Stephen is an ecophysiologist of aquatic ecosystems. He obtained a first class degree in Botany and Zoology at the University of Reading in 1978 and a PhD on the interaction between freshwater phytoplankton and plants from the University of St Andrews in 1981. He was a NERC Research Fellow from 1981 to 1983 at the Windermere laboratory of the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) before returning to St Andrews as a postdoc and temporary lecturer. He joined the Institute of Freshwater Ecology at Windermere, a forerunner of the current UKCEH, in 1991. At different stages he was the head of the Water Programme and was the head of science Groups at Windermere and UKCEH Lancaster for over fifteen years. He retired in 2021 and is now a Fellow of UKCEH and also the FBA.
One research focus is the physiology of photosynthesis and carbon acquisition by freshwater plants and phytoplankton and marine macroalgae and seagrasses in the face of changing concentrations of CO2 and inorganic carbon in their environment. A second focus is the response of lakes to anthropogenic change, including climate change and nutrient enrichment. A third focus is to advise managers on ways to improve the ecological quality of freshwaters.
He has been a visiting scholar or professor at the Universities of Aarhus in Denmark, Queen Mary, University of London, Aix-Marseille in France and the Chinese Academy of Science in Wuhan, China. He was a recipient of the Luigi Provasoli Award of the American Society of Phycologist in 1992.
Maberly Stephen C. et al. , (2022). Phytoplankton growth and nutrients. In: Mehner Thomas; Tockner Klement; , (eds.) , Encyclopedia of Inland Waters. Vol. 2. 2nd ed.. Elsevier, 130-138. . http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-819166-8.00111-0
Mackay E.B. et al. , (2020), Dissolved organic nutrient uptake by riverine phytoplankton varies along a gradient of nutrient enrichment. Science of the Total Environment, 722, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.137837