Lancaster University

Why does C4 photosynthesis rarely evolve in trees?


C4 photosynthesis is an ultra-efficient mode plant physiology that is used by our most productive food and bioenergy crops, including maize, sugarcane, and miscanthus. It has evolved independently in nearly 70 plant lineages. Despite these multiple evolutions, C4 photosynthesis is extremely rare in trees, having only been documented in a handful of tree species in […]

Read More

Tracing environmental impacts associated with hydrocarbon production with novel geochemical techniques


With recent government green light for Lancashire fracking, concerns have arisen over the potential environmental impacts associated with drilling and shale gas production. One issue is whether fracking would introduce elevated hydrocarbon gas levels in drinking-water wells in the area of fracking. Several studies suggest that shale gas drilling leads to fugitive gas contamination in […]

Read More

Street-scale modelling of air quality in Beijing: Explaining spatial variability and assessing human exposure


Air pollution is a major problem in many parts of the world, and is particularly acute in countries with rapidly developing economies such as China. Urban air pollution has a major impact on human health, but small-scale variability in pollutant sources makes assessment of human exposure difficult. Understanding this variability is important for quantifying the […]

Read More

Sources, transfer and fate of microplastics in the Arctic marine environment


Contamination of the world’s oceans by plastic waste is of growing international concern. The presence of persistent microplastic particles in very remote environments like the Arctic demonstrates the far-reaching effects of pollution arising in temperate regions. Currently, the key sources of microplastics (from both outside and within the Arctic) and their subsequent behaviour and impact […]

Read More

Mountain soil resilience to land-use and climate extremes

Can our upland landscapes provide clean drinking water, store carbon, maintain biodiversity, act as a platform for leisure activities and provide a rural economy around grazing all whilst coping with the increasing pressures of climate change? Our mountainous regions are clearly under many, sometimes conflicting, demands, and this has led to a substantial degradation in […]

Read More

Implications of coral reef degradation for fisheries

Around six million people fish on coral reefs, and the fish they catch provide critical sources of protein, micronutrients and income for many millions more. However, coral reefs have been greatly degraded by local human pressures and global climate change. With reef degradation escalating it is essential to know how coral reef condition influences associated […]

Read More

Climate change impacts on cold-adapted butterflies: discovering the mechanisms and testing potential mitigation approaches

Cold-adapted species, including those restricted to mountains, are highly vulnerable to climate change. For UK butterflies, cold-adapted species are similarly threated by climate changemediated decline, with some species demonstrating range retractions concurrent with recent warming. Consequently, upland species are becoming a priority for many conservation organisations both in the UK and globally. However, developing adaptation […]

Read More

Optimal Resilience in Distribution Networks

All enquiries to Dr Andrew Jarvis (

In both nature and society, distribution networks are fundamental, facilitating the exchange of materials, energy and information. As systems evolve, these networks become complex leading to fragile systems at significant risk of failure. Rail networks are a classic example of this, where timetable pressures amplify the effects of mechanical failure, spikes in demand and adverse […]

Read More