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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Academic Staff  /  Carl Sayer

Professor Carl Sayer

Professor in Geography at UCL and passionate aquatic conservationist


Office hours: Carl is on Sabbatical Leave in this term

Convenor of MSc in Aquatic Conservation, Ecology & Restoration

Pond Restoration Research Group
Environmental Change Research Centre
Department of Geography
University College London
North-West Wing
Gower Street

Room NWW-204, Phone: +44 20 7679 0517, e-mail:

Twitter: @carlsayerUCL - @uclponds - @norfolkponds

Pond Restoration Research Group

River Glaven Conservation Group and Blog

Norfolk Ponds Project

Fellow of the Freshwater Biological Association


Professor, UCL (2020-)

Reader, UCL (2016-2020)

Senior Lecturer, UCL (2011-2016)

Lecturer, UCL (2002-2011)

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Fellow, Environmental Change Research Centre, UCL (1998-2002)

Post-doctoral Research Assistant, Environmental Change Research Centre, UCL (1997-1998)

Recent Awards

Sydney Long Memorial Medal for Nature Conservation in Norfolk. Awarded by Norfolk Wildlife Trust & Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists Society (every 2 years) 2022

UCL Provosts Education Award for "Outstanding Response to Teaching During the Pandemic" (Winner) 2021

UCL Student Choice "Inspiring Teaching Delivery & Excellent Personal Tutoring Award(s)" (Nominee) 2020

CIEEM NGO Impact Award to the Norfolk Ponds Project (2019)

Campaign for Protection of Rural England (CPRE) "Best Campaign" award to Norfolk Ponds Project 2018

UCL Student Choice "Outstanding Personal Tutoring Award" (Nominee) 2018

Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership "Outstanding Achievement Award" 2017

UCL Student Choice "Outstanding Personal Support Award" (Nominee) 2017

UCL Student Choice "Outstanding Personal Support Award" (Nominee) 2016

UCL Student Choice "Outstanding Teaching Award" (Nominee) 2015

UCL Public Engagement Award (Winner) 2015

UCL Student Choice "Outstanding Teaching Award" (Nominee) 2013

Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership Group Award for conservation awarded to the River Glaven Conservation Group 2013

    Publications since 2001


    Clilverd, H.M., Thompson, J.R., Sayer, C.D., Heppell, C.M., Axmacher, J.C., Stratford, C. & Burningham, H. (2022). Simulated effects of floodplain restoration on plant community types. Applied Vegetation Science, 25. e12697. Doi: 10.1111/avsc.12697

    Sayer, C.D. & Cooper, B. (2022) The Norfolk Crucian Project. In: C. Turnball (ed.). Crucian Renaissance. Little Egret Press, Nuneaton, UK. pp. 84-92.

    Harwood, A.J.P., Perrow, M.R., Sayer, C.D., Piper, A.T., Berridge, R.J., Patmore, I.R., Emson, D. & Cooper, G. (2022) Catchment-scale distribution, abundance, habitat use, and movements of European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) in a small UK river: Implications for conservation management. Aquatic Conservation: Marine & Freshwater Ecosystems, 32, 797-816. Doi: 10.1002/aqc.3794

    Salgado, J., Sayer, C.D., Willby, N., Baker, A.G., Goldsmith, B., McGowan, S., Davidson, T.A., Bexell, P., Patmore, I.R., Okamura, B. (2022). Habitat heterogeneity enables spatial and temporal co-existence of native and invasive macrophytes in shallow lake landscapesRiver Research & Applications, 38, 1387-1399. Doi: 10.1002/rra.3839

    Sayer, C.D., Hawkins, J. & Greaves, H. (2022) Restoring the ghostly and the ghastly: A new golden age for British lowland farm ponds? British Wildlife, June, 477-487.

    Roberts, L.R., Holmes, J.A., Leng, M.J., Sayer, C.D., Timms, R.G.O., Flowers, K., Blockley, S.P.M. & Kelly, A. (2022) Reconstruction of short-term storm surge-driven increases in shallow coastal lake salinity using ostracod shell chemistry. Natural Hazards, 114, 2059-2085. Doi: 10.1007/s11069-022-05459-9


    Pritchard, E.G., Chadwick, D.D.A., Patmore, I.R., Chadwick, M.A., Bradley, P., Sayer, C.D. & Axmacher, J.A. (2021) The ‘Pritchard Trap’: a novel quantitative survey method for crayfishEcological Solutions and Evidence, 2, e12070.

    Hill, M.J., Greaves, H.M., Sayer, C.D., Hassall, C., Milin, M., Milner, V.S., Marazzi, M., Hall, R., Harper, L.R., Hall, R., Thornhill, I., Walton, R., Biggs, J., Ewald, N., Law, A., Willby, N.,  White, J.C., Briers, R.A., Mathers, K.L., Jeffries, M.J. & Wood, P.J. (2021) Pond ecology and conservation: Research priorities and knowledge gaps. Ecosphere, 12, e03853.

    Prichard, E., Chadwick, D.D.A., Chadwick, M.A., Bradley, P., Sayer, C.D. & Axmacher, J.C. (2021) Assessing methods to improve benthic fish sampling in a stony headwater streamEcological Solutions & Evidence, 2, e12111.

    Walton, R.E., Sayer, C.D., Bennion H. & Axmacher, J.C. (2021) Improving the pollinator pantry: Restoration and management of farmland ponds enhances the complexity of plant-pollinator networks. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 320, 107611.

    Greenhalgh, J.A., Stone, H.J.R., Fisher, T. & Sayer, C.D. (2021). Ecoacoustics as a novel tool for assessing pond restoration successAquatic Conservation: Marine & Freshwater Ecosystems, 31, 2017-2028.

    Walton, R.E., Sayer, C.D., Bennion, H. & Axmacher, J.C. (2021) Once a pond in time: employing palaeoecology to inform farmland pond conservation. Restoration Ecology, 29, e13301.

    Harper L.R., Lawson-Handley L., Sayer C.D., Read D.S., Benucci, M., Blackman, R.C., Hill, M.J. & Hänfling, B. (2021) Assessing the impact of the threatened crucian carp (Carassius carassius) on pond invertebrate diversity: A comparison of conventional and molecular tools. Molecular Ecology, 30, 3252-3269. Doi: 10.1111/mec.15670

    Chadwick, D.D.A., Pritchard, E.G, Bradley, P., Sayer, C.D., Chadwick, M.A., Eagle, L.J.B. & Axmacher, J.C. (2021) Triple drawdown method reveals deficiencies in alien crayfish survey and control techniques. Journal of Applied Ecology, 58, 316-327.

    Walton, R.E., Sayer, C.D., Bennion, H., & Axmacher, J.C. (2021) Open-canopy ponds benefit diurnal pollinator communities in an agricultural landscape: implications for farmland pond management. Insect Conservation & Diversity, 14, 307-324. Doi: 10.1111/icad.12452


    Macumber, A., Rose, H.M., Prentice, S., Sayer, C.D., Bennion, H. & Salgado, J. (2020) Freshwater testate amoebe (Arcellinda) response to eutrophication as revealed by size and shape indicesFrontiers in Ecology & EvolutionDoi:10.3389/fevo.2020.568904

    Sayer, C.D. & Parmenter, J. (2020) Resurrection of a Norfolk pond gem: Grass-poly Lythrum hyssopifolia L. Transactions of the Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists Society, 53(1), 71-74.

    Harper, L.R., Watson, H.V., Donnelly, R., Hampshire, R., Sayer, C.D., Breithaupt, T. & Hänfling, B. (2020) Using DNA metabarcoding to investigate diet and niche partitioning in the native European otter (Lutra lutra) and invasive mink (Neovision vison). Metabarcoding & Metagnenomics, 4, e56087.

    Downey, H. et al. (2020) Training future generations to deliver evidence-based conservation and ecosystem management. Ecological Solutions & Evidence

    Copp, G.H. & Sayer, C.D. (2020) Demonstrating the practical impact of publications in Aquatic Conservation – the case of crucian carp Carassius carassius in the East of England. Aquatic Conservation: Marine & Freshwater Ecosystems, 30, 1753-1757. Doi: 10.1002/aqc.3375

    Sayer, C.D. & Greaves, H. (2020). Making an impact on UK farmland pond conservation. Aquatic Conservation: Marine & Freshwater Ecosystems, 30, 1821-1828. Doi: 10.1002/aqc.3375

    Sayer, C.D., Emson, D., Patmore, I. R., Greaves, H., Wiseman, G., West, W.P., Tarkan, A.S., Davies, G.D., Payne, J., Cooper, B., Grapes, T., & Copp, G.H. (2020) Recovery of the crucian carp Carassius carassius (L.): approach and early results of an English conservation project. Aquatic Conservation: Marine & Freshwater Ecosystems, 30, 2240-2253. Doi: 10.1002/aqc.3422

    Walton, R.E., Sayer, C.D., Bennion, H., & Axmacher, J.C. (2020) Nocturnal pollinators strongly contribute to pollen transport of wildflowers in an agricultural landscape. Biology Letters, 16, 20190877.

    Lewis-Phillips, J, Brooks S.J., Sayer C.D., Patmore, I.R., Hilton, G.M., Harrison, A., Robson H. & Axmacher J.C. (2020). Ponds as insect chimneys: restoring overgrown farmland ponds benefits birds through elevated productivity of emerging aquatic insects. Biological Conservation, 108253.

    Smith, E., Bennion, H., Sayer, C. & Owen, M. (2020) Jump dispersal of invasive species by recreational angling: awareness of biosecurity and the risk of long distance movement. Aquatic Invasions, 22, 1135-1159.


    Lewis-Phillips, J, Brooks S.J., Sayer C.D., McCrea, R., Siriwardena, G., Robson, H., Harrison, A. & Axmacher, J.C. (2019). Seasonal benefits of farmland pond management for birds. Bird Study, 66, 342-352.

    Robson, H.J., Jones, V., Hilton, G.M., Brooks, S. Sayer, C.D. & Douse, A. (2019) Combined palaeolimnological and ecological approach provides added value for understanding the character and drivers of recent environmental change in Flow Country lakes. Mires and Peat, 23, 1-22. Doi:10.19189/MaP.2018.OMB.386

    Salgado, J., Sayer, C.D., Davidson, T.A., Brooks, S., Goldsmith, B., Baker, A., Willby, N., Patmore, I.R., Okamura, B. (2019). Connectivity and zebra mussel invasion offer short-term buffering of eutrophication impacts on floodplain lake landscape biodiversity. Diversity and Distributions, 25, 1334-1347. Doi:10.1111/ddi.12938

    Sayer, C.D., Salgado, J., Goldsmith, B. & Baker, A. (2019) Upper Lough Erne Wetland Landscape. In: Roe, H., Whitehouse, N. and Knight, J. (eds). Late Quaternary Landscape Evolution, Palaeoenvironments and Human Occupation in the North of Ireland. QRA, London. pp. 175-183.

    Sayer, C.D. (2019) Presidential Address 2019: Talk to the person on the farm: the huge value to conservation lived natural history knowledge. Transactions of the Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists Society, 52, 2-19.

    Bishop, I., Bennion, H., Sayer, C.D., Patmore, I. & Yang, H. (2019) Filling the “data gap”: Using paleoecology to investigate the decline of Najas flexilis (a rare aquatic plant). Geo: Geography and Environment, 6, e00081,

    Roberts, L.R., Sayer, C.D., Hoare, D., Tomlinson, M., Holmes, J.A., Horne, D.J. & Kelly, A. (2019). The role of monitoring, documentary and archival records for coastal shallow lake management. Geo: Geography and Environment, 6, e00083,

    Naldoni J, Adriano E.A, Hartigan A, Sayer C.D. & Okamura B (2019). Malacosporean myxozoans exploit a diversity of fish hosts. Parasitology, 1-11.

    Law, A., Baker, A., Sayer, C.D., Foster, G., Gunn, I., Pattison, Z., Blaikie, J., Taylor, P. & Willby, N. (2019) The effectiveness of aquatic plants as surrogates for wider biodiversity in standing fresh waters. Freshwater Biology, 64, 1664-1675. Doi: 10.1111/fwb.13369

    Lewis-Phillips, J., Brooks, S., Sayer, C.D., McCrea, R., Siriwardena, G. & Axmacher, J.C. (2019) Pond management enhances the local abundance and species richness of farmland bird communities. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 273, 130-140.

    Harper, L.R., Buxton, A.S., Rees, H.C., Bruce, K., Brys, R., Halfmaerten, D., Read, D.S., Watson, H.V., Sayer, C.D., Jones, E., Priestley, V., Mächler, E., Múrria, C., Garcés-Pastor, S., Medupin, C., Burgess, K., Benson, G., Boonham, N., Lawson Handley., Richard A. Griffiths, R.A. & Hänfling, B. (2019). Prospects and challenges of environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring in freshwater ponds. Hydrobiologia, 826, 25-41.

    Sayer, C., Bennion, H., Gurnell, A., Goodyer, E., Kotze, D. & Lindsay, R. (2019) Restoration of Freshwaters: Principles and Practice. In: Freshwater Ecology and Conservation: Approaches and Techniques. Edited by Jocelyne M.R. Hughes: Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 378-403. Doi: 10.1093/oso/9780198766384.003.0018


    Harper, L.R., Griffiths, N.P., Lawson-Handley, L., Sayer, C.D., Read, D.S., Harper, K.J., Blackman, R.C., Li, J., Shum, P. & Hänfling, B. (2018) Development and application of environmental DNA surveillance for the threatened crucian carp (Carassius carassius). Freshwater Biology, 64, 93-107. Doi:10.1111/fwb.13197

    Salgado, J., Sayer, C.D., Davidson, T.A., Brooks, S., Goldsmith, B., Baker, A., Patmore, I.R. & Okamura, B. (2018). Eutrophication homogenizes shallow lake macrophyte assemblages over space and time. Ecosphere, 9(9).

    Hilt, S., Marta, M., Nuñez, A., Bakker, E., Blindow, I., Davidson, T.A., Gillefalk, M., Hansson, L-R., Janse, J.H., Janssen, A.B.G., Jeppesen, E., Kabus, T., Kelly, A., Köhler, J., Lauridsen, T.L., Mooij, W.M., Noordhuis, R., Phillips, G., Rücker, J., Schuster, H-H., Søndergaard, M., Teurlincx, S., van den Weyer, K., van Donk, E., Waterstraat, A., Willby, N. & Sayer, C.D. (2018) Response of submerged macrophyte communities to external and internal restoration measures in north temperate shallow lakes. Frontiers in Plant Science, 19 Feb, 2018. Doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00194

    Champkin, J., Copp, G.H., Sayer C.D., Clilverd, H.M., George, L., Vilizzi, L., Godard, M.J., & Clarke, J. (2018). Responses of fishes and lampreys to the re-creation of meanders in a small English chalk stream. River Research & Applications, 34, 34-43. Doi: 10.1002/rra.3216

    Thompson, M.S.A., Brooks, S.J., Sayer, C.D., Woodward, G., Axmacher, J.C., Perkins, D. & Gray, C. (2018). Large woody debris ‘rewilding’ restores biodiversity in riverine food webs. Journal of Applied Ecology, 55, 895-904. Doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.13013

    Harvey, G.L., Henshaw, A.J., Parker, C. & Sayer, C.D. (2018). Re-introduction of structurally complex wood jams promotes channel and habitat recovery from overwidening: implications for river conservation. Aquatic Conservation: Marine & Freshwater Ecosystems, 28, 395-407. Doi: 10.1002/aqc.2824

    Davidson, T.A., Bennion, H., Reid, M., Sayer, C.D. & Whitmore, T. (2018). Towards better integration of ecology in palaeoecology: from proxies to indicators, from inference to understanding. Journal of Paleolimnology, 60, 109-116.

    Emson, D., Sayer, C.D., Bennion, H., Patmore, I.R. & Rioual, P. (2018). Mission Possible: diatoms can be used to infer past duckweed (Lemnoid Araceae) dominance in ponds. Journal of Paleolimnology, 60, 209-221.

    Prentice, S.V., Roe, H.M., Bennion, H., Sayer, C.D. & Salgado, J. (2018). Refining the palaeoecology of lacustrine testate amoebae: insights from a plant macrofossil record from a eutrophic Scottish lake. Journal of Paleolimnology, 60, 189-207. Doi 10.1007/s10933-017-9966-y

    Bishop, I., Bennion, H., Patmore, I.R. & Sayer, C.D. (2018). How effective are plant macrofossils as a proxy for macrophyte presence/abundance? The case of Najas flexilis in Scotland. Journal of Paleolimnology, 60, 153-165. Doi:10.1007/s10933-017-9988-5

    Bennion, H., Sayer, C.D., Clarke, S.J., Davidson, T.A., Rose, N.L., Goldsmith, B., Rawcliffe, R., Burgess, A., Clarke, C., Turner, S. & Wiik, E. (2018) Using sedimentary macrofossil records to inform lake conservationJournal of Paleolimnology, 60, 329-348. Doi:10.1007/s10933-017-9941-7

    Salgado, J, Sayer, C.D., Brooks, S.J., Davidson, T.A. & Okamura, B. (2018) Eutrophication erodes inter-basin variation in macrophytes and co-occuring invertebrates in a shallow lake: Combining ecology and palaeoecology. Journal of Paleolimnology, 60, 311-328. Doi:10.1007/s10933-017-9950-6


    Alderton, E., Sayer, C.D., Davies, R., Lambert, S.J. & Axmacher, J.C. (2017). Buried alive: Aquatic plants survive in ‘ghost ponds’ under agricultural fields. Biological Conservation, 212, 105-110.

    Thompson, J.R., Iravani, H., Clilverd, H.M., Sayer, C.D., Heppell, C.M. & Axmacher, J.A. (2017) Simulation of the hydrological impacts of climate change on a restored floodplain. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 62, 2482-2510.

    Parker, C., Henshaw, A.J., Harvey, G.L. & Sayer, C.D. (2017) Reintroduced large wood modifies fine sediment transport and storage in a lowland river channelEarth Surface Processes & Landforms, 42, 1693-1703. Doi:10.1002/esp.4123

    Stefanoudis, P.V., Sayer, C.D., Almeida, D., Greaves, H., Smith, E., Robson, H., Davidson, T.A. (2017) Consequences of fish for cladoceran, water beetle and macrophyte communities in a farmland pond landscape. Fundamental & Applied Limnology, 190, 141-156.

    Jeffries, D., Copp, G.H., Maes, G., Lawson Handley, L-J., Sayer, C.D., Hänfling, B. (2017) Genetic evidence challenges the native status of a threatened freshwater fish (Carassius carassius) in England. Ecology & Evolution, 7, 2871-2882. Doi:10.1002/ece3.2831

    Tibby J., Sayer C.D. (2017). Chapter 17 - Inferring environmental change in estuaries using plant macrofossils. In K. Weckström, K. Saunders, P. Gell & G. Skilbeck, Application of Paleoenvironmental Techniques in Estuarine Studies. Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, pp. 423-440.


    Davies, S.R., Sayer, C.D., Greaves, H., Siriwardena, G.M. & Axmacher, J.C. (2016) A new role for pond management in farmland bird conservation. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 233, 179-191.

    Sayer, C.D., Davidson, T.A., Rawcliffe, R., Langdon, P., Leavitt, P. & Rose, N. (2016) Consequences of fish kills for long-term trophic structure in shallow lakes: Implications for theory and restoration. Ecosystems, 19, 1289-1309. Doi:10.1007/s10021-016-0005-z

    Xuhui, D., Sayer, C.D., Bennion, H., Maberly, S., Yang, H. & Battarbee, R. (2016) Identifying sediment discontinuities and solving dating puzzles using monitoring and palaeolimnological records. Frontiers of Earth Science, 10, 621-633. Doi:10.1007/s11707-016-0578-z

    Clilverd, H.M., Thompson, J.R., Heppell, C.M., Sayer, C.D., Axmacher, J.C. (2016) Coupled hydrological/hydraulic modelling of river restoration and floodplain hydrodynamics. Rivers Research & Applications, 32, 1927-1948. Doi:10.1002/rra.3036

    Hill, M.J., Sayer, C.D., Wood, P.J. (2016) When is the best time to sample aquatic macroinvertebrates in ponds? Environmental Monitoring & Management. 188-194. Doi:10.1007/s10661-016-5178-6

    Boyle, J.F., Sayer, C.D., Hoare, D., Bennion, H., Heppell, K., Lambert, S.J., Appleby, P.G., Rose, N., Davy, A.J. (2016) Toxic metal enrichment and boating intensity: sediment records of antifoulant copper in shallow lakes of eastern England. Journal of Paleolimnology, 55, 195-208. Doi:10.1007/s10933-015-9865-z

    Jeffries, D.L., Copp, G.H., Lawson-Handley, L-J., Håkan Olsén, H., Sayer, C.D., Hänfling, B. (2016). Comparing RADseq and microsatellites to infer complex phylogeographic patterns, an empirical perspective in the Crucian carp, Carassius carassius, L. Molecular ecology, 25, 2997-3018. Doi:10.1111/mec.13613

    Thompson, M.S.A., Bankier, C., Bell, T., Dumbrel, A.J., Gray, C., Hart, K., Hitchmough, C., Hilliard, A., Ledger, M.E., Lehman, K., McKew, B.A., Sayer, C.D., Shelly, F., Trimmer, M., Warren, S.L. Woodward, G. (2016) Gene-to-ecosystem impacts of a catastrophic pesticide spill: testing a multilevel bioasessment approach in a river ecosystem. Freshwater Biology, 61, 2037-2050. Doi:10.1111/fwb.12676

    Feld, C.K., Birk, S., Eme, D., Gerisch, M., Hering, D., Kernan, M., Maileht, K., Mischke, U., Ott, I., Pletterbauer, F., Poikane, S., Salgado, J., Sayer, C.D., van Wichelen, J. & Malard, F. (2016) Disentangling the effects of land use and geo-climatic factors on diversity in European freshwater ecosystems. Ecological Indicators, 60, 71-83. Doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.06.024

    Tarkan, S., Almeida, D., Godard, M.J., Gaygusus, O., Rylands, M., Sayer, C.D., Zieba, G. & Copp, G.H. (2016). A review and meta-analysis of growth and life-history traits of a declining European freshwater fish, crucian carp Carassius carassius. Aquatic Conservation: Marine & Freshwater Ecosystems, 26, 212-224. Doi: 10.1002/aqc.2580


    Wiik, E., Bennion, H., Sayer, C.D., Davidson, T.A., Clarke, S.J., McGowan, S., Prentice, S., Simpson, S. & Stone, L. (2015) The coming and going of a marl lake: multi-indicator palaeolimnology reveals abrupt ecological change and alternative views of reference conditions. Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution, vol. 3, article 82. Doi:10.3389/fevo.2015.00082

    Wiik, E., Bennion, H., Sayer, C.D., Davidson, T.A., McGowan, S., Patmore, I.R. & Clarke, S.J. (2015) Ecological sensitivity of marl lakes to nutrient enrichment: palaeolimnological evidence from Hawes Water, UK. Freshwater Biology, 60, 2226-2247. Doi:10.1111/fwb.12650

    Geerts, A., Vanoverbeke, J., Vanschoenwinkel, B., Van Doorslaer, W., Feuchtmayr, H., Atkinson,D., Moss, B., Davidson, T.A., Sayer,C.D. & De Meester, L. (2015) Rapid evolution of thermal tolerance in the water flea Daphnia in the laboratory and in nature. Nature Climate Change, 5 (7), 665-668. Doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2628

    Bennion, H., Davidson, T.A., Sayer, C.D., Simpson, G.L., Rose, N.L. & Sadler, J.P. (2015) Harnessing the potential of the multi-indicator palaeoecological approach: an assessment of the nature and causes of ecological change in a eutrophic shallow lake. Freshwater Biology, 60, 1423-1442. Doi:10.1111/fwb.12579


    Wilkinson, I.P., Poirier, C., HeadM.J., Sayer C.D. & TibbyJ. (2014). Microbiotic signatures of the Anthropocene in marginal marine and freshwater palaeoenvironments. In C.N. Waters, J.A. Zalasiewicz, M. Williams, M.A. Ellis & A.M. Snelling, A Stratigraphical basis for the Anthropocene. Geological Society Special Publication. British Geological Society. Doi: 10.1144/SP395.14

    Sayer, C.D. (2014) Conservation of aquatic landscapes: ponds, rivers and lakes as integrated systems. WIRE’s Water 1, 573-585. Doi: 10.1002/wat2.1045

    Wiik, E., Bennion, H., Sayer, C.D., Clarke, S. (2014) Assessing the status of marl lakes under the European Water Framework Directive – insights from contemporary and palaeolimnological studies of three English lakes. Fundamental and Applied Limnology, 185, 121-138. Doi: 10.1127/fal/2014/0648

    Clarke, G.H., Sayer, C.D., Turner, S., Salgado, J., Meis, S., Patmore, I.R., Zhao Y. (2014) Spatial representation of aquatic vegetation change by plant macrofossils in a small and shallow freshwater lake. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 23, 265-276. Doi: 10.1007/s00334-013-0427-x

    Seddon A.W.R, et al. & Sayer C.D. (2014) Looking forward through the past: Identification of 50 priority research questions in palaeoecology. Journal of Ecology, 102, 256-267. Doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12195

    Wiik, E., Bennion, H., Sayer, C.D. & Willby, N.J. (2014) Chemical and biological responses of marl lakes to eutrophication. Freshwater Reviews, 6, 35-62. Doi: 10.1608/FRJ-6.2.630

    Patmore, I.R., Sayer, C.D., Goldsmith, B., Davidson, T.A., Rawcliffe, R. & Salgado, J. (2014) Big Ben: a new wide bore piston corer for multi-proxy paleolimmology. Journal of Paleolimnology, 51, 79-86. Doi: 10.1007/s10933-013-9756-0


    Almeida, D., Rodolfo, N., Sayer, C.D. & Copp, G.H. (2013) Seasonal use of ponds as foraging habitat by Eurasian otter with description of an alternative handling technique for common toad predation. Folia. Zool. 62, 214-221.

    Sayer, C.D., Shilland, E., Greaves, H., Dawson, B., Patmore, I.R., Emson, E., Alderton, E., Robinson, P., Andrews, K., Axmacher, J.A. & Wiik, E. (2013) Managing British ponds – conservation lessons from a Norfolk farm. British Wildlife, 25(1), 21-28.

    Hilt, S., Köhler, J., Adrian, R., Monaghan, M.T. & Sayer, C.D. (2013) Clear, crashing, turbid and back – long-term macrophyte changes in macrophyte assemblages in a shallow lake. Freshwater Biology, 58, 2027-2036.

    Davidson, T.A., Reid, M.A., Sayer, C.D. & Chilcott, S. (2013) Palaeolimnological records of shallow lake biodioversity change: exploring the merits of single versus multi-proxy approaches. Journal of Paleolimnology, 49, 431-446.

    Okamura, B., Ayres, K., Salgado J., Davidson, T.A., Shaw, R.F., Stephens, T., Hoare, D. & Sayer, C.D. (2013) Shallow lake sediments provide evidence for metapopulation dynamics: a pilot study. Aquatic Ecology 47, 163-176.

    Clilverd, H.B., Thompson, J.R., Heppell, C.M., Sayer, C.D. & Axmacher J.C. (2013) River floodplain hydrology of an embanked lowland chalk river and initial response to embankment removal. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 58, 627-650.


    Smith, D., Zalasiewicz, J.A., Williams, M., Wilkinson, I.P., Scarborough, J.S., Knight, M., Sayer, C.D., Redding, M & Moreton S.G. (2012) A record of alternating environmental stasis and rapid change in the Holocene of the English Fenland. Proceedings for the Yorkshire Geology Society, 59, 145-159.

    Sayer, C.D., Andrews, K., Shilland, E., Edmonds, N., Edmonds-Brown, R., Patmore, I. & Emson, D. Axmacher, J.A. (2012) The role of pond management for biodiversity conservation in an agricultural landscape. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 22, 626-638.

    Dong, X., Bennion, H.,Battarbee R.W. & Sayer, C.D. (2012) A multi-proxy palaeolimnological study of climate and nutrient impacts on Esthwaite Water, England over the past 1200 years. The Holocene, 22, 107-118.

    Bennion, H., Carvalho, L., Sayer, C.D., Wischnewski, J. & Simpson GL. (2012) Identifying nutrient and climate impacts on Loch Leven from recent sediment records and long-term datasets. Freshwater Biology, 57, 2015-2029.

    Dong, X., Bennion, H., Maberly, S. Sayer, C.D., Simpson, G.L. & Battarbee, R.W. (2012). Nutrients exert a stronger control than climate on recent diatom communities in Esthwaite Water: evidence from monitoring and palaeolimnological records. Freshwater Biology, 57, 2044-2056.

    Sayer, C.D., Bennion, H., Davidson, T.A., Burgess, A., Clarke, G., Hoare, D., Frings P. & Hatton-Ellis, T. (2012) The application of palaeolimnology to evidence-led lake management and conservation: examples from UK lakes. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 22, 165-180.

    Almeida, D., Copp G., Masson, L., Miranda, R., Murai, M. & Sayer, C.D. (2012) Changes in the diet of a recovering Eurasian otter population between the mid-1970s and 2010. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 22, 26-35.


    Sayer, C.D., Copp, G.H., Emson, D., Godard, M.J., Zięba,G. & Wesley K.J. (2011) Towards the conservation of crucian carp Carassius carassius: understanding the extent and causes of decline within part of its native English range. Journal of Fish Biology, 79, 1608-1624.

    Jeppesen, E., Nõges P., Davidson, T.A., Haberman, J., Nõges, T., Kätlin, B., Lauridsen, T.L., Søndergaard, M., Sayer, C.D., Laugaste, R., Johansson, L.S., Bjerring, R. & Amsinck, S.L. (2011) Bring the zooplankton back to lakes – a plea for including zooplankton in the ecological quality assessment of lakes according to the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Hydrobiologia, 676, 279-297.

    Davidson, T.A., Bennion, H., Sayer, C.D., Jeppesen, E., Clarke, G.H., Morley, D., Odgaard, B., Rasmussen, R., Rawcliffe, R., Salgado, J. & Amsinck, S.L. (2011) The role of cladocerans in tracking long-term change in shallow lake ecosystem structure and function. Hydrobiologia 676, 299-315.

    Madgwick, G., Emson D., Sayer C.D., Willby N.J., Rose N., Jackson M.J. & Kelly A. (2011) Centennial-scale changes to the aquatic vegetation structure of a shallow eutrophic lake and implications for restoration. Freshwater Biology, 56, 2620-2636.

    Bennion, H., Simpson, G.L., Anderson, N.J., Dong, X., Hobaeck, A., Guilizzoni, P., Marchetto, A., Sayer, C.D., Thies, H. & Tolotti. M. (2011) Defining ecological and chemical reference conditions and restoration targets for nine European lakes. Journal of Paleolimnology, 45, 415-431.

    Bennion, H., Battarbee, R.W., Sayer, C.D., Simpson, G.L. & Davidson, T.A. (2011). Defining reference conditions and restoration targets for lake ecosystems using palaeolimnology: a synthesis. Journal of Paleolimnology, 45, 533-544.


    Hughes, M. & Sayer, C.D. (2010) Water Pollution and Wildlife in the UK. In N. Maclean (ed.), Silent Summer: The State of Wildlife in Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 141-150.

    Bennion, H., Sayer, C.D., Tibby J. & Carrick, H. (2010) Diatoms as indicators of environmental change in shallow lakes. In J.P. Smol & E.F. Stoermer (eds), The Diatoms: Applications for the Environmental and Earth Sciences (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 152-173.

    Holmes J., Sayer C.D., Liptrott E., Hoare D.J. (2010) Complex controls on ostracod faunal palaeoecology in a shallow, coastal brackish-water lake: implications for palaeosalinity reconstruction. Freshwater Biology, 55, 2484-2498.

    Salgado, J., Sayer, C.D., Carvalho, L., Davidson, T.A. & Gunn, I. (2010) Assessing aquatic macrophyte community change through the integration of palaeolimnological and historical data at Loch Leven, Scotland. Journal of Paleolimnology, 43, 191-204.

    Rawcliffe, R., Sayer, C.D., Woodward, G., Grey, J., Davidson, T.A. & Jones, J.I. (2010) Back to the future: using palaeolimnology to infer long-term changes in shallow lake food webs. Freshwater Biology, 55, 600-613.

    Sayer, C.D., Davidson, T.A., Jones, I.J. & Langdon, P.G. (2010) Combining contemporary ecology and palaeolimnology to understand shallow lake ecosystem change. Freshwater Biology, 55, 487-499.

    Sayer, C.D., Davidson, T.A. & Jones, J.I. (2010) Seasonal dynamics of macrophytes and phytoplankton in shallow lakes: a eutrophication-driven pathway from plants to plankton. Freshwater Biology, 55, 500-513.

    Davidson, T.A., Sayer, C.D., Langdon, P.G., Burgess, A. & Jackson, M.J. (2010) Inferring past zooplanktivorous fish and macrophyte density from sub-fossil cladoceran assemblages: Application of a new regression tree model. Freshwater Biology, 55, 584-599.

    Davidson, T.A., Sayer, C.D., Perrow, M. & Jeppesen E. (2010) The simultaneous inference of zooplanktivorous fish and macrophyte density from sub-fossil cladoceran assemblages: A multivariate regression tree approach. Freshwater Biology, 55, 546-564.

    Sayer, C.D., Burgess, A., Kari, K., Peglar, S., Davidson, T.A., Yang, H. & Rose, N. (2010) Long-term dynamics of submerged macrophytes and algae in a small and shallow, eutrophic lake: implications for the stability of macrophyte-dominance. Freshwater Biology, 55, 565-583.

    Langdon, P.G., Ruiz, Z., Wynne, S., Sayer, C.D. & Davidson, T.A. (2010) Ecological influences on larval chironomid communities in shallow lakes: implications for palaeolimnological interpretations. Freshwater Biology, 55, 531-545.

    Selected pre-2010

    Sayer, C.D., Davidson, T.A., & Kelly, A. (2008) Ornamental lakes - an overlooked conservation resource? Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 18, 1046-1051.

    Ayres K., Sayer C.D., Perrow, M. & Skeate, E. (2008) The contribution of palaeolimnology to shallow lake management: an example from Upton Great Broad, Norfolk, UK. Biodiversity and Conservation 17, 2153-2168.

    Zambrano, L., Perrow, M.R., Sayer, C.D., Tomlinson, M.L. & Davidson, T.A. (2007) Relationships between fish feeding guild and trophic structure in English lowland shallow lakes subject to anthropogenic influence: implications for lake restoration. Aquatic Ecology 40, 391-405.

    Reid, M.A., Sayer C.D., Kershaw, A.P. & Heijnis, H. (2007) Palaeolimnological evidence for submerged plant loss in a floodplain lake associated with accelerated catchment soil erosion (Murray River, Australia). Journal of Paleolimnology 38, 191-208.

    Davidson, T.A., Sayer, C.D., Perrow, M.R., Bramm, M. & Jeppesen, E. (2007) Are the controls of species composition similar for contemporary and sub-fossil cladoceran assemblages? - A study of 39 shallow lakes of contrasting trophic status. Journal of Paleolimnology 38, 117-134.

    Hill, S.L.L., Sayer, C.D., Hammond, P.M., Rimmer, V.K., Davidson, T.A., Hoare, D.J., Burgess, A. & Okamura, B. (2007) Are rare species rare or just overlooked? Assessing the distribution of the freshwater bryozoan, Lophopus crystallinus. Biological Conservation 135, 223-234.

    Sayer, C.D., Jackson, M.J., Hoare, D.J., Waldock, M.J., Simpson, G.L., Boyle, J.F., Jones, J. I., Appleby, P.G., Liptrot, E.R. & Henderson, A.C.G. (2006) TBT causes regime shift in shallow lakes. Environmental Science & Technology 40, 5269-5275.

    Zhao, Y., Sayer, C.D., Birks, H.H., Peglar, S.M. & Hughes, M. (2006) Spatial representation of aquatic vegetation by macrofossil and pollen remains in a small and shallow lake. Journal of Paleolimnology 35, 335-350.

    Davidson, T.A., Sayer, C.D., Bennion, H., David, C., Rose, N. & Wade, M. (2005) A 250 year comparison of historical, macrofossil and pollen records of aquatic plants in a shallow lake. Freshwater Biology 50, 1671-1686.

    Davidson, T.A., Sayer, C.D., Perrow, M.R. & Tomlinson, M.L. (2003) Representation of fish communities by scale sub-fossils in shallow lakes: implications for inferring cyprinid-percid shifts. Journal of Paleolimnology 30, 441-449.

    Jones, J.I. & Sayer, C.D. (2003) Does the fish-invertebrate-periphyton cascade precipitate plant loss in shallow lakes? Ecology 84, 2155-2167.

    Bennion, H., Simpson, G., Battarbee, R.W., Cameron, N.G., Curtis, C., Flower, R.J., Hughes, M., Jones, V.J., Kernan, M., Monteith, D.T., Patrick, S.T., Rose, N.L., Sayer, C.D. and Yang, H. (2002) Environmental Change in Scottish Freshwaters. In Usher et al., (eds) The State of Scotland’s Natural Heritage. Scottish Natural Heritage, Edinburgh, 145-152.

    Sayer, C.D. (2001) Problems with the application of diatom-total phosphorus transfer functions: Examples from a shallow English Lake. Freshwater Biology 46, 743-757.


    Popular articles

    Sayer, C.D. & Greaves, H. (2019) Riverlands involved in Norfolk Ponds Project “Big50”. Newsletter of the Upper Bure Valley Partnership, November, 2019. p. 4.

    Sayer, C.D. & Greaves, H. (2019) Norfolk Ponds Project Big50 – Saving Norfolk’s Farmland Ponds. Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Tern magazine. p. 8.

    Sayer, C.D. (2018) Conserving Glaven Farmland Ponds and the Great Twin Pond Dig. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Spring 2018, p. 8-9.

    Sayer, C.D. (2017) Eels in ponds – A Glaven story emerging. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Autumn 2017, p. 9-10.

    Lewis, J., Walton, R. & Sayer, C.D. (2017) The secret functions of farmland ponds: studying the role of pond management for birds and plant-pollinators. Freshwater Biological Association News, 77 (Spring), 12-14.

    Sayer, C.D. (2017) Norfolk Crucian Project – saving Norfolk’s farmland pond crucians. Crucian Chronicle Issue 1.

    Gleeson, C. (2017) Boost biodiversity by restoring ponds. Farmers Guardian, April 14th, p. 30-31. Article based on interview with me.

    Sayer, C.D. & Greaves, H. (2017) Conserving Norfolk’s Ponds. Newsletter of the Upper Bure Valley Partnership, January 2017, p. 3.

    R.V. Lansdown, R.V., Sayer, C.D., Shaw, M.W. & Stevens, P. (2016) Two new occurrences of Najas marina outside its traditional British range. BSBI News, January 2016, 131, 18-19.

    Alderton, E., Wicker, C., Sayer, C.D. & Bradley, P. (2015) The diet of the Malham Tarn otters: understanding the impacts of a native predator. Proceedings of the 2013 Malham Research Seminar. Field Studies, August, 2015, 1-6.

    Sayer C.D. (2015) University College London projects in the freshwaters of the Yorkshire Dales. Freshwater Biological Association News, 66 (Summer-Autumn), 6-8.

    Greaves, H. & Sayer, C.D. (2015) Aquatic restoration in the UK: underlying principles and possibilities. Freshwater Biological Association News, 66 (Summer-Autumn), 21-22.

      Sayer, C.D. (2014) Conserving Norfolk's Ponds. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter.
      Autumn 2014, p. 2-4.

      Sayer, C.D. (2014) Conserving the remarkable European eel. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter. Spring 2014, p. 6-7.

      Sayer C.D. (2014) Norfolk’s Ponds. Norfolk FWAG Newsletter, Summer 2015, p. 2.

      Sayer C.D. (2014) Pond Conservation Advice. Magazine of the British Dragonfly Society
      Spring 2014
      , p. 2-3.

      Sayer C.D. (2014) Managing British Ponds. Response to Martin Hammond “Wildlife value of British ponds” Letter in British Wildlife 25(3). British Wildlife 25(6) p. 454-455.

      Sayer C.D. (2014) Conserving Norfolk’s Ponds. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter,
      Autumn 2014
      , p. 4-5.

      Baker, A.& Sayer, C.D. (2014) Can connectivity mitigate the adverse effect of eutrophication on shallow lake biodiversity and ecosystem services? FBA News, No. 63 Summer 2014, page 15.

      Sayer C.D. (2014) Conserving the remarkable European eel. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Spring 2014, p. 4-5.

      Sayer C.D. (2014) The Glaven: Source of Inspiration. Norfolk Coast Guardian, p. 6.

      Sayer, C.D. (2013) Bayfield Lake: The secret history. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter.
      Spring 2013, p. 2.

      Thompson M.S.A., Brooks S.J., Sayer C.D. & Woodward G. (2012) Searching for clarity: Does habitat enhancement work? Salmo Trutta: The Annual Journal of the Wild Trout Trust, p. 52-53.

      Wiik, E., Sayer, C.D., Bennion, H., Davidson, T.A. & Clarke, S. (2012) Malham Tarn - a marl lake recovering or degrading? Proceedings of the Malham Tarn Research Seminar, p. 33-36.

      Sayer C.D. (2011) Himalayan balsam update – the battle continues. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Autumn 2011, p. 3.

      Sayer C.D., Copp G. & Wesley K.J. (2011) Saving the crucian carp. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Autumn 2011, p. 4.

      Sayer C.D., Almeida D., Copp G., Sayer D.C.G., Linford T., Cornwall C. & Murai M. (2011) What do otters eat in the Glaven catchment? River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Spring 2011, p. 6.

      Shepherd V., Barr S., Sayer C.D. & Leach T. (2010) Glaven Herd – a conservation success. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Spring 2010, p. 4.

      Sayer C.D., Copp G.H, Wesley K.J. (2010) The crucian carp: Norfolk’s New BAP species. Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership Winter Update 2010, p. 8.

      Sayer C.D. (2009) The crucian carp: a native species on the brink. Norfolk Non-native Species Initiative Newsletter, Issue 2, April 2009.

      Sayer C.D. (2009) Otters are back but what are the eating? River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Autumn, 2009, p. 6.

      Sayer C.D. (2008) Crucian carp: a native species on the brink. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Autumn 2008, p. 3.

      Sayer C.D. & Shilland E. (2008) Great Crested Newt: The discovery of pond heavan! River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Spring 2008, p. 3.

      Sayer C.D. (2006) Histories of underwater weeds. NERC Planet Earth, summer 2006. p. 22-23.

      Sayer C.D. (2006) The crystal clear waters of Selbrigg Pond. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Spring 2006, p. 4.

      Devenish E.S. & Sayer C.D. (2007) A review of the ecology and conservation of the neotropical river otter, Lontra longicaudis (Ofers, 1818), with special reference to Trinidad. Journal of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club, August, 2007, p. 8-11.

      Sayer C.D. (2005) Sea trout in the River Glaven. River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Spring 2005, p. 5.

      Sayer C.D. (2004) Stoneworts - have you seen them? River Glaven Conservation Group Newsletter, Autumn 2004, p. 3.


      Research reports

      Harwood, A., Berridge, R., Perrow, M., Piper, A., Sayer, C. (2019). Understanding European eel (Anguilla anguilla) ecology within a Norfolk river catchment to inform eel management. Norwich: ECON Ecological Consultancy Ltd.

      Goldsmith, B., Sayer, C. (2016). Post-Restoration Nutrient Monitoring: Felbrigg Lake. ECRC Research Report Number 174. London: Ensis Ltd.

      Sayer, C.D., Boyle, J., Emson, D., Goldsmith, B., Patmore, I.R., Shilland, J. & Yang. H. (2015) Recent heavy metal contamination of the Thurne Broads. Report to the Broads Authority. ECRC Research Report Number 165.

      Phillips, G., Bennion, H., Perrow, M., Sayer, C.D., Spears, B., Willby, N. (2015) A review of lake restoration practices and their performance in the Broads National Park, 1980-2013. Report for Broads Authority and Natural England.

      Goldsmith, B., Lambert, S., Henderson, G., Sayer, C.D., Goodrich, S.Shilland, J. and Matyskova, V. (2014) Hoveton Great Broad macrophyte study: Using the sediment record to inform lake restoration. ECRC Research Report Number 161.

      Alderton E, Sayer C.D., Nobes G, Shilland E, Axmacher J.A. & Lambert S.J. (2014) The Ghost Ponds Project – Report No. 2. Report to the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership.

      Alderton, E. & Sayer, C.D. (2014) “Ghost ponds”: Resurrecting lost ponds and species to assist aquatic conservation. Report No. 1. Report to the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership.

      Goldsmith, B., Lambert, S.J., Davidson T.A., Salgado, J., Yang, H. and Sayer, C.D. (2013). Restoration of Anglesey Marl Lakes: germination of plants in deep sediments. CCW Contract Science Report No: 1027, 31pp, CCW, Bangor.

      Sayer, C.D. & Robinson, P. (2012) Crassula invasion levels and success of recent eradication attempts at the Thompson Common pingo ponds. Final Report to the Norfolk Non-Native Species Initiative. ECRC Research Report No. 153.

      Goldsmith, B.J, Shilland, E.M, Bennion, H,B, Sayer, C.D., Salgado, J, Burgess, A & Darwell, A. (2010) Lake macrophyte and habitat surveys for the Water Framework Directive, 2010: Final Data Report to the Environment Agency.

      Bennion H., Goldsmith B.J., Clarke G., Rawcliffe R., Rose N., McGowan, S., Willby N., Davidson T.A, Sayer C.D., Panizzo V. & Roe K. (2010) Using novel palaeolimnological techniques to define lake conservation objectives for three Cheshire meres. Final Report to Natural England. ECRC Research Report No. 146.

      Sayer, C.D., Copp G.H., Emson D., Godard M.J., ZiębaG. & Wesley K.J. (2009) The decline of crucian carp Carassius carassius in its native English range: the example of rural ponds in north Norfolk. Report to the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership. ECRC Research Report No. 139.

      Davidson T.A., Clarke G., Rawcliffe R., Roe K., Rose N., Sayer, C.D. & Turner S. (2009) Defining lake restoration targets for Llyn Cadarn: A palaeolimnological approach. ECRC Research Report No. 133.

      Jones J.I., McGowan S., Sayer C.D. & Rawcliffe R. (2009) The ecology and conservation of ribbon-leaved water-plantain (Alisma gramineum Lejeune) in the United Kingdom. Natural England Contract No. SAE03-02-202.

      Bennion H., Rawcliffe R., Burgess A., Clarke G., Davidson T., Rose C., Rose N, Sayer C.D., & Turner S. (2009) Using novel palaeolimnological techniques to define lake conservation objectives. Final Report to Natural England. Natural England Commissioned Report No. 22.

      Bennion H., Rawcliffe R., Burgess A., Davidson T., Sayer C.D., Rose N. & Clarke S. (2009) Using novel palaeolimnological techniques to define lake conservation objectives (Phase 2). Final Report to Natural England. ECRC Research Report No.135.

      Sayer C.D., Goldsmith B., Davidson T.A. & Hughes M. (2008) Nutrient Sources to Blickling Hall Lake. Final Report to the National Trust. ECRC Research Report No. 131.

      Bennion H., Clarke G., Davidson T., Rose C., Rose N., Turner S. & Sayer C.D. (2008) Using novel palaeolimnological techniques to define lake conservation objectives (Phase 1). Final Report to Natural England. ECRC Research Report No.126.

      Hughes M., Sayer C.D., Davidson T.A. (2008) Conservation value of non-Broads lakes in Norfolk: Final Report to to Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership. ECRC Research Report No. 125.

      Davidson T.A., Appleby P.G., Clarke G., Morley D., Rose N., Sayer C.D., Tuffin S. & Turner S. (2008) A palaeoecological study of Rockland Broad. ECRC Research Report No. 124.

      Davidson T.A., Clarke G., Morley D., Rose N., Turner S. & Sayer C.D. (2008) Palaeoecological investigation of the past biological structure and function of the Trinity Broads: Report to the Trinity Broads Partnership. ECRC Research Report No. 122.

      Shilland E. & Sayer C.D. (2006) Pond amphibian survey: Manor Farm, Melton Constable, Norfolk. ECRC Research Report No. 118.

      Davidson T.A., Hoare D., Morley D., Cundy A. & Sayer C.D. (2006) Reconstructing the macrophyte flora of three Broads: A palaeolimnological analysis. Report to the Broads Authority. ECRC Research Report No. 106.

      Rose N.L., Appleby P.G., Sayer C.D. & Bennion H. (2005) Sediment accumulation in the Broads. Final Report to the Broads Authority. ECRC Research Report No. 101.

      Skeate E.R., Perrow M.R., Sayer C.D., Wheeler B., Shaw S., Hughes M., Shilland E. & Ayres K. (2004) A feasibility study into the restoration of Upton Broad including potential sediment removal. Final Report to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

      Perrow M.R., Sayer C.D., Skeate E.R., Shilland E.M., Goldsmith B.J. & Hughes M.J. (2004) The future management of Falcondale Lake Site of Special Scientific Interest, Ceredigion. CCW Contract Report No. 620.

      Hoare D.J., Sayer C.D., Liptrot E., Emson D., Bennion H., Appleby P.G. & Waldock M.J. (2004) Tributyltin (TBT) and the decline of the Norfolk Broads: Hickling Broad and Barton Broads. Final Report to DEFRA. ECRC Research Report No. 96.

      Goldsmith B.J., Hoare D.J., Jones J.I., Nobes G.N. & Sayer C.D. (2004) A biological survey of the Blakeney Freshes: North Norfolk. Report to the National Trust. ECRC Research Report No. 95.

      Bennion H., Burgess A., Boyle P.G., Appleby P.G., Rose N., Sayer C.D. & Theophile S. (2003) Sediment survey of the Suffolk Broads. Final Report to English Nature on Contract No. NB/T/806/02-04. ECRC Research Report No. 92.

      Goldsmith, B.J., Luckes, S.J., Bennion, H., Carvalho, L., Hughes, M., Appleby P.G. & Sayer C.D. (2003) Feasibility studies on the restoration needs of four lake SSSIs. Final Report to English Nature, Contract No. EIT 30-05-005. ECRC Research Report No. 87.

      Sayer C.D., Jackson M.J., Simpson G.L., Waldock M.J., Reed J., Henderson A.C.G., Boyle J.F. & Appleby P.G. (2001) Tributyltin (TBT) and the decline of the Norfolk Broads. Final Report to DEFRA. ECRC Research Report No. 83.


      Biodiversity Action Plans

      Copp, G.H. & Sayer, C.D. (2010). Norfolk Biodiversity Action Plan – Local species Action Plan for Crucian Carp. Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership Reference:LS/3.

        Research ethos

        I am a passionate environmentalist with a research interest in aquatic habitats, including ponds, lakes and rivers. I was born in a small Norfolk village surrounded by ponds and developed a very early passion for natural history, especially in freshwaters. I now undertake research into the current-day ecology and ecological history of aquatic habitats and make major efforts to transfer scientific findings into practical conservation and restoration action. I am especially keen on landscape-scale ideas in conservation and in re-wilding approaches that put into place natural recovery processes. My research comes under a number of key themes:

        Pond restoration research

        A major part of my conservation-led research has been focused on ponds, especially in farmland landscapes. The Pond Restoration Research Group pages give details of this work which includes studies of pond terestralisation, pond restoration by tree and scrub removal, and influences of terrestrialisation, pond management and fish on landscape-scale biodiversity., including pollinators, birds and bats. An important part of this research is focused on the recovery of rare pond species, especially the crucian carp (Carassius carassius), a fish which has been in steep decline in the UK since the 1970s.

        Pond restoration research

        Shallow lake ecology and palaeoecology

        Research in this field has centred on the interface between contemporary shallow lake ecology and palaeoecology. A key research strand has been the reconstruction of centennial-scale changes to the submerged macrophyte communities of shallow lakes using plant macro-remains. Combined with studies of plant seasonality, this work has alluded to some of the key pathways and mechanisms that underly eutrophication-induced plant loss in shallow lakes. Much work has also focused on the development of new palaeolimnological procedures suitable for analysing lesser studied fossil remains in sediment cores, especially from invertbrates and fishes.

        River restoration research

        I have a strong interest in the restoration of lowland chalk rivers, inspired by my work with the River Glaven Conservation Group. This research seeks to determine the hydro-ecological consequences of key river restoration techniques, especially river-floodplain re-connection, re-meandering, the use of large wood and the introduction of beavers.


        I am a great fan of the rewilding movement and of giving wetland habitats the chance to self-heal via natural processes. In this respect I am passionate on the need to set farming back from UK rivers and associated floodplain wetlands and to allow for a nature-driven ecological recovery. My ideas are summarised in this Blog post for Wild East.


        Conservation of the European eel

        Recently I have started some research into the distribution and passage of the European eel in the catchment of the River Glaven, Norfolk.  A major focus of this work is the use of headwater ponds and grazing marsh ditch systems by eels and their potential importance for eel conservation. I am undertaking studies of elver recruitment. A major source of information for these studies are the stories and experiences provided by local people, especially the Great Roger Grady, a retired eel catcher.

        The great Roger Grady with a freshwater eel caught using fyke-nets.

        I am a great believer in the need to transfer research findings and scientific knowledge into practical conservation action and policy. In these respects I am a regular speaker to local interest groups, natural history societies, landowners and the general public with regards to lake, pond and river conservation. I am a regular adviser to the Natural England, Broads Authority, Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership, National Trust and the Norfolk Rivers Trust on aquatic conservation issues.

        I am a co-founder of the River Glaven Conservation Group (RGCG) which has led the way in terms of river-catchment conservation and restoration in East Anglia over the last decade, winning a number of river restoration and biodiversity awards.

        I co-founded founded the Norfolk Ponds Project (NPP) in 2014 with Helen Greaves. The NPP aims to promote and enact pond conservation and restoration in Norfolk, whilst influencing UK conservation policy more generally. Each year we arrange pond restorations, pond restoration workshops for landowners and farmers and attend agricultural shows and other events to promote the NPP.

        I have written several popular articles and blog posts to help inform UK aquatic conservation and to publicise UCL research. Also I have made a number of TV (BBC News, Countryfile) and Radio (BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5, BBC Local Radio) appearances especially to promote the work of the Norfolk Ponds Project. Do listen to this Radio 4 Open Country episode for a flavour of the work that the NPP does.

        In 2015 I received the Provost's award for UCL "Engager of the Year".


        Convenor of MSc in Aquatic Conservation, Ecology & Restoration

        GEOG0108 Scientific Basis for Freshwater and Coastal Conservation (Convenor)

        GEOG0173 Aquatic Systems and Monitoring (With Fieldclass) (Contributor)

        GEOG0096 Lakes (Contributor & Convenor in 2019-20)

        GEOG0095 Aquatic Macrophytes (Convenor)

        GEOG0122 Biological Indicators of Environmental Change (Contributor)

        Undergraduate teaching

        GEOG0037 Undergraduate dissertation (Contributor)

        PhD Current (6 students)

        Reagan Pearce: Bringing back the burbot (2020-present)

        Tahir Khanzada: Palaeoecological approach to assist aquatic conservation at the catchment scale (2019-present)

        Eftesum Eftesum: Palaeoecology of farmland ponds and implications for conservation (2019-present)

        David Downes: Restoration of farmland pond landscapes (2018-present - part-time)

        Lucia Lecioni: Recent responses of Scottish Lochs to eutrophication, climate change and lake restoration inferred from palaeolimnology (2014-present - part-time)

        Helen Greaves: Assessing the value of pond management for biodiversity conservation (2011-present - part-time)


        PhD Previous (22 students)

        Eleri Pritchard: Impacts of signal crayfish on UK upland stream biota (2017-2021)

        Jonathan Lewis-Phillips: Contribution of pond management to avian diversity and abundance on farms in lowland England (2015-2019)

        Richard Walton: The pond pollinator pantry: Assessing how pond management influences pollinators in the UK farmland landscape (2015-2019)

        Lucy Roberts: Reconstruction and impact of salinity change in coastal lakes (2014-2018)

        Emily Smith: Conduits of invasive aquatic species to the UK: The Angling route (2014-2018)

        Dan Chadwick: Conservation of the White-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes in the face of invasive non-native species pressures (2015-2019)

        Sara Varandas: Hyrdrological influences on invertebrate communities in coastal temporary ponds

        Isabel Bishop: Assessing the changing status of Najas flexilis in Scottish mesotrophic lochs using the sediment record: implications for conservation (2011-2018)

        Hannah Robson: Causes of decline in the common scoter: Evidence from palaeoecology (2013-2017)

        Emily Alderton:Ghost ponds”: resurrecting lost ponds and species to assist aquatic biodiversity conservation (2013-2017)

        Hannah Clilverd: Hydroecological monitoring and modelling of river-floodplain restoration in a UK lowland river meadow (part-time, 2007-2016)

        Luke Mitchell: Hydrogeomorphic succession of rehabilitated gravel habitat and implications for salmonid spawning (2010-2015)

        Dave Emson: Palaeoecological studies in ponds to explore past Lemna abundances and consequences for pond food-webs (2006-2014 - part-time)

        Murray Thompson: Consequences of woody debris introduction in lowland chalk rivers and implications for restoration ecology (2009-2014)

        Victoria Shepherd: Coleopteran diversity in floodplain ecosystems (2008-2012)

        Jorge Salgado: The relative importance of eutrophication and connectivity in structuring biological communities of the upper Lough Erne system, Northern Ireland (2007-2012)

        Emma Wiik: Understanding the ecological response of marl lakes to enrichment: a combined limnological and palaeolimnological approach (2008-2012)

        Xuhui Dong: Using diatom to understand climate-nutrient interaction in shallow lakes: evidence from observational and paleolimnological records (2006-2010)

        Genevieve Madgwick: Macrophyte community change in two lowland lake districts in the
        UK (2005-2009)

        Daniel Hoare: Did boat-derived toxicity lead to plant loss in the Norfolk Broads shallow lakes? (2003-2007)

        Tom Davidson: Zooplankton ecology and palaeoecology in nutrient enriched shallow lakes; (2002-2006)

        Amy Burgess: The potential of UK lowland reservoirs for the development of diatom-nutrient palaeolimnological inference models (2000-2004)


        MSc students:

        I have supervised 77 MSc students since 2000 (53 distinctions)

        Recent funding (since 2000)

        Consultancy projects for conservation agencies

        Approximately £600,000 of consultancy from Natural England, National Trust, Norfolk Wildlife Trust Broads Authority, Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership, Countryside Council for Wales and Environment Agency managed through ENSIS Ltd.

        Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

        2015: £3.65M (FEC) and £789,040 to UCL for NERC Consortium Grant (Co-I) on “Hydroscape: Connectivity x stressor interaction in freshwater habitats” (UCL PI Neil Rose, other UCL Co-Is Jones, Bennion)

        2014-2015: £12,308 from NERC Impact Accelerator Award Phase III (PI). "Norfolk Ponds Partnership project"

        2013-2014: £64,971 for NERC Urgency Grant (Co-I) on Quantifying ecosystem resilience: catastrophic collapse and recovery of a large river food web”

        2013-2015: £148,000 for NERC BESS project (PI) on “Dispersal and biodiversity impacts on community assembly and ecosystem services in shallow lake landscapes” NE/K015486/1

        2011-2014: £79,000 for NERC Industrial CASE PhD Studentship (PI) on Assessing the value of pond management for biodiversity conservation

        2008-2012: £78,000 for NERC CASE PhD Studentship (Co-I) on Understanding the ecological response of marl lakes to enrichment: a combined limnological and palaeolimnological approach”

        2006-2009: £49,592 for NERC Small Grant (PI) onFish kills and their consequences in shallow lakes: the potential of palaeolimnology” NE/D008344/1

        2004-2006: £24,910 for NERC Small Grant (PI) onAchieving species-level identification of fossil oospores from UK Characeae” NE/C515155/1

        2003-2004: £29,213 for NERC Small Grant (Co-I) on “Ecological influences on larval chironomid communities in shallow lakes: implications for palaeolimnological interpretations” NER/B/S/2003/00824

        2000-2002: £34,000 for NERC Small Grant (Co-I) on Assessing the value of plant macrofossil records in shallow lakes” NER/M/S/2000/00320

        1999-2000: £35,011 for NERC Small Grant (PI) onPalaeoecological methods for reconstructing past fish communities in shallow lakes” GR8/04350

        1998-2002: c.£150,000 for NERC Fellowship (PI-Fellow) on Inferring eutrophication-related changes in the trophic structure and biodiversity of shallow lakes” GT5/98/22/CB

        British Ecological Society

        2016- £1899 “Outreach Award” from the British Ecological Society on “Adopt a Pond (Pilot Project) – The Big Twin Pond Dig” (with Helen Greaves)

        Royal Society

        2004-2006: c.£18,000 for Joint Project Grant between between UCL and the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, China (Co-I) on Palaeolimnology and shallow lake ecosystem restoration

        1999-2000: c.£25,000 China Fellowship Grant to Carl Sayer (PI) for Yan Zhao on “Representation of aquatic vegetation by macrofossil remains in a shallow lake


          2015: £9418 (PI) for “Influencing UK farming sustainability and nature conservation via the Norfolk Ponds Project” from UCL’s Higher Education Innovation Fund allocation.


            2003-2004: £1250 (PI) Tributyltin contamination of the Norfolk Broads II

            2001-2002: £5000 (PI) Tributyltin contamination of the Norfolk Broads I

            European Union

            2020- 310,000 Euros to UCL (PI) to UCL for Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation project “Pond Ecosystems For Resilient Future Landscapes in a Changing Climate (PONDERFUL)

            2010-2014: c. 227,000 Euros going to UCL (Participant) for FP7 project “Biodiversity of Freshwater Ecosystems: Status, Trends, Pressures, and Conservation Priorities (BIOFRESH)
            Contract No. 226874

            2004-2009: c. 1.5 M Euros to UCL (Participant) for FP6 project Integrated Project to Evaluate the Impacts of Global Change on European Freshwater Ecosystems (EURO-LIMPACS)

            National Science Foundation of China (NSFC)

            2012-2014: £24,645 =250,000 RMB (Co-I) for Historical patterns and mechanisms of aquatic plant changes in large shallow lakes: a case study on Liangzi Lake Project No. 41102105