Centre for Research in Environment and Society (CeRES)

We are one of the most active research centres within the University. Our staff engage with a wide range of other departments in universities and research institutes around the world. 

We focus on three linked fundamental elements, namely

1. environment-society interactions;

2. environmental processes and change;

3. governance through regulation, management policies and stakeholder involvement.

Our centre is methodologically innovative and interdisciplinary by transcending and blending the traditions of the:

  • natural sciences (physical geography) and,
  • social sciences and humanities (human geography).

To facilitate our work we have established a number of research groups:

Our research projects

Deforesting Europe
When was Europe transformed from a land of forests to its current land-cover mosaic? In this Leverhulme-funded project (2011-2015) the 'pseudobiomization' approach, which assigns pollen types to different land cover classes, was developed and refined.

Changing the Face of the Mediterranean
The lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea are the product of a distinctive climate and natural environment that have been transformed by human activities over many millennia (Walsh 2014).  This Leverhulme Trust funded project (2015-2018) investigates the influence of fluctuating population on the development of iconic Mediterranean landscape creation using two widely available sources of data, namely pollen and archaeological records.

Reconstructing the 'Wildscape'; Thorne and Hatfield Moors Hidden Landscapes
This five year (2016-2021), HLF funded project is being led by Dr Nicki Whitehouse at Plymouth University, in collaboration with researchers at the University College Cork, the University of Birmingham and the Thorne and Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum. Peat and other organic deposits represent a unique resource for reconstructing how the local environment and its cultural landscape looked like, why they look the way they do today and how they could be restored as fully functioning ecosystems.

Sedilink
Evaluating impacts of historic mining on sediment quality in the coastal zone, this project brings a cross-disciplinary collaboration between EU universities (University of Plymouth, UK and University of Basque Country, Spain), opening opportunities of new collaborative research.

IMIXSED Project
The central goal of the IMIXSED Project (Integrating isotopic techniques with Bayesian modelling for improved assessment and management of global sedimentation problems) is to marry together the strengths of isotopic sediment tracer technology in the EU, with ecological source apportionment models developed by US scientists, to deliver a powerful tool to combat threats to global food and water security.

'Jali ardhi' - 'Care for the Land' project
The Jali ardhi project is evaluating the impact of soil erosion on both the environmental and social wellbeing of communities in East Africa. The project aims to (a) evidence the need for land management adaption and (b) map out potential behavioural changes and how these can be embedded in the design and implementation of soil conservation and restoration strategies.

Celtic Connections and Crannogs
This three year, AHRC funded project is being led by Dr Nicki Whitehouse here at Plymouth University, with Dr Kim Davies as PDRA. The project sets out to re-examine crannogs as both a cultural and environmental phenomenon that link Iron Age and Medieval communities of SW Scotland and N Ireland.

Fully funded PhD opportunities in human geography

The South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) is accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to provide postgraduate research training in the social sciences

The SWDTP is one of the UK’s largest centres of postgraduate research training for social scientists.

More details

Our research seminars

​At the heart of the regular round of activities undertaken within geography by its research community is the series of research seminars. These comprise presentations by academics drawn from within the School and invited from other institutions.

See what seminars are coming up

Research reports

Summaries of our yearly research activities can be found in our annual research reports.