Rachel Stubbington

Rachel Stubbington

Associate Professor

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr Rachel Stubbington is:

Career overview

Dr Stubbington has a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Biology from Nottingham Trent University and a PhD in freshwater ecology from Loughborough University (Department of Geography).

Dr Stubbington has been a lecturer at NTU since 2010, and has previously worked as a:

  • Research Assistant on a NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) funded project investigating the response of river invertebrates to drought (Loughborough University, Department of Geography).
  • Ecological Appraisal Assistant at the Environment Agency, a role which included biomonitoring of groups including fish, invertebrates and macrophytes as well as assessing environmental impacts of proposed developments.

Research areas

Dr Stubbington's research interests centre on the responses of freshwater invertebrate communities to flow variability in stream ecosystems. In particular, she is interested in:

  • Resistance and resilience of aquatic invertebrates in temporary streams
  • The hyporheic zone as a refuge for benthic macroinvertebrates
  • Invertebrate community responses to variation in surface flow
  • Effectiveness of methods for sampling hyporheic invertebrates
  • The distribution, spread and impacts of invasive freshwater invertebrates

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate research exist within the areas of conducting projects in the discipline of freshwater ecology, in particular relating to hydrological disturbances and invertebrate community composition. Further information regarding MPhil/PhD study may be obtained from the NTU Graduate School.

External activity

Freshwater Ecology

Dr Stubbington is a member of the EU-funded COST Action CA15113 Science and Management of Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams, including membership of the Management Committee and Steering Group, and leadership of Working Group 4: Biomonitoring of Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams.

She is a Section Editor for the journal Fundamental and Applied Limnology (FAL), and has recently reviewed articles for journals including Aquatic Sciences, FAL, Freshwater Biology, Freshwater Science, Hydrobiologia, Inland Waters, Marine and Freshwater Research, and PLoS One.

Dr Stubbington regularly participates in international conferences, including meetings organised by the Symposium for European Freshwater Sciences and the Society for Freshwater Science.

She is a member of the following organisations:

Dr Stubbington co-supervises PhD student Atish Vadher, based at Loughborough University, and post-doctoral researcher Matthew Hill, based at the University or Worcester.

In collaboration with Environment Agency scientists, Dr Stubbington organised a British Ecological Society Aquatic Ecology Group (BESAG) funded meeting on Temporary Rivers and Streams, held at NTU in 2016.

Bioscience learning and teaching

Dr Stubbington is External Examiner covering Ecology and Environmental Biology provision at the University of Hull. She also acted as the external panel member at a University of Bedfordshire School Review.

She is an active participant in UK bioscience learning and teaching events and has recently contributed to OUP Bioscience Education Summits, a Higher Education Academy STEM conference, and Royal Society of Biology Heads of UK Bioscience (HUBS) meetings.

Sponsors and collaborators

Current and recent collaborators include:

Professor Paul J Wood and Atish Vadher (Loughborough University)

Dr Tory Milner and Dr Matt Hill (University of Worcester)

Dr Thibault Datry (Irstea National Research Institute, France).

Professor Andrew Boulton (University of New England, Australia)

Dr Cath Leigh (Griffith University, Australia).

Dr Russell Death (Massey University, New Zealand)

Dr Marie-Jo Dole-Olivier (Université de Lyon, France).

Prof Diana Galassi (Università degli Studi dell'Aquila, Italy).

Recent research funding has included:


Macroinvertebrate seedbank composition in relation to antecedent duration of drying and multiple wet-dry cycles in a temporary stream. Stubbington R, Wood P J, Gunn J, Little S, Worrall TP, Freshwater Biology, 2016, 61 (8), 1293–1307

How good are Bayesian belief networks for environmental management? A test with multiple stressors in a New Zealand river. Death R G, Death F, Stubbington R, Joy M, van den Belt M, Freshwater Biology, 2015, 60 (11), 2297-2309

Fine sediment reduces vertical migrations of Gammarus pulex (Crustacea: Amphipod) in response to surface water loss. Vadher AN, Stubbington R, Wood P J, Hydrobiologia, 2015, 753 (1), 61-71

Changes in invertebrate assemblage composition in benthic and hyporheic zones during a severe supraseasonal drought. Stubbington R, Boulton A J, Little S, Wood P J, Freshwater Science, 2015, 34 (1), 344-354

The macroinvertebrate seedbank promotes community persistence in temporary rivers across climate zones. Stubbington R, Datry T, 2013, Freshwater Biology, 2013, 58 (6), 1202-1220

Benthic and hyporheic invertebrate community responses to seasonal flow recession in a karst stream. Stubbington R, Wood P J, Reid I, Gunn J, Ecohydrology, 2011 4 (4) 500-511

The response of perennial and temporary headwater stream invertebrate communities to hydrological extremes. Stubbington R, Greenwood A M, Wood P J, Armitage P D, Gunn J, Robertson A L, Hydrobiologia, 2009, 630 (1), 299-312

Low flow controls on benthic and hyporheic macroinvertebrate assemblages during supra-seasonal drought. Stubbington R, Wood P J, Boulton A J, Hydrological Processes, 2009, 23 (15), 2252-2263

See all of Rachel Stubbington's publications...

Press expertise

  • Freshwater ecology and river ecosystems
  • How freshwater invertebrate communities respond to environmental change
  • Climate change and drought-related water loss from perennial and temporary streams