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Ecology and Conservation

Dr Chris Laing

Dr Chris Laing

Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology

 +44 (0)1326 259337

 Stella Turk Building 133


University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9FE


My work focuses on biogeochemical cycling set in the context of environmental change. In particular I am interested in nutrient cycling in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. A consistent theme of my research has been the cycling of carbon in organic material and its subsequent release, storage and transport. This work has a strong analytical component supported by field and laboratory studies with modeling components.

Since joining the CEC in Cornwall I have developed local research programmes that focus on monitoring the health and diversity of Cornwall's marine environment. Specifically I am working with students, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Cornwall Council to monitor the health and carbon cycling in our local seagrass habitats.

I teach across a range of digital platforms and have recently developed an online course on sustainable food in collaboration with the Eden Project called Food for Thought and a specialist digital platform to host our virtual field course called FieldSite.


MSc in Ecology, PhD in carbon cycling, Senior Fellow of the HEA

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Research interests

My research is focussed on the marine environment around Cornwall, specifically focussing on estimating blue carbon stocks in seagrass primarily but also Maerl, kelp and Salt Marshes, all of which are found in the Fal and Helford SAC. Along with this, I study the environmental pressures that could impact these important ecosystems and how they affect benthic invertebrates and mobile fish species that live within them. My work is primarily field-based and includes dive and snorkel surveys in the UK along with laboratory analyses of carbon stocks in organic matter.

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Journal articles

Patterson C, Laing C, Early R (In Press). The range expansion of Clibanarius erythropus to the UK suggests that other range-shifting intertidal species may not follow. Marine Biology
Walker D, Shutler JD, Morrison EHJ, Harper DM, Hoedjes JCB, Laing CG (2022). Quantifying water storage within the north of Lake Naivasha using sonar remote sensing and Landsat satellite data. Ecohydrology and Hydrobiology, 22(1), 12-20. Abstract.
Patterson C, Slater M, Early R, Laing C (2020). The status of Clibanarius erythropus after a recent range expansion to Great Britain, with the highest latitude recording of a gravid individual. Marine Biodiversity Records, 13(1). Abstract.
Laing CG, Granath G, Belyea LR, Allton KE, Rydin H (2014). Tradeoffs and scaling of functional traits in Sphagnum as drivers of carbon cycling in peatlands. Oikos, 123(7), 817-828. Abstract.
Abbott GD, Swain EY, Muhammad A, Allton KA, Belyea LR, Laing CG, Cowie GR (2013). Effect of water-table fluctuations on the degradation of Sphagnum phenols in surficial peats. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 106, 177-191.
Laing CG, Shreeve TG, Pearce DME (2010). The fine scale variability of dissolved methane in surface peat cores. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 42, 1320-1328.
Laing CG, Shreeve TG, Pearce DME (2008). Methane bubbles in surface peat cores: in situ measurements. Global Change Biology, 14, 1-9.

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External Engagement and Impact


Senior Teaching Fellow ASPIRE

Teaching Award Winner, 2020

External Examiner Positions

Oxford Brookes University-MSc Conservation Ecology

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I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and am the current Director of Education for the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC). Click here to see my profile on the education strategy webpage of the University as an example of multidisciplinary teaching within the ASPIRE framework.

I predominantly teach on the BSc and MSci Marine Biology degree overseeing the boatwork that is integral to this as well as leading The Southwest and Azores field courses. Our teaching intersects with numerious organisations and NGO's locally building on close relationships with Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Cornwall Council, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) and the Marine Biologocal Association (MBA).



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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Nicola Wilson


  • David Walker

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Office Hours:

You can join one of my office hours by coming by my *NEW* office on the top floor of the Stella Turk Building room 133 or calling me on Teams. My office hours starting the on the 29th April until the 24th May are:

Tuesdays at 13:00 

Thursdays at 11:00

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