Professor David Ryves

PhD (University College London)

  • Professor of Environmental Change

Academic Career

2014 –: Reader in Environmental Change, Loughborough University.
2008 – 2014: Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, Loughborough University. 
2004 – 2008: Lecturer in Physical Geography, Loughborough University. 
1998 – 2003: Post-doctoral Project Researcher, Geological Survey of Denmark & Greenland (GEUS), Copenhagen, Denmark. 
1995 – 1998: Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Environmental Change Research Centre (ECRC), UCL.
Loughborough University Tutor of the Year, 2015.

Professional Responsibilities

  1. Guest Editor for Special Issue of Quaternary International in 2019/2020 on Quaternary Eurasian freshwater ecosystems: a paleoclimate, paleolandscapes and biostratigraphical approach (IF = 2.163).
  2. Associate Editor for Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (Paleoecology section), 2017.
  3. Editorial board member for Quaternary.
  4. Editorial board member for Hydrology.
  5. 2011 – 2015: External examiner for physical geography undergraduate degree programme and MSc Dissertations, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland.
  6. Loughborough University Point of Contact for CENTA (the Central England NERC Training Alliance) DTP2, 2016.

David is quantitative palaeoecologist, specialising in the study of diatoms (siliceous microalgae) in a wide range of aquatic environments from inland freshwater and saline lakes, to coastal fjords and lagoons. His main research interest lies in using sediment records from lakes, fjords and estuaries to explore the nature of past environmental change under changing climatic regimes and cultural impacts. Key research interests focus on a long-term perspective on the development, variability and response of aquatic environments and nutrient cycles (Si, C, P) to both natural and anthropogenic drivers (e.g. eutrophication) on inland and coastal systems. As well as in the UK, he has worked on sites in North America, Italy, Denmark, Greenland, Siberia (Lake Baikal) and eastern Africa (Uganda, Ethiopia) supported by funding including from NERC, the Leverhulme Trust, NSF, Danida and the Carlsberg Foundation.

One theme running through his research is the critical analysis of palaeoenvironmental data and methodologies. He is especially interested in the transformation of living diatom communities to fossil assemblages, using limnological monitoring, sediment traps and experimental study data to inform and improve palaeoenvironmental inferences. More recent NERC-funded research has focussed on testing the application of stable isotopes in diatom silica (18O and 30Si) as proxies for lake hydrology and productivity; and changes in the marine environment over key periods in the Holocene, including a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust combining archaeological and environmental science in Danish Baltic coastal sites to test hypotheses concerning human diet and patterns of subsistence.

David's teaching focusses on the hydrology of lakes and rivers, with more specialised modules in lake system dynamics, environmental change and palaeoecology (the study of past ecosystems, and especially lakes: palaeolimnology).

Current Postgradute Research Students

  • James Champkin (2019-) "Spawning habitat characteristics of lithophilic fish – using experimental approaches to inform river restoration" (CENTA2 NERC studentship; co-supervisor)
  • Amy Gray (2018-) "Glacial impacts on lacustrine ecology, geophysical systems and pollutant chemistry in the high arctic" (CENTA NERC studentship; co-supervisor)
  • Tessa Driessen (2017-) "Tropical lake ecosystems in the Anthropocene: quantifying recent human impacts on biogeochemical cycling and biodiversity" (CENTA NERC studentship; main supervisor)
  • Keechy Akkerman (2016-) "Aquatic ecosystem response to changing ice margin dynamics of the Greenland ice sheet"  (CENTA NERC studentship; co-supervisor)
  • Chris Jones (2016-) "Diatom community dynamics: assessing the impacts of hydrology, climate change and pollution for sustainable water resource management" (Funded by: Loughborough University Changing Environments and Infrastructure Challenge; main supervisor)

Recent Postgraduate Research Students

  • Chris Hatcher (2019) "Effect of resource availability on phenotypic expression and fitness correlates in carnivorous plants" (Funded by: Loughborough University Changing Environments and Infrastructure Challenge; co-supervisor)
  • Alan Radbourne (2018) "Disentangling the effects of nutrient enrichment and climatic forcing as key drivers of change at Rostherne Mere" (CENTA NERC studentship: main supervisor)
  • Laura van der Sluis (2017) "Stories of subsistence: People and Coast over the last 6000 years in the Limfjord, Denmark" (Student is based at Queen’s University Belfast, supervised by Prof Paula Reimer; funded by Leverhulme Foundation as part of Leverhulme Research Project Grant, see above; co-supervisor)
  • Katie Loakes (2015) "Late Holocene palaeolimnology and environmental change in south-west Ethiopia" (co-supervisor: Prof. N.J. Anderson). (Funded by: Loughborough University Graduate School Studentship; main supervisor)
  • Matthew Hill (2014) "Ephemeral ponds and pools as biodiversity hotspots in the English Midlands" (Funded by: Loughborough University Development Fund; main supervisor: Dr. P.J. Wood; co-supervisor)