Dr Paul Morris

Dr Paul Morris


I hold the role of Lecturer in Ecohydrology. My research focuses on the interactions between the hydrological, ecological and biogeochemical processes that govern the past, present and future of the world's wetlands. 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.

Current Roles

Since 2016: Lecturer in Ecohydrology
Since 2015: Disability Support Officer (School of Geography)

Previous Academic Posts

2014-2016: Teaching Fellow, University of Leeds
2011-2014: Research Scientist, University of Reading
2009-2011: Postdoctoral Fellow, McMaster University, Canada


Research interests

Key Research Themes

  • 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.

Key Publications (full publication list below)

Xu J, Morris PJ, Liu J, Holden J (2018) Hotspots of peatland-derived potable water use identified by global analysis. Nature Sustainability, 1: 246–253. Access without subscription: https://rdcu.be/Olcg. DOI: 10.1038/s41893-018-0064-6

Morris PJ, Swindles GT, Valdes PJ, Ivanovic RF, Gregoire LJ, Smith MW, Tarasov L, Haywood AM, Bacon KL (2018) Global peatland initiation driven by regionally asynchronous warming. PNAS, 115: 4,851–4,856. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1717838115

Xu J, Morris PJ, Liu J, Holden J (2018) PEATMAP: Refining estimates of global peatland distribution based on a meta-analysis. Catena, 160: 134–140. DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2017.09.010

Morris PJ, Baird AJ, Young DM, Swindles GT (2015). Untangling climate signals from autogenic changes in long-term peatland development. Geophysical Research Letters, 42: 10,788–10,797. DOI: 10.1002/2015GL066824

Swindles GT, Morris PJ, Baird AJ, Blaauw M, Plunkett G (2012). Ecohydrological feedbacks confound peat-based climate reconstructions. Geophysical Research Letters, 39: L11401. DOI: 10.1029/2012GL051500


<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

Student education

During academic year 2018-19 I will contribute to the teaching on the following modules: 

Level 1 Undergraduate

  • Environmental Change: Past and Future (module leader in Semester 2)
  • Data Analysis in Physical Geography (module leader in Semester 2)

Level 2 Undergraduate

  • Mallorca Field Class
  • Mallorca Field Class
  • Level 2 Tutorials

Level 3 Undergraduate

  • Timescales of Global Change
  • Dissertation

Current PhD Students

Marie ArnaudBelowground Carbon Cycling in Mangrove Forests. Funded by Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship, 2016-2019.

Jiren XuThe Role of Peatlands in Global Water Resource Provision. Funded by Chinese Scholarships Council, 2015-2018. 

Current MSc Research Students

Richard Fewster. Climate Space of Permafrost Peatlands. University of Leeds, self funded, 2018-19.

Tom Sim. Response of Arctic Permafrost Peatlands to Climate Change. Part funded by Ecology and Global Change Research Cluster, 2017-18.

Liam TaylorChanging Hydrology and Carbon Storage of Permafrost Peatlands. Part funded by Ecology and Global Change Research Cluster, 2017-18.

Former Student

Peter Gill. MSc by Research. Simulating Blanket Peatland Development over Millennial Timescales Using a New Version of the DigiBog Model. Self funded, 2016-2018.

Research groups and institutes

  • River Basin Processes and Management
<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://environment.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>