Environmental Science

  • Unit(s) of assessment: Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology
  • Research theme: Sustainable Futures
  • School: School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences


The School has a particular focus on research into the management of land and water for biodiversity conservation and sustainable resource management.

Research carried out by the Environment academic team in the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences focuses on environmental sustainability. This research contributes to the REF 2014 submission (Unit of Assessment C17: Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology) under the themes of biodiversity conservation and sedimentary environments.

Research has been funded by a number of external agencies including:

Results have been presented at meetings including the British Ecological Society, British Hydrological Society, British Society for Geomorphology, the International Wetland Society, European Geophysical Congress and the International Geographical Congress.

The School has a variety of equipment for environmental monitoring and analysis including a GIS suite, two differential Global Positioning Systems (dGPS) for topographic survey, and multiple satellite collars for wildlife tracking.

There are well equipped glasshouses and new laboratories for analysis of water, soils and plant material (including laser particle size analysis). There is an automatic weather station and stream monitoring on campus in addition to several instrumented catchments located in the Peak District and in Cumbria.



Peatland conservation

Biodiversity conservation Current and recent projects, funders and collaborators include:

  1. Habitat use and threats to Gyps vultures in South Africa
  2. South Africa's brown hyaena in collaboration with Earthwatch Institute
  3. Habitat use of hedgehogs in rural landscapes
  4. Non-invasive methods to monitor hedgehog populations in the UK in collaboration with the Mammal Society and funded by The People's Trust for Endangered Species
  5. Identifying individual wolves from their vocalisations
  6. Habitat use of water shrews
  7. Factors affecting productivity in the house sparrow
  8. Diet analysis of barn owls
  9. Starvation-predation trade-off in the great tit
  10. Nesting success of peregrine falcons.

Environmental management

Shadow woodlands



The role of glacier mice in the invertebrate colonisation of glacial surfaces: the moss balls of the Falljökull, Iceland. Coulson SJ and Midgley NG, Polar Biology, 2012, 35 (11), pp. 1651-1658

Origin and significance of 'dispersed facies' basal ice: Svínafellsjökull, Iceland. Cook SJ, Swift DA, Graham DJ and Midgley NG, Journal of Glaciology, 2011, 57 (204), pp. 710-720

Sedimentary signatures of basal ice formation and their preservation in ice-marginal sediments. Cook SJ, Graham DJ, Swift DA and Midgley NG, Geomorphology, 2011, 25 (1), pp. 122-131

Origin and significance of dispersed facies basal ice: Svínafellsjökull, Iceland. Cook S, Swift D, Graham D and Midgley NG, Geophysical Research Abstracts, 2010, 12 (9136)

Pioneer vegetation on glacier forelands in southern Norway: emerging communities? Robbins JA & Matthews JA, Journal of Vegetation Science, 2009, 20, 889-902

Regional variation in successional trajectories and rates on glacier forelands in south-central Norway. Robbins JA & Matthews JA, Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, 2010, 42, 351-361

Peatland conservation

Changes in water colour between 1986 and 2006 in the headwaters of the River Nidd, Yorkshire, UK: a critique of methodological approaches and measurement of burning management. Yallop, AR, Clutterbuck B, Thacker J, Biogeochemistry, 2011, DOI 10.1007/s10533-011-9628-5

Land management as a factor controlling dissolved organic carbon release from upland peat soils 2: Changes in DOC productivity over four decades. Clutterbuck B & Yallop AR, Science of the Total Environment, 2010, 408 (24), 6179-6191

Increases in humic dissolved organic carbon (hDOC) export from upland peat catchments: the role of temperature, declining sulphur deposition and changes in land management. Yallop AR, Clutterbuck B, Thacker J, Climate Research, CR Special 22 ‘Climate change and the British Uplands’, 2010, DOI:10.3354/cr0884

Vulnerability of upland peatland services to climate change. House J, Clark C, Gallego-Sala A, Orr H, Aylen J, Bardgett R, Billett M, Bonn A, Caporn S, Chapman S, Clutterbuck B, Evans C, Evans M, Farewell T, Freeman C, Grayson R, Hall J, Holden J, McMorrow J, Milledge D, Nayak D, Ostle N, Parry L, Prentice C, Stevens C, Smith J, Smith P, Vanguelova E, Ward S, Waldron S, White S, Worrall F, Yallop A, Environment Agency Science Report SC070036/SR, 2010

Blanket peat erosion and sediment yield in a southern Pennine upland reservoir catchment. Yeloff DE, Labadz JC, Hunt, C O, Higgitt DL and Foster IDL, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2005, 30, 717-733

The suitability of south Pennine (UK) reservoirs as archives of recent environmental change. Yeloff DE, Labadz JC and Hunt CO, Journal of Palaeolimnology, 2005, 34 (3), 339-348

Biodiversity conservation

Identifying indicators of illegal behaviour: carnivore killing in human-managed landscapes . St. John, Edwards-Jones, Keane, Jones, Yarnell and Jones, Proc. R. Soc. B, 2011

Comparative Efficacy of Sign Surveys, Spotlighting and Audio Playbacks in a Landscape-Scale Carnivore Survey. Thorn, Green, Bateman, Cameron, Yarnell and Scott, South African Journal of Wildlife Research, 2010, 40 (1), 77 - 86

An assessment of diet overlap of two mesocarnivores in the North-West Province, South Africa. van der Merwe, Tambling, Thorn, Scott, Yarnell, Green, Cameron and Bateman, African Zoology, 2009, 44 (2), 288-291

The effect of fire induced habitat modification on short-snouted sengi (Elephantulus brachyrhynchus) behaviour. Yarnell, Metcalfe, Dunstone, Burnside and Scott, African Zoology, 2008, 43 (1), 45-52

Characterization of 38 microsatellite loci in the European blackbird, Turdus merula (Turdidae, AVES). Simeoni M, Dawson DA, Gentle LK, Coiffait L, Wolff K, Evans KL, Gaston KJ & Hatchwell BJ, Molecular Ecology Resources, 2009, 9(6), 1520-1526.

Characterisation of spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) microsatellite loci. Wilhelm K, Dawson DA, Gentle LK, Horsefield GF, Scholtterer C, Greig C, East M, Hofer H, Tautz D & Burke T, Molecular Ecology Notes, 2003, 3, 360-362.

Microsatellite loci in the crested newt (Triturus cristatus) and their utility in other newt taxa. Krupa AP, Jehle R, Dawson, DA, Gentle LK, Gibbs M, Arntzen JW & Burke T, Conservation Genetics, 2002, 3, 85-87.

The effects of altering perceived predation risk on the fat reserves of wild Great Tits, Parus major. Gentle LK & Gosler AG Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, 2001, 268, 487-491.

Conditioning pigeons to discriminate naturally lit insect specimens. Green PR, Gentle LK, Peake TM, Scudamore RE, McGregor PK, Gilbert F & Dittrich WH, Behavioural Processes, 1999, 46, 97-102.

Environmental management

Sewage Sludge In Europe And In The Uk: Environmental Impact And Improved Standards For Recycling And Recovery To Land. Di Bonito M, Environmental Geochemistry - Site Characterization, Data Analysis And Case Histories, 2008, 251-286

Overview Of Selected Soil Pore Water Extraction Methods For The Determination Of Potentially Toxic Elements In Contaminated Soils: Operational And Technical Aspects. Di Bonito M, Young S, Crout N, Breward N et al, Environmental Geochemistry - Site Characterization, Data Analysis And Case Histories, 2008, 213-249

The Sustainability Choice Space As A Tool In Sustainability Impact Assessment. Di Bonito M, Haines-Young R, Potchin M, Degroot RS et al, at Sustainability Impact Assessment: Tools for Environmental, Social and Economic Effects of Multifunctional Land Use in European Regions conference, 2009

Sustainability Choice Space And Group Valuation In Sustainability Impact Assessment.Tools To Contrast Desk Assessment With Stakeholder Preferences. Di Bonito M, De Groot RS, Potchin M, Haines-Young R at, Brussel, Belgie :2009 SENSOR Final Conference on Sustainability Impact Assessment Tools, University Foundation, 22-24th April 2009

Shadow woodlands

Big Moor Shadow woodlands: rowans, hawthorns and clarions, Trees Beyond the Wood Conference, Sheffield Hallam University (2012)

A proposed astronomically aligned monolith at Gardom’s Edge , Megalithic Portal Derbyshire Conference, A. Alder & D Brown (2012)

A virtual fieldtrip – Supporting fieldtrips during lectures , Nottingham Trent University, College of Arts and Science, 1st Annual Learning and teaching Conference, Dr D Brown & A Alder (2011)

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