New Publication: Proglacial lake expansion and glacier retreat in Arctic Sweden

Dr Adrian Dye (Lecturer in Environmental Science, Teesside University) and colleagues report an increase in proglacial lakes in Arctic Sweden as glaciers have retreated. These lakes have grown in size and extent over time, which now form an important store of water (previously unmapped) in mountainous catchments. Some lakes have also enhanced glacier retreat rates… Glacial lakes in the southern region (Sarek) are significantly smaller than those in the northern region (Kebnekaise), so it cannot be assumed that glacial lakes will develop uniformly across an area. More work needs to be done to predict where proglacial lakes are likely to form, particularly where populations currently depend on glaciers for water resources.

Access the publication through the publishers website with this link.

Dr Jamie Bojko’s latest publications

A series of new publications by our very own prolific Dr Jamie Bojko are presented here:

Bojko et al. 2022. Pathology and genetic connectedness of the mangrove crab (Aratus pisonii) – a foundation for understanding mangrove disease ecology.

Bojko et al. 2022. ‘Candidatus Mellornella promiscua’ n. gen. n. sp. (Alphaproteobacteria:
Rickettsiales: Anaplasmataceae): An intracytoplasmic, hepatopancreatic, pathogen of the flatback mud crab, Eurypanopeus depressus.

Stratton et al. 2022. Revising the Freshwater Thelohania to Astathelohania gen. et comb. nov., and Description of Two New Species.

Stratton et al. 2022. The plot thickens: Ovipleistophora diplostomuri infects two additional species of Florida crayfish.

New Output: Unique chemical parameters and microbial activity lead to increased archaeological preservation

Orr, C.H., Williams, R., Halldórsdóttir, H.H. et al. Unique chemical parameters and microbial activity lead to increased archaeological preservation at the Roman frontier site of Vindolanda, UK. Sci Rep 11, 15837 (2021).

Published: 04 August 2021

Abstract: Waterlogged burial conditions impact upon artefact preservation. One major determinant of preservation is presence and behaviour of microorganisms, however, unravelling the mechanisms, especially in waterlogged conditions is challenging. In this study, we analysed elemental composition, bacterial diversity and community structure from excavation trenches at the Roman Site of Vindolanda, Northumberland, UK, using pXRF and 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Excavation trenches provide information of different occupation periods. The results indicated that microbial communities were dominated by Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria at a phylum level. Samples which also had visible vivianite presence showed that there were marked increases in Methylophilus. Methylophilus might be associated with favourable preservation in these anaerobic conditions. More research is needed to clearly link the presence of Methylophilus with vivianite production. The study emphasises the need for further integration of chemical and microbiome approaches, especially in good preservation areas, to explore microbial and chemical degradation mechanisms.

New paper: Heterogeneity enables coexistence of native and invasive aquatic plants

Salgado, J., Sayer, C. D., Willby, N., Baker, A. G., Goldsmith, B., McGowan, S., Davidson, T. A., Bexell, P., Patmore, I. R. & Okamura, B. (2021) Habitat heterogeneity enables spatial and temporal coexistence of native and invasive macrophytes in shallow lake landscapes. River Research and Applications.

First published: 15 July 2021
Macrophyte invasive alien species (IAS) fitness is often hypothesised to be associated with beneficial environmental conditions (environmental matching) or species-poor communities. However, positive correlations between macrophyte IAS abundance and native plant richness can also arise, due to habitat heterogeneity (defined here as variation in abiotic and native biotic conditions over space and time). We analysed survey and palaeoecological data for macrophytes in satellite lakes along the Upper Lough Erne (ULE) system (Northern Ireland, UK), covering a gradient of eutrophication and connectivity to partition how environmental conditions, macrophyte diversity and habitat heterogeneity explained the abundance of Elodea canadensis, a widely distributed non-native macrophyte in Europe. E. canadensis abundance positively correlated with macrophyte richness at both the within- and between-lake scales indicating coexistence of native and invasive species over time. E. canadensis was also more prolific in highly connected and macrophyte-rich lakes, but sparser in the more eutrophic-isolated ones. Partial boosted regression trees revealed that in eutrophic-isolated lakes, E. canadensis abundances correlated with water clarity (negatively), plant diversity (positively), and plant cover (negatively) whereas in diverse-connected lakes, beta diversity (both positively and negatively) related to most greatly E. canadensis abundance. Dense macrophyte cover and unfavourable environmental conditions thus appear to confer invasibility resistance and sufficient habitat heterogeneity to mask any single effect of native biodiversity or environmental matching in controlling E. canadensis abundance. Therefore, in shallow lake landscapes, habitat heterogeneity variously enables the coexistence of native macrophytes and E. canadensis, reducing the often-described homogenisation effects of invasive macrophytes.

Geographies of Comfort

A volume edited by McNally, Price and Crang.

Bringing together conceptual and empirical research from leading thinkers, this book critically examines ‘comfort’ in everyday life in an era of continually occurring social, political and environmental changes.

Comfort and discomfort have assumed a central position in a range of works examining the relations between place and emotion, the senses, affect and materiality. This book argues that the emergence of this theme reflects how questions of comfort intersect humanistic, cultural-political and materialist registers of understanding the world. It highlights how geographies of comfort becomes a timely concern for Human Geography after its cultural, emotional and affective aspects. More specifically, comfort has become a vital theme for work on mobilities, home, environment and environmentalism, sociability in public space and the body. ‘Comfort’ is recognized as more than just a sensory experience through which we understand the world; its presence, absence and pursuit actively make and un-make the world. In light of this recognition, this book engages deeply with ‘comfort’ as both an analytic approach and an object of analysis.

This book offers international and interdisciplinary perspectives that deploys the lens of comfort to make sense of the textures of everyday life in a variety of geographical contexts. It will appeal to those working in human geography, anthropology, feminist theory, cultural studies and sociology.

New Paper: Dung fungal spores for the study of past megaherbivores

Van Asperen, E.N., Perrotti, A., Baker, A. (2020) Coprophilous fungal spores: NPPs for the study of past megaherbivores.

Published online on Dec. 2020 /Jan. 2021

This publication, lead by my colleague Eline van Asperen, will be an invaluable resources to scholars researching past populations of megharbivores or other aspects of palaeoeology using non-pollen palynomorphs, whether be it for the MSc dissertation, PhD, postdoc or at any point of their career. It is supplemented by an open-access key to the identification of dung fungal spores, which supersedes that previously provided on this blog (but some may find useful to still have access to both!):


Spores from coprophilous fungi are some of the most widely used non-pollen palynomorphs. Over the last decades, these spores have become increasingly important as a proxy to study the Pleistocene and Holocene megafauna. Although the number of types used in palaeoecology is relatively small, there is a wide range of coprophilous fungal taxa whose utility in palaeoenvironmental reconstruction remains under-researched. However, environmental and taphonomic factors influencing preservation and recovery of these spores are still poorly understood. Furthermore, our understanding of whether and how spores are transported across the landscape is limited.

Dung fungal spore presence appears to correlate well with megaherbivore presence. However, depending on the site, some limitations can remain to quantitative reconstructions of megaherbivore abundance from dung fungal spore records. The presence of dung fungal spores is often more significant than their absence and variation in in abundance with time should be interpreted with caution. Correlation with other proxies may provide a promising way forward.

The majority of studies using dung fungal spores as an indicator for large herbivore abundance are of records of Late Pleistocene and Holocene age, with a focus on Late Quaternary megafaunal extinction. However, more research could potentially extend records further back in time.

A novel nudivirus infecting the invasive demon shrimp Dikerogammarus haemobaphes (Amphipoda)

Dr Jamie Bojko at the National Horizons Centre (Teesside University), and colleagues at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (Cefas) and the University of Florida, have found and described a new DNA virus. The Nudiviridae are a family of large double-stranded DNA viruses that infect the cells of the gut in invertebrates, including insects and crustaceans. The phylogenetic range of the family has recently been enhanced via the description of viruses infecting penaeid shrimp, crangonid shrimp, homarid lobsters and portunid crabs. Here we extend this by presenting the genome of another nudivirus infecting the amphipod Dikerogammarus haemobaphes. The virus, which infects cells of the host hepatopancreas, has a circular genome of 119,754 bp in length, and encodes a predicted 106 open reading frames. This novel virus encodes all the conserved nudiviral genes (sharing 57 gene homologues with other crustacean-infecting nudiviruses) but appears to lack the p6.9 gene. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that this virus branches before the other crustacean-infecting nudiviruses and shares low levels of gene/protein similarity to the Gammanudivirus genus. Comparison of gene synteny from known crustacean-infecting nudiviruses reveals conservation between Homarus gammarus nudivirus and Penaeus monodon nudivirus; however, three genomic rearrangements in this novel amphipod virus appear to break the gene synteny between this and the ones infecting lobsters and penaeid shrimp. We explore the evolutionary history and systematics of this novel virus, suggesting that it be included in the novel Epsilonnudivirus genus (Nudiviridae).

New output : A new holistic framework for inter-basin water transfer schemes

Sinha P, Rollason E, Bracken LJ, Wainwright J, Reaney SM. 2020. A new framework for integrated, holistic, and transparent evaluation of inter-basin water transfer schemes. Science of the Total Environment.

Water shortages are forecast to affect 50% of the world’s population by 2030, impacting developing nations most acutely. To increase water security there has been a significant increase in Inter-basin Water Transfer (IBWT) schemes, engineering mega-projects that redistribute water from one basin to another. However, the implementation of these schemes is often contested, and evaluation of their complex impacts inadequate, or hidden from full public scrutiny. There is an urgent need to develop more integrated, holistic, and transparent ways of evaluating the multiple interlinking impacts of IBWT schemes of this scale. In this paper, we address this gap by outlining an experimental methodology to evaluate IBWT schemes using a multidisciplinary and transparent methodology which utilises publicly available data. We illustrate the method using a case study from the Inter-Linking Rivers Project in Northern India, comparing the results of the experimental approach against the official analysis of the proposed scheme produced by the State Government of Jharkhand. The results demonstrate that the proposed experimental method allows more detailed evaluation of spatial and temporal variability in water availability and demand, as well as holistic evaluation of the functioning of the proposed scheme under different future scenarios. Based on these results we propose a flexible framework for future evaluation of proposed water transfer schemes which embeds the principles of integrated assessment, transparency, and sound science which can be adapted to other IBWT projects across the world

New Output: Zinc release from seaweed (Fucus serratus) as soil amendment

D. A. Oluwadare, H. E. Carney, M. H. Sarker, C. J. Ennis, 2020. Kinetics of water-extractable zinc release from seaweed (Fucus serratus) as soil amendment. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science. 183, 136–143. DOI: 10.1002/jpln.201900398

First published: 07 February 2020


Soil fertilization with trace-metal rich organic fertilizers such as Fucus serratus seaweed may be an effective way to combat micronutrient deficiency. In this study the kinetics of zinc release from Fucus serratus seaweed was investigated in a packed soil column leaching experiment over 1,776 h. The release of zinc from control (soil only) and treatment (soil + seaweed; equivalent zinc application rate of 1.42 kg ha−1) columns, measured by ICP-MS, demonstrated two distinct release stages. The cumulative zinc release data for each phase were fitted to five kinetic models: zero order, first order, Elovich, power function and parabolic diffusion. In the first stage (0–400 hours) the release of zinc from both control and treatment was best described by a parabolic rate law, indicating release of zinc from a soluble soil reservoir. In the second stage (400–1,776 h) zinc release followed a zero order rate law indicative of slow release from an essentially insoluble reservoir. The modelled difference between the amount of zinc released from treatment and control columns in stage 1 (230 ± 11 µg) represented the total amount of zinc added via seaweed. The parabolic rate constant for seaweed zinc release was 12.09 µg g−1 h−0.5. In summary, the addition of F. serratus to soil is a viable source of labile zinc and a low cost agronomic option for mitigating zinc deficiency in soils.