Environmental Sciences Research Institute (ESRI)


The Environmental Sciences Research Institute (ESRI) brings together pure and applied researchers who investigate a range of Earth systems, with an emphasis on those with societal relevance. Examples include research on natural hazards and climate change, as well as human and physical influences in ecological, freshwater, coastal, and maritime systems. Research in the Institute is organised through a series of research groups, each with a particular theme, however we also undertake significant collaborative research between groups and externally. 

Centre for Maritime Archaeology: the Centre’s research is focused on studies of evolving maritime and freshwater cultural landscapes

Coastal Systemsunderstanding the spatial and temporal variability in coastal geomorphology and ecology and the linkages between them; and mechanisms for sustainable coastal management. Main research themes are Processes and Landforms, Marine Ecosystems and Coastal Management.


Freshwater Sciences: to understand the behaviour of rivers and lakes in catchments in order to model their important physicochemical and biological properties. There are three research themes: catchments and river quality, including groundwaters; fate of chemicals in lakes and; lake ecology. 

Geophysics: research into processes in the shallow crust of the Earth. In particular we focus on understanding the science of earthquakes, where and why they start and stop and what controls their timing and size. 

Quaternary Environmental Change: the Quaternary Period is a subdivision of geological time covering approximately the last two million years up to the present day.  The main focus of the Quaternary Environmental Change Research Group is to conduct cutting-edge research on this geological record to help understand the processes of large-scale and long-term global change that occurred during this period.

Human Environments: explores the interconnections between the environment, society and space. The ramifications of environmental change are one of the group’s key priorities and the issues surrounding adaptation, sustainable governance and social justice. Other strands of our research involve and analysis of marginalised groups and divided societies, as well as an exploration of the dynamics of conflict and peacebuilding. 

Terrestrial Ecology: research aims are to understand how local and regional ecological processes influence biodiversity and ecosystem functions and to assess the ecological impacts of environmental change. The topics include plant and animal population ecology, community and ecosystem ecology, insect pest ecology and remote sensing techniques.

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