Dr Thomas Stanton

BSc, MRes, PhD, FHEA

Pronouns: He/him
  • AXA Research Fund Fellow

Tom is an AXA Research Fund Fellow investigating the environmental prevalence, pathways, and impacts of material pollution, with a focus on aquatic environments.

Academic Career

  • 2022 – present: AXA Research Fund Fellow, Loughborough University
  • 2022: Vice Chancellor’s independent Research Fellow, Loughborough University
  • 2021 – 2022: Assistant Professor in Freshwater Science, University of Nottingham School of Geography
  • 2020 – 2021: Lecturer in Environmental Science, Nottingham Trent University School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Science
  • 2019 – 2020: Research Associate, University of Nottingham Faculty of Engineering
  • 2016 – 2020: Sir Francis Hill PhD Scholar, University of Nottingham School of Geography

Professional Responsibilities

  1. Guest Editor for the Textile Fiber Pollution from Source to Sink special issue in Frontiers in Environmental Science
  2. Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  3. Scientific advisor for Planet Patrol

Tom’s research focusses on characterising the nature and impacts of anthropogenic materials in aquatic environments.

His AXA Fellowship is investigating the prevalence and impacts of natural textile fibres (e.g. cotton and wool) relative to their plastic analogues (e.g. polyester and nylon) in contemporary aquatic environments and aquatic sediment records. Tom is also Co-Investigator on IMPACT+, an interdisciplinary UKRI Circular Fashion and Textiles Network Plus programme working with designers, forensic scientists, and environmental scientists to inform a more sustainable fashion and textiles future. Tom leads a Discipline Hopping work package for IMPACT+

Alongside his fellowship, Tom leads a programme of research investigating the anthropogenic litter on coastlines across Northwest Scotland. This work began with the 50 years of Litter on Skye project. This community science project is using stakeholder engagement to shape its research design, generate environmental data, and inform its dissemination. Follow its progress on our Instagram and X channels.

Alongside this work on textile fibres, Tom collaborates with not-for-profit organisation Planet Patrol, who use community science to characterise anthropogenic litter and water quality in freshwater environments globally.

Current Postgraduate Research Students

  • Annie Dowse (2023-): Entrainment and transport of atmospheric microplastics
  • Stanton, T., Stanes, E., Gwinnet, C., Lei, X., Caulian-Cureg, M., Ramos, M., Sallach, J.B., Harrison, E., Osborne, A., Sanders, C., Baynes, E., Law, A., Johnson, M., Ryves, D., Sheridan, K.,J and Blackburn, R.S., McKay, D. (2023). Shedding off-the-grid: the role of garment manufacturing and textile care in global microfibre pollution. Journal of Cleaner Production, 139391. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2023.139391
  • Stanton, T., Chico, G., Carr, E., Cook, S., Gomes, R.L., Heard, E., Law, A., Wilson, H.L. and Johnson, M., (2022). Planet Patrolling: A citizen science brand audit of anthropogenic litter in the context of national legislation and international policy. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 436, 129118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2022.129118
  • Stanton, T., Johnson, M., Gomes, R.L., Nathanail, P., MacNaughtan, W., Kay, P. (2022) Fluffy Rivers: How Our Clothes Can Harm Rivers and The Oceans. Frontiers for Young Minds. 10, 743943. doi: 10.3389/frym.2022.743943
  • Smith, I., Stanton, T., and Law, A. (2021).  Plastic habitats: Algal biofilms on photic and aphotic plastics. Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters, 2. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hazl.2021.100038
  • Stanton, T., Johnson, M., Nathanail, P., MacNaughtan, W. and Gomes, R. (2020). Freshwater microplastic pollution varies through both space and time. Environmental Pollution. 263(Part B), 114481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114481
  • Stanton T., Kay, P., Johnson, M., Chan, F., Gomes, RL., Hughes, J., Meredith, W., Orr, HG., Snape, C., Taylor, M., Weeks, J., Wood, H., Xu, Y. (2020). It’s the product not the polymer: rethinking plastic pollution.  WIREs Water. 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1002/wat2.1490
  • Stanton, T., Johnson, M., Nathanail, P., Gomes, R., Needham, T., Burson, A. (2019). Exploring the Efficacy of Nile Red in Microplastic Quantification: A Costaining Approach. Environmental Science and Technology Letters. 6(10), 606-611. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.9b00499
  • Stanton, T., Johnson, M., Nathanail, P., MacNaughtan, W. and Gomes, R. (2019). Freshwater and airborne textile fibre populations are dominated by ‘natural’, not microplastic, fibres. Science of The Total Environment, 666, 377-389. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.278