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Research degrees
Research areas
Ecosystems and sustainability
Climate change and ecosystem services

Climate change and ecosystem services

Earth’s climate system is intimately associated with processes in the oceans, feedbacks with the biosphere and astronomical influences. Superimposed upon these interactions is the increasingly important role played by humans in modifying Earth’s radiative balance and other components of the Earth system through, for example, nutrient enrichment and land use change. Our research seeks to monitor and quantify climate related change for a range of Earth’s systems, while increasing predictive capability through the development of Earth system models of intermediate complexity.

These models are informed by proxies of past environmental change and are integrated with economic models so that the services ecosystems offer to humans may be quantified. Investigations into other aspects of ecosystem services are also carried out at a more local scale, including assessments of the carbon contained within ecosystems and the flood-alleviation potential of river floodplain meadows. There is a strong focus on quantifying exchanges of elements between various ecosystem reservoirs.

Qualifications available

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Research degree Fees.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) or an appropriate first degree and postgraduate qualification.

Potential research projects

We encourage enquiries from prospective students on any aspect of climate change, ecosystem services and environmental science. Lists of postgraduate research projects likely to be available will become available towards the end of the year.

Current/recent research projects

  • The contribution of trees to ecosystem greenhouse-gas budgets
  • Ecosystems services of floodplain meadows
  • Integrating models of intermediate complexity with economic models
  • Ecosystem services of pollinators
  • Dynamic vegetation modelling

Potential supervisors


Scientists sampling water on beach

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Michelle Aitken
Email: STEM-EEES-PhD-Admin
Phone: +44 (0)1908 332943