Dr Alexander Poynter, PhD

  • Lecturer in Life Science and Conservation
  • Institute of Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies
  • Conservation
Dr Alexander Poynter, PhD

Biography

Alex is an ecologist and environmental scientist with broad interests that centre on plant and insect community responses to environmental stressors. He has a particular interest in ecological resilience and dynamics to changing environmental conditions over varying spatial and temporal scales. An experienced aquatic ecologist, Alex is at home surveying rivers and lakes, but equally enjoys examining plant and invertebrate communities in forests and upland terrestrial habitats. Moreover, whilst much of his experience revolves around ground-based field surveying, Alex is keen on applying novel technology in the field, for example using UASs (Unmanned Aerial Systems) to assess habitat extent and vegetation from the air.

As well as active engagement in scholarly research, Alex is responsible for teaching across a range of modules within Forestry, Conservation and Geography courses. He is module lead on undergraduate modules in Ecology and Core Scientific Skills, which run across most courses, and Landscape Ecology, for conservation courses.

Previously, Alex was a Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, where he also held postdoctoral research posts and completed his PhD. In addition to his previous academic experience, Alex also has experience working for England’s statutory nature conservation body, Natural England, where he worked as a Lead Conservation Adviser, with a key role in statutory conservation relating to freshwater and marine protected sites. With this experience, Alex is able to bring both academic and applied industrial experience into his teaching within Forestry, Conservation and Geography at the University of Cumbria.

Qualifications and memberships

PhD in Aquatic Ecology ‘Impacts of environmental stressors on the River Itchen Ranunculus community’. Completed in 2014. University of Birmingham with funding from the Environment Agency.

MSc Air Pollution Management and Control. Completed in 2009. University of Birmingham.

BSc (Hons) Environmental Science. Completed in 2008. University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Currently working towards HEA membership and undertaking a PgCHE.

Academic and research interests

Alex has broad interests that centre on plant and insect community responses to environmental stressors. He has a particular interest in ecological resilience and dynamics to changing environmental conditions over varying spatial and temporal scales. Current broad research interests include:

  • River ecosystem resilience to changing environmental conditions
  • Upland habitat hydroecological resilience to changing climatic conditions
  • Plant morphophysiological (& broader community) responses to enhanced greenhouse gas concentrations
  • Climate and air quality effects on ecological systems
  • The use of experimental treatment-response systems in plant and invertebrate research
  • Statistical modelling and spatial mapping of vegetation distributions

Examples of Alex’s previous research includes: characterisation of stream macroinvertebrate communities in contrasting riparian habitats; environmental and air quality implications of metalliferous mine spoil; assessment of aquatic plant communities in lowland calcareous rivers; multi-treatment realistic experiments testing environmental responses of plants and invertebrates in aquatic ecosystems; monitoring tree growth in mature forests under experimental climate-change treatments; monitoring of plant and invertebrate communities within mature forests under experimental climate-change treatments; and, assisting the development of low-cost air pollution sensors in sub-saharan African cities.

Any enquiries from prospective research partners and PhD research students are welcome; please contact Alex using the details listed at the top of this page.

Research supervision

PhD positions will be advertised when available and in relation to current research projects.

Enquiries from prospective PhD students are welcomed year round, so please do get in touch via email to discuss any potential projects.

Publications

Recent articles:

Carrazco-Quevedo, A., Römer, I., Salamanca, M. J., Poynter, A., Lynch, I., Valsami-Jones, E. (2019). ‘Bioaccumulation and toxic effects of nanoparticulate and ionic silver in Saccostrea glomerata (rock oyster). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 179, 127-134, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.04.032.  

Pope, F. D., Gatari, M., Ng'ang'a, D., Poynter, A., and Blake, R. (2018). Airborne particulate matter monitoring in Kenya using calibrated low-cost sensors’. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 15403-15418, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-15403-2018.