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Iain Cross

Quality and Standards Manager

Iain Cross

Tel: 020 8240 4017

About Research Media


Iain graduated from University London with a BSc in Environmental Geography. He then moved to the University of Nottingham to undertake his PhD research in limnology, which he completed in 2010. After holding a variety of Research Assistant positions at the University of Nottingham's School of Geography and Centre for Geospatial Science, he moved to the School of Life Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire to become a Visiting Lecturer in Physical Geography. Whilst at the University of Hertfordshire Iain completed his Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education (2011) to become a Fellow of Higher Education Academy. He joined St Mary's in September 2011.

Iain teaches throughout the geography curriculum at St Mary's, focussing on physical geography and research skills. His research interests are used widely throughout his teaching, through specialist module options and in fieldwork activities. Iain participates widely in fieldwork activities, including the Peak District, Malta and the European Alps. He supervises dissertations on a diverse range of topics, currently including channel initiation and soil erosion processes in Malta, the water quality of London's lakes and the relationship between land use and water clarity in the lakes of New Zealand. He maintains an active research profile, drawing together his interests in freshwater environments in the contrasting glacial and lowland areas through conference talks and academic papers.


  • Physical Geography
  • Communication and Academic Literacy
  • Fieldwork (Peak District, U.K.)
  • Geographical Research Methods
  • Geographical Fieldwork (Malta)
  • Process Geomorphology
  • Understanding Geography
  • Water in the Landscape
  • Alpine Research Expedition


Iain completed his PhD at the University of Nottingham in 2010, which focussed on the plankton of shallow lakes and their response to nutrient loadings and hydrological regimes. The research combined an ecosystem-scale approach with small enclosure experiments to predict the responses of shallow eutrophic lakes to river diversion. The research revealed how contrasting nutrient supplies and hydrological regimes led to the development of strongly constrasting ecological structure, and exemplified how internal sources of nutrients may hinder attempts to improve the ecological quality of lakes. The work also addressed the potential effects of climate change on shallow lakes. Periods of high precipitation resulted in significant shifts in the chemistry and ecology of the lakes. Although these changes could be considered temporarily beneficial, the findings illustrated how managing lakes may become increasingly difficult as climate change leads to more variable precipitation regimes.                           Iain's research interests have expanded to include alpine environments, but remain centred on interactions between nutrients, hydrology and ecology. On-going research is contrasting the algal communities of alpine streams fed by different sources of water, in order to predict how glacial recession associated with climate change may alter the structure and functioning of aquatic alpine ecosystems. Additional work in alpine regions includes experiments to investigate processes of algal colonisation in streams and investigations into the effectiveness of ecological sampling methods. Iain is also developing research in urban freshwater environments, including assessing the impact of airports on aquatic ecosystems.

Professional memberships:

  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography

Honours and awards:

  • Higher Education Academy GEES Learning and Teaching Development Fund: 'Linking teaching and field research: student engagement with reusable learning objects' (with Dr P. Porter, University of Hertfordshire) Funding for a two-week fieldtrip to Saas Fee, Switzerland with undergraduate students for the production of videos, photo-stories and other digital media to demonstrate physical geography and ecology fieldwork techniques.
  • Nuffield Foundation Science Bursary: Awarded for project entitled 'Quantifying ecological responses of alpine streams to climate change' in support of undergraduate participation in research project.
  • School of Geography, University of Nottingham: Scholarship for PhD.
  • University of Nottingham Graduate School Travel Prize: For costs to attend American Society for Limnology and Oceanography Summer Meeting, June 2008.
  • University of Nottingham School of Geography Research Support Fund: Funding for a two-day course at the Methods and Data Institute at the University of Nottingham on intervention and impact analysis.


  • Cross, I. (2011) ‘The value of Electronic Voting Systems for enhancing undergraduate learning’. Blended Learning in Practice May 2011, 7 - 18.
  • McGowan, S. and Cross, I. (2010) ‘Chemical and biological monitoring at Attenborough Nature Reserve’. Report to Cemex Operations U.K. Ltd. 67pp.
  • Cross, I., Palahí, J., and Hobona, G. (2010) ‘Evaluating usability for aggregated INSPIRE-conformant data in the GIS4EU project’. Directions Magazine
  • Ghosal, S., Lin, N. and Cross, I. (2010) ‘The role of open source software for handling INSPIRE-compliant data’. Geoinformatics 8: 16-22.

Conference papers:

  • 23 March 2012: ‘Effects of flooding on shallow lakes at the Attenborough Nature Reserve, Nottinghamshire’. London Freshwater Group Spring Meeting - UK Lakes: Science and Conservation, Linnean Society, London.
  • 21 Feb 2012: ‘The effects of flood events on nutrients and plankton communities in the Attenborough Ponds, Nottinghamshire’. Agriculture, Food and Veterinary Sciences Research Seminar Series, University of Hertfordshire.
  • 4 May 2011: Novel in-situ experiments to determine sedimentary phosphorus release from eutrophic lake sediments’. School of Life Sciences Research Day, University of Hertfordshire.
  • 10 June 2008: ‘Hydrology and nutrient interactions on shallow lake phytoplankton communities’. American Society for Limnology and Oceanography Summer Meeting, St Johns, Canada.
  • 18 April 2008: ‘Nutrient and hydrological effects on shallow lake phytoplankton’. Environmental and Geomorphological Sciences / Centre for the Environment Research Seminar Series, University of Nottingham.
  • 6 September 2007: ‘Whole-lake experiments to determine how hydraulic retention time and nutrients affect shallow lake phytoplankton’. Freshwater Biological Association Annual Scientific Meeting, Windermere, Cumbria.
  • 6 December 2006: ‘Using experiments and palaeoecology to predict the effects of nutrient reduction in shallow lakes’. Midlands Consortium for Graduate Training in Physical Geography, Loughborough University.

In the news

St Mary's Academic Chairs Special Session at British Ecological Society Annual Meeting

St Mary's Academic Chairs Special Session at British Ecological Society Annual Meeting in January 2016. Find out more...

St Mary's Academics Respond to Papal Encylical on Environment

St Mary’s University has formed an interdisciplinary group to study the ‘Laudato Si’ encyclical and to prepare for a conference at the end of the year. Find out more...

St Mary’s to Host Urban River Survey Training Workshop

St Mary’s University, Twickenham is to host a two day training session on the Urban River Survey run by Friends of the River Crane Environment (FORCE). Find out more...

St Mary’s to Deliver Project Monitoring Water Quality of Local River

St Mary’s University, Twickenham has started work to monitor the ecology and water quality of the River Crane in Twickenham as a part of an ongoing project. Find out more...

Geography Students at St Mary’s Investigate London Ecology and Regeneration

Geography students at St Mary’s University, Twickenham have undertaken a number of fieldwork research projects in London as part of two new modules. Find out more...

Media enquiries

For media enquiries, please contact our Communications and Public Engagement Manager, Sam Yarnold, by emailling or calling 020 8240 8262.