Dr Paul J. Morris

Dr Paul J. Morris


My research aims to understand the role of wetlands in the Earth system, and their response to external drivers such as climate and human alteration. I am particularly interested in carbon-dense wetlands such as peatlands and mangroves. I use modelling, field and laboratory techniques in the pursuit of my research questions.

You can find a full list of my publications at the bottom of this page. 


  • Programme Leader: BSc Geography, BSc Geography and Geology
  • Leeds Quaternary Co-Leader

Research interests

  • The long-term (millennial) development of peatland and mangrove ecosystems, soils, carbon stores and hydrological functions. 
  • The response of peatlands to disturbances such as wildfire, future climate change and land-use change, on timescales that are meaningful to humans (seasonal to decadal). 
  • Improving process-based understanding of peatland hydrological processes, including groundwater-surface water interactions and controls on peat hydraulic properties.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • 2010: PhD, Queen Mary University of London
  • 2004: BSc Geography, University of Sheffield

Professional memberships

  • Since 2019: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Student education

I currently teach on the following undergraduate modules:

  • GEOG1055 Environmental Change: Past and Future (module leader)
  • GEOG1081 Data Analysis in Physical Geography (module leader in Semester 2)
  • GEOG2014 Field Class: The Dyanmic Environment (module leader)
  • GEOG2085 Ecosystems: Process, Pattern and Change
  • GEOG2095 Level 2 Dissertation Support Group
  • GEOG3605 Physical Geography Dissertation

Current PhD Students

Dan Colson. Remote Sensing of Recent Changes in Northern Peatlands. Funded by NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (2020-24).

Richard Fewster. The Past, Present and Future of Permafrost Peatlands. Funded by NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (2019-23).

Former PhD Students

Marie Arnaud. Belowground Carbon Cycling in Mangrove Forests. Funded by Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship (2016-20). Current employment: Research Fellow, National Institute for Ocean Science (IFREMER), La Rochelle, France.

Tom Sim. Response of Pan-Arctic Permafrost Peatlands to Climate Change. Funded by NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (2018-22). Current employment: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Exeter.

Jiren Xu. The Role of Peatlands in Global and Regional Drinking Water Resources. Jointly funded by Chinese Scholarship Council and University of Leeds (2015-19). Current employment: Research Fellow in Wetland Science, University of Leeds.

Former MSc by Research Students

Richard Fewster. Holocene Climate Space of North American Permafrost Peatlands. Self-funded (2018-19). Currently studying for a PhD with me. 

Peter Gill. Simulating Blanket Peatland Development over Millennial Timescales Using a New Version of the DigiBog Model. Self-funded (2016-18). After his MSc, Pete took a job as a Big-Data Engineer with HSBC.

Adam Hartley. Surface and near-surface runoff processes in peatland catchments. Self-funded (2020-20). Currently studying for a PhD at Queen Mary University of London.

Tom Sim. Pathways for Ecological Change in Canadian High Arctic Wetlands Under Rapid Twentieth Century Warming. Self-funded (2017-18). After his MSc, Tom studied for a PhD, and now works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Exeter.

Liam Taylor. Changing Hydrology and Carbon Storage of Permafrost Peatlands. Part-funded by Ecology and Global Change Research Cluster (2017-18). After his MSc, Liam studied for a PhD in glaciology at the University of Leeds, with Prof. Duncan Quincey and Dr. Mark Smith, before being appointed as a Lecturer at the University of Leeds

Research groups and institutes

  • River Basin Processes and Management

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1641-pan-tropical-analysis-of-peat-hydraulic-conductivity">Pan-tropical analysis of peat hydraulic conductivity</a></li>