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Rob Mortimer

Robert Mortimer

Executive Dean

School of Animal Rural & Environmental Sciences

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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 Doctoral 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 ~£1.3M research funding to date, from:


Dickson, U.J., Coffey, M., Mortimer, R.J.G., Di Bonito, M., and Ray, N. (2019). Mycoremediation of petroleum contaminated soils: progress, prospects and perspectives. Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts. v. 21, 1446-1458.

Tang, Y., Bi, L., Mortimer, R.J.G., and Pan, G. (2019). Cryogenic circulation for indoor air pollution control. Science of the Total Environment. v. 651, 1451-1456

Hobson, A.J., Stewart, D.I., Mortimer, R.J.G., Mayes, W.M., Rogerson, M., and Burke, I.T. (2018). Leaching behaviour of co-disposed steel making wastes: Effects of aeration on leachate chemistry and vanadium mobilisation. Waste Management v. 81, 1-10

Herbert, R.J., Krom, M., Carslaw, K.S., Stockdale, A., Mortimer, R.J.G., Benning, L., Pringle, J.K., and Browse, J. (2018). The Effect of Atmospheric Acid Processing on the Global Deposition of Bioavailable Phosphorus from Dust. Global Biogeochemical Cycles v. 32, 1367-1385

Hobson, A.J., Stewart, D.I., Bray, A.W., Mortimer, R.J.G., Mayes, W.M., Riley, A.L., Rogerson, M., Burke, I.T. (2018). Behaviour and fate of vanadium during the aerobic neutralisation of hyperalkaline slag leachate. Science of the Total Environment v. 643, 1191-1199.

Vidal Durà,A., Burke, I.T., Mortimer, R.J.G., and Stewart, D.I. (2018) Microbial biogeography of the Humber Estuary (UK): diversity pattern of benthic bacterial communities along an estuarine salinity continuum. Aquatic Microbial Ecology v. 81, 277-191.

Vidal Durà, A., Burke, I.T., Stewart, D.I., and Mortimer, R.J.G. (2018) Reoxidation of estuarine sediments during simulated resuspension events: Effects on nutrient and trace metal mobilisation. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science v. 207, 40-55

Valencia-Avellan, M., Slack, R., Stockdale, A., Mortimer, R.J.G. (2018). Evaluating water quality and ecotoxicology assessment techniques using data from a lead and zinc effected upland limestone catchment. Water Research v. 128, 49-60.

Valencia-Avellan, M., Slack, R., Stockdale, A., Mortimer, R.J.G. (2018). Effect of episodic rainfall on aqueous metal mobility from historical mine sites. Environmental Chemistry v. 14, 469-475

Valencia-Avellan, M., Slack, R., Stockdale, A., Mortimer, R.J.G. (2017) Understanding the behaviour of metal pollution associated with historical mining in a carboniferous upland catchment. Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts v. 19, 1061-1074.

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