The School has a particular focus on research into the management of land and water for biodiversity conservation and sustainable resource management. The group has a national reputation for its work on peatlands (raised and blanket bogs), on glaciers (in Iceland, Svalbard and Norway) and on reservoir sedimentation. Other specialisms include surface water hydrology, Quaternary sediments (aeolian and glacial), soil erosion, pioneer vegetation, production horticulture, alternatives to peat compost, and the ecology and behaviour of birds, small mammals and invertebrates. There are established research links with Pretoria University and on-going work in South Africa on the conservation of Brown Hyaena and other species.
Research has been funded by a number of external agencies including Natural England, the Environment Agency, DEFRA, WRAP, NERC, the Royal Society, the Mammals Trust, the National Trust, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and Severn Trent Water plc.
Results have been presented at meetings including the British Ecological Society, British Hydrological Society, British Society for Geomorphology, the International Wetland Society and the International Geographical Congress.
The School has a variety of equipment for environmental monitoring and analysis including a GIS suite, two differential Global Positioning Systems (dGPS) for topographic survey, and multiple satellite collars for wildlife tracking. There are well equipped glasshouses and new laboratories for analysis of water, soils and plant material (including laser particle size analysis). There is an automatic weather station and stream monitoring on campus in addition to several instrumented catchments located in the Peak District and in Cumbria.
The team also includes a group specialising in Food Science and Technology.