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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Emeritus  /  Roger Flower

Roger Flower


Roger J. Flower
Professorial Research Fellow
Department of Geography
UCL – University College London
North-West Wing, Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, UK




Qualifications: B.Sc. Zoology & Botany (Joint Honours) University of London (1971), M.Sc. (Oceanography) University of Southampton (1973), D. Phil. University of Ulster (1980). Appointed to UCL Geography in 1981. Currently Professorial Research Fellow (since 2009)

Posts Held: Researcher at UCL since 1981 progressing to Professorial Research Fellow

Academic Peer Review: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), National Science Foundation (USA), National Geographic Society (USA). Journals: Journals:  Aquatic Ecology; Biological Conservation; Diatom Research; ; Earth Surface Processes and Landforms; Egyptian Journal Remote Sensing; Environmental Science & Technology; Hydrobiologia; Hydrological Processes; J. Paleolimnology; J. Ecology; Freshwater Biology. Associate editor of the scientific journal Diatom Research.


Summary of recently published papers

Flower, R.J, Keatings, K., Hamdan, M., Hassan, F., Boyle, J.F., Yamada, K & Yasuda, Y. 2012. The structure and significance of early Holocene laminated lake sediments in the Faiyum Depression (Egypt). Diatom Research, 27, 127–140

Yang. H., Xie, P., Leyi, N. & Flower, R. J. 2012. Pollution in the Yangtze. Science 337, 140.

Yang, H. & Flower, R.J. 2012. Effects of light and substrate on benthic diatoms in an oligotrophic lake. European Journal of Phycology. In press DOI: 10.1111

Hong, Y. & Flower, R.J. 2012. Potentially massive greenhouse-gas sources in proposed tropical dams. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 10, 234-235

Hassan, F., Hamdan, M. and Flower, R.J. 2011. The oxygen and carbon isotopic records in Holocene freshwater mollusk shells from the Faiyum paleolakes, Egypt. Quaternary International 266, 175-187.

Oczkowski, A.J., Flower, R.J., Thompson, J.R., Ayache, F., Ahmed, M.H., Ramdani, M., Turner, S. 2011. Evidence of North Africa's green revolution preserved in sedimentary organic matter deposited in three coastal lagoons. Ecological Applications 21, 1708-1717.

Abu-Zied, R.H., Keatings, K., Flower, R.J. & Leng, M.J. 2011. Benthic foraminifera and their stable isotope composition in sediment cores from Lake Qarun, Egypt: changes in water salinity during the past ~500 years. Journal of Paleolimnology 38: 261-283

Keatings, K., Holmes, J., Flower, R., Horne, D., Whittaker, J.E., and Abu-Zeid, R. 2010. Ostracods and the Holocene palaeolimnology of Lake Qarun, with special reference to past human–environment interactions in the Faiyum (Egypt). Hydrobiologia, 654:155–176.

Curtis, C.J., Flower, R., Rose, N., Shilland, J., Simpson, G., Turner, S., Yang, H. & Pla, S. 2010. Palaeolimnological assessment of lake acidification and environmental change in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta. Journal of Limnology, 69, 92-104.

My principal research interests concern environmental change in aquatic ecosystems specializing in limnology and palaeolimnology. My main specialist group of organisms is freshwater diatoms: their ecology and taxonomy.

Research Projects include: Sediment records of environmental change in  Lake Baikal (Siberia) Leverhulme, NERC and Darwin Initiative Projects 1991-1999. Diatom taxonomy and ecology of the Falkland Islands (FCO OTs project 2001-2003),  Coordinator of the CASSARINA Project (EU 4th Framework INCO Programme 1996-1999.  Coordinator of the MELMARINA Project (EU 6th Framework INCO Programme 2002-2006. People and climate: sediment records in Lake Qarun, Egypt (Leverhulme Grant 2003-2006), Sediment records and environmental change in the Faiyum and Saqqara, Egypt (British Academy  Grant 2007-2009)  Project manager on various small grants including those from Scottish Natural Heritage, Countryside Council for Wales, DEFRA, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Royal Society.

My research is inter-disciplinary and not only has influenced environmental change management in the UK and overseas but has also contributed significantly to the international scientific literature.  In the UK I have contributed to the recognition of the widespread problem of freshwater acidification that arose in the 1980s. Research is on-going but the main body of research led to the recognition that atmospheric deposition of acid pollution from fossil fuel energy generation as the principal cause.

In North Africa my research undertaken as part of the CASSARINA and MELMARINA projects led to the Tunisian Government’s site descriptions of Ghar El Melh and Megene Chitane being listing as internationally important sites under the Ramsar Convention. During the course of my overseas research I have provided training for environmental scientists and management practitioners in partner organizations that has enhanced their capacity to manage inland waters. This has included hydro-ecological monitoring programme design and operation for environmental scientists in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. In Canada, my research (with C. Curtis) in the tar sands region lead to the realization that the tar sands oil extract methods were not causing widespread water acidification. IN Lake Baikal my studies of diatoms and recent environmental change indicated that water quality of this immense lake was not severely impaired by pollution in the 1990s.

Tutorials and Undergraduate Courses including:

  • GEOG 3042: Freshwater Ecosystems.

Jessica Durkota: Distribution of hyporheic communities throughout a chalk catchment in south east England; Self funding with support from Environment Agency (part-time); 2008- ( co-supervisor with J. Thompson)

Mohammed Rahman: Modelling water and sediment fluxes to freshwater wetlands in Bangladesh; Ted Hollis Scholarship in Wetland Hydrology and Conservation; 2012- (co-supervisor with J. Thompson)

Hong Yang: Temporal and spatial patterns of diatoms in an upland Scottish Loch. Royal Society Funded 2006-2009.