1982 …2020

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

In my research group we work on various aspects of the structure and functioning of freshwater, estuarine and marine ecosystems with a particular focus on microbial ecology.  Algae and cyanobacteria occupy a pivotal position at the base of many food chains. However, dominance by particular species can also be detrimental.  Of particular interest are those species living in extreme conditions, often termed extremophiles such as those living in highly polluted waterbodies, or those existing at extremes of temperature and pH.  We seek to understand the factors that lead to dominance and bloom formation of certain species, whilst also gaining insight into methods for controlling their growth where required.

Topics currently being pursued include:


  • Microbial community succession and metabolic pathways from ice to vegetated soils in response to glacial retreat

  • The role of ice algae in ice sheet melt in Greenland.
  • Impacts of ocean acidifcation on coralline algae

  • Taste and ddours in drinking water reservoirs

  • Ecotoxicology: impacts of anthropogenic stressors including heavy metals, pesticides and nanoparticles on the structure and functioning of biota in aquatic ecosystems.  

  • Using benthic diatoms to develop a predictive tool to measure ecological status in rivers and lakes

  • Control of cyanobacteria in drinking water reservoirs


Clear water macrophyte dominated lake


Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Cabot Institute Water Research
  • Cabot Institute Environmental Change Research

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Research Output

  • 47 Article (Academic Journal)
  • 3 Commissioned report
  • 3 Chapter in a book
  • 1 Conference Paper

Algal photophysiology drives darkening and melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet

Williamson, C. J., Cook, J., Tedstone, A., Yallop, M., McCutcheon, J., Poniecka, E., Campbell, D., Irvine-Fynn, T., McQuaid, J., Tranter, M., Perkins, R. & Anesio, A., 17 Mar 2020, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 117, 11, p. 5694-5705 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Open Access
  • 86 Downloads (Pure)

    Glacier algae accelerate melt rates on the western Greenland Ice Sheet

    Cook, J., Tedstone, A. J., Williamson, C. J., McCutcheon, J., Hodson, A., Dayal, A., Skiles, M., Hofer, S., Bryant, R., McAree, O., McGonigle, A., Ryan, J., Anesio, A. M. B., Irvine-Fynn, T., Hubbard, A., Hanna, E., Flanner, M., Mayanna, S., Benning, L. G., van As, D. & 4 others, Yallop, M. L., McQuaid, JB., Gribbin, T. & Tranter, M., 29 Jan 2020, In : Cryosphere. 14, 1, p. 309-330 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access
  • 7 Citations (Scopus)
    148 Downloads (Pure)

    Photosynthesis and crop productivity are enhanced by glucose-functionalized carbon dots

    Swift, T., Fagan, D., Benito-Alifonso, D., Hill, S. A., Yallop, M. L., Lawson, T., Oliver, T. A. A., Galan, M. C. & Whitney, H. M., 19 Aug 2020, In : New Phytologist.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access