Rob Mortimer

Robert Mortimer


School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

Staff Group(s)
Heads of School


Dean of the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences.

Professor Mortimer is an environmental geochemist specialising in the cycling of nutrients, iron, sulphur and trace metals in the environment.

Career overview

Prior to joining NTU, Professor Mortimer was Head of the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds. He joined Leeds as a postdoc in 1994 and worked his way up to Lecturer (2000), Senior Lecturer (2006), and then Professor of Environmental Geochemistry (2012). Professor Mortimer holds a BSc (first-class honours) in Mining Geology from Imperial College, a PhD in Iron Biogeochemistry from the University of Reading and a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education from the University of Leeds.

Research areas

Professor Mortimer is an environmental geochemist interested in biogeochemical processes in sediments and their impact on water quality. His research spans a wide range of different problems and environments but the common theme is the use of innovative high resolution sampling and laboratory microcosm techniques. Ongoing / recent research includes:

  • Phosphorus delivery to the oceans via dust
  • Phosphorus dynamics in rivers and wetlands
  • Sulfur and metal cycling in peat bogs
  • The role of bed sediments in controlling in-stream nutrient concentrations in rivers
  • The impact of river chemistry and suspended sediment on natural ecology and invading populations
  • The complexities of cycling of N, Mn, Fe and S in marine, estuarine, and freshwater sediments and wetlands
  • The impact of climate change on the dynamics of sediment redox and biogeochemical processes
  • Biogeochemistry of contaminant metals (chromium, uranium, technetium, lead, zinc, copper)
  • Use of biogeochemistry to remediate nutrient and metal pollution in contaminated environments
  • The use of DET and DGT gel technology to make innovative measurements of the biogeochemistry of aquatic sediments.

Opportunities to carry out research in the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences exist and further information may be obtained from the NTU Graduate School.

External activity

Professor Mortimer is a member of the NERC Peer Review College and an Assessor for the Australian Research Council. He is also a Fellow of the Geological Society of London and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Sponsors and collaborators

Professor Mortimer has received >£0.8M research funding to date, from:


Mobilisation of arsenic from bauxite residue (red mud) affected soils: Effect of pH and redox conditions. Lockwood CL, Mortimer RJG, Stewart DI, Mayes WM, Peacock CL, Polya DA, Lythgoe PR, Lehoux AP, Gruiz K and Burke IT, Applied Geochemistry, 2015, 51, 268-277

Impact of suspended inorganic particles on phosphorus cycling in the Yellow River (China). Pan G, Krom  MD, Zhang  M, Zhang X, Wang L, Dai L, Sheng Y and Mortimer RJG, Environmental Science and Technology, 2013, 47, 9685-9692

Behaviour of aluminium, arsenic and vanadium during the neutralisation of red mud leachate by HCl, gypsum, or seawater.Burke IT, Peacock CL, Lockwood CL, Stewart DI, Mortimer RJG, Ward MB, Renforth P, Gruiz K and Mayes WM, Environmental Science and Technology, 2013, 47, 6527-6535

Predatory functional response and prey choice identify predation differences between native/invasive and parasitised/unparasitised crayfish. Haddaway NR, Wilcox RH, Heptonstall REA, Griffiths HM, Mortimer RJG, Christmas M and Dunn AM, PLoS ONE, 2012, 7 (2), e32229

Experimental evidence for rapid biotic and abiotic reduction of Fe(III) at low temperatures in salt marsh sediments: a possible mechanism for formation of modern sedimentary siderite concretions. Mortimer RJG, Galsworthy AMJ, Bottrell SH, Wilmot LE, Newton RJ, Sedimentology, 2011, 58, 1514-1529

Internal loading of phosphorus in a sedimentation pond of a treatment wetland: effect of a phytoplankton crash. Palmer-Felgate EJ, Mortimer RJG, Krom MD, Jarvie HP, Williams RJ and Stratford CJ, Science of the Total Environment, 2011, 409, 2222-2232

Impact of point-source pollution on phosphorus and nitrogen cycling in stream-bed sediments. Palmer-Felgate EJ, Mortimer RJG, Krom MD, Jarvie HP, Environmental Science & Technology, 2010, 44 (3), 908-914

Concentration, sulfur isotopic composition and origin of organo-sulfur compounds in pore-waters of a highly polluted raised peatland. Bottrell SH, Hatfield D, Bartlett R and Mortimer RJG, Organic Geochemistry, 2010, 41, 55–62

See all of Robert Mortimer's publications...

Press expertise

  • Water quality
  • Pollution
  • Nutrients in the environment
  • Trace metals in the environment
  • Sediments in rivers, lakes and coastal oceans
  • Saltmarshes and peat bogs
  • Role of bacteria in cycling of nutrients and metals in the environment