A pdf copy of my CV is available on request.

Click here for selected publications and conference presentations.

Dr Mike Whitfield

Email: mgwhitfield[at]      @mgwhitfield



PhD: ‘Peatland diversity and carbon dynamics’. Dr N.J. Ostle (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster), Dr. R.R.E. Artz (James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen), Prof R.D. Bardgett (Lancaster University)

  • Research focuses on the contribution of plant-soil interactions to carbon storage and fluxes at the landscape scale within the peatland ecosystem at Moor House NNR, North Pennines, UK
  • Combining biogeochemistry with spatially explicit sampling and modelling, to quantify carbon dynamics and upscale to the landscape scale, utilising remote sensing approaches
  • Data collection ranges from the molecular to the landscape scale


BSc (Hons) Geography: 1st class, University of Southampton

  • Dissertation: ‘“Over the hills and far away”: a GIS approach to modelling alpine plant distributions’
  • Special recognition for high marks at the end of 1st and 2nd years from Head of School


Wootton Bassett School 6th Form; 4 ‘A’ levels (A, A, A and B)

  • Special awards for achievement in Geography and English Literature


September 2015 –

Development Coordinator, New Phytologist

  • I coordinate the New Phytologist Trust’s promotional activities and manage the social media portfolio, developing effective and innovative initiatives for promoting the journal, New Phytologist, increasing engagement with and disseminating research throughout the plant science community.
  • I oversee the ongoing development of org, work closely with production staff and marketing colleagues at Wiley to coordinate press releases and marketing campaigns, help to run a symposia series, draft press releases, interview scientists, and determine the New Phytologist Trust’s outreach strategy.
  • Recent initiatives include developing a ggplot2 theme and a LaTeX template for authors.

July 2013 – August 2015

Postdoctoral Research Fellow: ‘Scaling soil processes to the national level’, School of Botany, Trinity College Dublin

  • I worked with three models (DailyDayCent, DNDC and ECOSSE) to determine which model is the best least-worst for modelling greenhouse gas emissions from a range of agricultural land uses
  • The aim of this project was to produce a map describing Ireland’s agricultural greenhouse gas emissions

June 2013

Academic Associate, The Higher Education Academy

  • With a brief to collate existing and develop new careers resources for prospective Environmental Science students, I conducted interviews to produce inspiring case studies featuring Environmental Scientists. I built a website to host these, and other collated resources, at

December 2012 – May 2013

Research Associate in Novel Knowledge Exchange Approaches for Sustainable Agriculture, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University

  • I worked in a small team as part of the NERC Sustainable Food Production Knowledge Exchange Programme, summarising scientific literature to produce a synopsis of key problems and solutions for sustainable soil management in agriculture
  • My excellent inter-personal and time management skills were ideally suited to the strongly collaborative nature of this project, which also involved attending and organising workshops

November 2012 – April 2013

Outreach Coordinator, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University

  • My objective in this role was to find innovative, exciting and effective means to communicate with undergraduate students interested in the Environmental Sciences, and improve recruitment in this area at Lancaster Environment Centre
  • Excellent inter-personal skills and a proactive approach essential in coordinating cross-departmental outreach efforts

April-November 2012

Research Associate in Plant-Soil Interactions, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University

  • This position focused on the role of hay meadow biodiversity in regulating stocks and flows of carbon and nitrogen, and the maintenance of ecosystem services that they underpin
  • Responsibilities included the design, establishment, early-stage monitoring and sampling of a large-scale field experiment, and effective liaison with project partners and local farmers

July-September 2008

Ecosystem Surveyor, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster

  • Worked in a small team using a GIS-based approach to surveying the ecosystem at Moor House NNR
  • Quickly developed ability to recognise and confidently identify a large number of upland plant species
  • Responsibility and initiative required for working on largely self-paced project in frequently difficult conditions in an isolated environment

March 2007 – January 2008

Critical evaluation of ESRI ArcGIS 9.2 introductory course, GeoData Institute, University of Southampton

  • Critical evaluation of ‘Introduction to GIS’ course offered by the Institute to delegates on a professional basis
  • Flexibility and efficient time management required in self-disciplined role

Key Skills

  • Broad range of fieldwork techniques, including ecological surveys and trace gas measurement. Experience in leading teams on high-intensity measurement campaigns in remote environments
  • Fully competent in the laboratory, undertaking trace gas analysis and analysis of soil properties
  • Microbial community profiling using PLFA and M-TRFLP approaches
  • Adept at a variety of statistical analyses, using R for advanced techniques including multivariate analyses of community structure, mixed effects modelling, multiple regression and programming
  • Spatial analysis and modelling using geostatistical approaches in R
  • Organisation and time management demonstrated in running a long-term PhD fieldwork campaign, managing volunteers and sample analysis alongside working remotely in Aberdeen, to ensure milestones were met
  • I have used my leadership skills for safely managing teams of fieldwork volunteers in remote locations, ensuring high-quality data collection. My participation in the Environment YES entrepreneurial competition provided me with an opportunity to demonstrate effective teamwork skills.

Outreach and engagement

February 2013 –

Deputy Secretary, Plants-Soils-Ecosystems, British Ecological Society

  • As a founding member, I have a major role on the committee of this special interest group, working with other committee members outside of work hours to develop the group as a focal point of interaction and engagement for people with an interest in how plants and soils interact to shape our environment.
  • I am responsible for overseeing the group’s blog ( and social media channels, and co-organising conferences.

October 2013 – August 2015

Active contributor to ‘NERD Club’, an interdisciplinary group of postgraduate students and staff in the School of Natural Science at Trinity College Dublin. Included running interactive group workshops on organising small meetings, programming in R, and hosting external speakers for the School’s Ecology and Evolution seminar series.

February 2012 – September 2013

Associate Faculty Member, F1000 Ecology

  • Critically reviewing relevant literature with the Soil and Ecosystem Ecology group at Lancaster University, and submitting evaluations to Faculty of 1000

May 2011

2020Vision record research at Moor House NNR

  • Personally arranged and hosted a visit from the 2020Vision initiative to document research at Moor House NNR, leading to publication online

April 2010 – September 2011

Student representative, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster and Biodiversity and Global Change theme, Lancaster University

  • Acted as a point of contact for research students, raising issues as appropriate with senior staff and organising the annual CEH Student Seminar

March 2009

‘Climate Change and the Carbon Conundrum’, Lancaster High School

  • 30 minute practical session working with year 10 students to identify links between climate change and the carbon cycle

Awards and Esteem

October 2011

Shortlisted for Guardian / Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize

  • Shortlisted from 800 entries for newspaper-style article on the importance of peatlands, for a general audience. Published online.

March 2011

Awarded annual prize for best talk at the James Hutton Institute annual student seminar day

September 2010

Awarded British Society for Soil Science grant funding for presenting at Organic Matter Stabilisation and Ecosystem Functions’ conference

Membership of professional organisations

Other qualifications

  • Full, clean car driving licence with Pass Plus accreditation, valid from October 2006
  • Off-road 4×4 driving skills (course completed at CEH, Lancaster, 2008)

Click here for selected publications and conference presentations.