Ellie Bartle, Biological Science

School of Natural Sciences

About the school

Ever since the University of Hull was founded, almost 100 years ago, we’ve been making the world a better place.

Our friendly team of academic staff have expertise across mathematics, physics, chemistry, biological science and biochemistry and this knowledge is reflected in our teaching and research.

From bioinformatics and DNA sequencing and pioneering LCD technology to diving on coral reefs, we have it all.

Head of school

Mark Lorch

Professor Mark Lorch


Research in the School of Natural Sciences

Our research ranges from exploring fundamental questions about how life on earth came to exist in its incredible diversity, to investigating practical and applied science to monitor and manage species abundance and pollution. We combine disciplines to predict what will happen in future climate change scenarios.

We lead the way in modern monitoring techniques – at the molecular scale all the way up to the planetary scale – using super computers in both DNA sequencing analysis and remote sensing and mapping.

Our chemistry for sustainability research connects to the core University commitment to be carbon neutral by 2027. Chemistry contributes to this through research on developing plastics that are designed to fit within a circular economy, as well as environmental monitoring and sustainable energy sources.

Our research in physics and mathematics stretches across a breadth of topics, from very small scale (quantum theory) to the very large scale (cosmology and galaxy evolution). Hull's physics and mathematics research is included in the top quartile of research volume growth in Nature Index 2020.

Our work involves collaborations across the University, particularly with the Department of Geography, Geology and Environment, the Energy and Environment Institute, and the G. W. Gray Centre for Advanced Materials as well as the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

We are united by our curiosity to understand the natural sciences and use our knowledge to make the world a better place – educating the next generation of scientists along the way.

Research themes

Dynamic Earth and Changing Environments

Our research in this thematic grouping addresses the management of marine and freshwater ecosystems, monitoring and modelling environmental systems, changing aquatic environments, and the co-evolution of Earth and life.

We have led the use of environmental DNA as a tool for monitoring species in aquatic environments and have considerable expertise in telemetry and migration of fish, birds and mammals.

We’re exploring ways to improve the region’s bieconomy through reducing waste, adding value to by-products, developing novel manufacturing processes, adapting feedstocks and enhancing resilience against risks within the supply chain.

Management of Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

Our research uses scientific evidence to inform and shape sustainable water resource management practices and policies across the world.

Projects include:

  • the effect of oil and gas decommissioning on marine conservation and ecosystem services
  • water use of the Shatt al-Arab for food security
  • fish-friendly hydropower systems
  • inland waterways pollutant characterisation

Monitoring and Modelling Environmental Systems

Our research here focuses on environmental fluid dynamics, hydrology, flood science, geomorphology, and environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring.

Projects include:

  • physical models for climate change adaptation
  • drone-mounted spectral analysis engineering
  • susceptibility of catchments to intense rainfall and flooding
  • combination hazard of extreme rainfall, storm surge and high tide on estuarine infrastructure
  • eDNA-based methods for non-invasive monitoring of biodiversity

Changing Aquatic Environments

This research cluster examines the genetic pathways that are at risk from climate-induced stress; and the effect of changing aquatic environments on chemical communication.

Our cutting-edge research on aquatic microplastic contamination is pinpointing the fate and effects of microplastics in environments that were previously considered pristine such as the Antarctic. We’re also examining microplastic behaviour and impact in estuarine and maritime contexts – and within the human food chain.

We’re proud to expand public understanding of these issues by featuring our work at The Deep.

Co-evolution of Earth and Life

Our research contributes to the knowledge base and international debates on past climate and ecological and evolutionary change from the Precambrian period to the Holocene. We also examine threats to natural capital as we move into the Anthropocene.

This group has won international awards for impact and attracted significant investment from funding bodies such as the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and The Royal Society.

What we do

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"It just felt right to be here. It felt like this is where I should be".

Watch: Eden, one of our students tells us why she chose to study Chemistry at Hull – and about her love of science.

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Hunting for genes

Watch: Our Biology and Biochemistry students have access to our new Advanced Training Lab. These industry-standard facilities are used for teaching state-of-the-art techniques for investigating genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry.

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Sullied Sediments

Watch: we're developing and testing new tools to prevent contamination from chemical pollution in our waterways. New water treatment methods will help combat this pollution and raise awareness of this critical issue, helping people to take action to prevent it.

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Hands-on experience

We lead a £5.6 million Office for Students grant to deliver fantastic work experience opportunities for physics students. This includes access to an extensive range of work-based learning opportunities.

Dive deeper

On our BSc Marine Biology course, you’ll train as a PADI-qualified diver during your degree.

Take the plunge


Viper, our high-performance computing centre, is one of the highest rated in the north of England. This significant research investment provides a vital requirement to meet the ever growing demands of the University’s research community.

Find out more about Viper

Study that take you places

Our location inside the Yorkshire Nature Triangle gives you easy access to some of the UK’s most important habitats, such as the shores of the Humber Estuary and the stunning Yorkshire countryside and coast. Depending on which modules you choose, you may find yourself learning to dive, engaging in practical conservation, surveying rocky shores or carrying out Phase 1 habitat surveys.

Find out where our students have visited

Try for yourself

Watch: join Professor Brad Gibson and John Elliott for a virtual Mathematics taster session

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Capturing our Coast

This project was an innovation in marine citizen science that trained almost 3,000 members of the public to gather data to help us understand in more detail the species that live on our coasts.

Groundbreaking research

Professor Ronald Shaw, who joined our team in Hull directly after completing his PhD at Cambridge, is one of the authors of the Yang-Mills-Shaw theory which is central to particle physics.

Try an on-demand session

Watch: Join Biological and Marine Sciences staff and students to find out more about studying at Hull.

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The Data Cube Service for Copernicus

This project is addressing the challenges of handling big data volumes through high-quality information from novel sensors.

Find out more on the DCS4COP website

Events for all

We run over 100 events a year. These span a range of widening participation, diversity in STEM, continuing professional development for teachers and curriculum-enhancing support.

Let us show you around...

Watch: join Dr Ben Murray and Dr Chris Armstrong on a guided tour of our Chemistry teaching labs. 

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Using Mathematics to explore the galaxy

We develop essential tools for simulations to probe the formation of elements in the Universe, like our unprecedented simulation of the Universe spanning its first 8 billion years of existence.

Chemistry in the spotlight

Watch taster lectures, get the lowdown on life at Hull from our students and find out how Chemistry affects the world around us on our YouTube channel.

Visit YouTube

Exploring the Impact of Hydropower on River Habitats

We're part of a pan-European expert team exploring the impact of hydroelectric power plants on fish populations. Hydropower is one of the most important and widely used renewable energy sources, but plants cause major disturbances to the natural world.

Read more about this work

“The supervisors at the University of Hull are excellent, always making time for students.

"There are plenty of opportunities to present your work, which helps grow your professional network." - David Miller-Shakesby, PhD Chemistry

Wild Ecology and Behaviour

Find out more about our work

IIraj Vaezzadeh, Astrophysics

Take a tour of our facilities

Take a 360-degree look at our physics laboratory where you'll have access to the tools for a broad understanding of modern physics, including high performance computers and industry standard equipment.


1. (9th) The Complete University Guide 2024

2. Previous destinations include Brazil, Malaysia and Majorca (extra fees may be payable and availability is subject to government guidance and restrictions)