel and rapid method for determining relative quantities of P and N entering rivers from sewage treatment works and agriculture. This enables catchment managers and policy makers to determine how nutrient mitigation strategies will affect water quality and river ecology.

Mike leads the UKCEH Thames Initiative, a major integrated monitoring programme that brings together water quality and ecological research across the River Thames catchment. 


Research interests

The impact of changing water quality on periphyton and phytoplankton biomass in rivers.

High frequency water quality monitoring

Estimating nutrient loads to rivers from sewage and agriculture, using Load Apportionment Modelling and chemical tracing.

Identifying the factors that control the timing and magnitude of algal blooms.


Brief CV

2008 – present. Senior Hydrochemist,  CEH

1998-2008 Nutrient Hydrochemist, CEH Dorset / Institute of Freshwater Ecology

1983-1993 Thermoplastics research. ICI Plastics and Petrochemicals, Wilton, Cleveland


2006  PhD, University of Portsmouth. Phosphorus dynamics within large river catchments: interactions with sediment, biota and river discharge

1997  MSc Environmental Biogeochemistry,  University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

1993-1996  BSc Geography (First class honours),  University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne