Professor Peter Burkill

Professor Peter Burkill

Professor of Ocean Science

School of Biological & Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science & Engineering)


Currently:  Professor of Ocean Science
Also: President, Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR)

Visiting Scientist, National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India

Previously: Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS), Director (2007- 2011)
Marine Institute, Associate Director for Excellence (2008-2011)
Plymouth Marine Sciences Partnership Board, Member (2007-2011), Chairman (2007-2009) 
Plymouth Marine Science Education Forum, Chairman (2008-2011)


Fellow of the Institute of Biology (1998)
Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society (1990)
Chartered Biologist (1986)
PhD Oceanography University of Southampton (1978)
BSc Biology King's College, University of London (1972)


Professional membership

Marine Biological Association of the UK (since 1973)
Challenger Society (since 1975)
British Ecological Society (since 1978)
Royal Microscopical Society (since 1985; elected Fellow in 1990)
Institute of Biology (since 1986; elected Fellow in 1998)
American Society for Limnology & Oceanography (since 1996)

Roles on external bodies

Aquatic Microbial Ecology (Editorial Board April, 1996 – present)
DIVERSITAS International EcoServices Scientific Steering Committee (2004 – present)
International Committee for Marine Microbial Biodiversity (2005-present)
Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research President (2012-2016), Vice President (2006 – 2010)
Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar & Marine Science, Bremerhaven Germany, International Scientific Advisory Panel (2007 - present)
Anton Dohrn Stazione Zoologia, Naples, Italy. International Science Council (2008- present) 
Netherlands Institute for Ocean Science Scientific Stearing Committee (2009- present)
Portugese Funding Council (FCT) Marine Science & Technology Grants Panel Chair (2008- present)
EU Expert Group on Marine Observation & Data (EMODNET) Member (2008- present) 
Integrated Framework for Sustained Ocean Observations Task Team (2010 - present)
North Sea Task Team (2010- present)
Royal Society Global Environmental Research Working Group (1998 – 2011)
Royal Society Scientific Committee for Oceanic Research Working Group (National Representative: 1994 – present; Chairman: 2001- 2011)
HEFCE RAE 2001: Earth Sciences Board Adviser
HEFCE RAE 2008: Earth Systems & Environmental Sciences Panel Member
Scottish Association for Marine Science Council (2009-present)
HEFCE REF Trials 2010: Earth Systems & Environmental Sciences Panel Member (2010)
HEFCE 2014 REF Panel 7 Member for Earth Systems & Environmental Sciences (2011 - 2014)

Research interests

Biological Oceanography; Plankton Ecology; Marine Biogeochemistry; Marine Flow Cytometry; Marine Food-Webs; Marine Microbial Biodiversity; Microzooplankton Ecology; Plankton Trophodynamics; Plankton-climate interactions

Grants & contracts

56 personal research grants since 1988 worth £~10M

Co-Investigator / Principal Investigator on:  

NERC Grant NE/1030062 Going Global - internationalising the CPR Survey £232k over 3 years
NERC Grant NE/H01702X/1 Ocean Acidification Impacts on Sea Surface Biology £75k over 3 years
EU FP7 European Programme on Ocean Acidification £67k over 4 years
NERC Grant NE/E009719/1 Bacterioneuston of the air-sea microlayer £60k over 1 year.
NERC Grant NE/E1016138/1 Mixotrophic protists in oligotrophic gyres. £307k over 3 years
EPSRC/NERC Grant EP.E016774/1 Ruggedised microsystem technology for marine measurements £1.89M over 4 years
NERC Grant NE/C514723/1 Amino acid uptake by cyanobacteria £31k over 1 year
BES Grant Estuarine bacterioplankton £1.5k over 0.5 year.
NERC Grant NE/C50800X/1 Aq microbial metagenomics: environmental controls & bacterial populations 2004 £148k over 3 years.
ERC Grant Temporal & spatial variability of microbes £28k over 0.5 year.
NERC Grant NER/O/S/2001 Atlantic Meridional Transect £1.61M over 4 years.
NERC Grant NER/A/S/2001/01202 Phytoplankton mortality due to viral activity £132k over 3 years.
EU FP5 Grant Bacterial single cell approaches (BASICS) £210k over 3 years
NERC M&FMB AMBITION research in Arabian Sea £71k over 1 year

Peer-reviewed papers: 142 
ISI listed papers: 109
h-index: 43
av times cited per year: 150


NAEEM, S. BURKILL, P. et al Get the Science right when paying for Nature's services. Science in Press

HARTMANN M, GROB C, TARRAN GA, MARTIN AP, BURKILL PH, SCANLAN DJ, & ZUBKOV MV (2012). Mixotrophic basis of Atlantic oligotrophic ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109: 5756-5760
MANNING JE, HINDER SL, GRAVENOR MB, WALNE AW, EDWARDS ME, BURKILL, P & HAYS GC (2012) Long term changes in abundance, distribution and phenology of microzooplankton in the North Atlantic: evidence from tintinnid data collected by the Continuous Plankton Recorder survey. Journal of Plankton Research 34(1): 83-91
McQuatters-Gollop, A., Reid, P.C., Edwards, M., Burkill, P., Castellani, C., Batten, S., Gieskes, W., Beare, D., Bidigare, R., Head, E., Johnson, R., Kahru, M., Koslow, J. and Pena, M., (2011). Marine phytoplankton: decline - or not? Nature 472, E6-E7 doi:10.1038/nature09950
PERRINGS, C., NAEEM, S., AHRESTANI, F., BUNKER, D. E., BURKILL, P., CANZIANI, G., ELMQVIST, T., FERRATI, R., FUHRMAN, J., JASIC, F., KAWABATA, Z., KINZIG, A., MACE, G. M., MILANO, F., MOONEY, H., RICHARD, A.-H. P., TSCHIRHART, J. & WEISSER, W. (2011) Ecosystem services and target –setting for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9 (9): 512-520
HARTMANN M, GROB C, SCANLAN DJ, MARTIN AP, BURKILL PH, & ZUBKOV MV (2011) Comparison of phosphate uptake rates by the smallest plastidic and aplastidic protists in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 78: 327-335.
Perrings, C., Naeem, S., Ahrestani, F., Bunker, D. E., Burkill, P., Canziani, G., Elmqvist, T., Ferrati, R., Fuhrman, J., Jasic, F., Kawabata, Z., Kinzig, A., Mace, G. M., Milano, F., Mooney, H., Richard, A.-H. P., Tschirhart, J. & Weisser, W. (2010) Biodiversity Transcends Services‚ Response. Science, 330, 1745.
Perrings C,  Naeem S, Ahrestani F, Arriagada R, Bunker D, Burkill P, Canziani G, Fuhrman J , Jaksic F, Kawabata Z,  Kinzig A,  Mace G, Mooney H, Tschirhart J, Weisser W. (2010)  Ecosystem services and the 2020 targets. Science 330: 323-324
Batten SD & Burkill PH (2010). The Continuous Plankton Recorder: towards a global perspective. Journal of Plankton Research 32: 1619-1621
McQuatters-Gollop A, Burkill PH, Beaugrand G, Edwards M, Gattuso Jean-Pierre, Johns D (2010) Atlas of Calcifying Plankton - results from the North Atlantic Continuous Plankton Recorder survey 20pp. Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, Plymouth, UK  
Burkill PH, Edwards ME & Tyrrell T (2009). European time series of carcareous organisms and carbonate chemistry. Oceanography 22 (4) 65
Burkill PH & Reid PC (2010). Plankton biodiversity of the North Atlantic: changing patterns revealed by the Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey. In Proceedings of the “OceanObs ’09: Sustained Ocean Observations adn Information for Society” Conference (Annex), Venice, Italy 21-25 September 2009; Hall J, Harrison DE and Stammer D Eds ESA Publication WPP-306.
Reid PC, Bathman U, Batten S, Brainard RE, Burkill P et al (2010). A global continuous plankton recorder programme. In Proceedings of the “OceanObs ’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society” Conference (Annex), Venice, Italy 21-25 September 2009; Hall J, Harrison DE and Stammer D Eds ESA Publication WPP-306.
Mary I, Law A, Skipp P, Holland R, Topping J, Tarran G, Scanlan, DJ, O’Connor D, Burkill PH & Zubkov MV (2009). Flow cytometric sorting of microwave fixed microbial cells for genomic and proteomic analyses. Limnology & Oceanography Methods
Burkill PH , Edwards ME & Tyrrell T (2009). European time series of carcareous organisms and carbonate chemistry. Oceanography 22 (4) 65
Hartmann M, Zubkov MV, Martin AP, Scanalan DJ & Burkill PH (2009). Assessing amino acid uptake by phototrophic nanoflagellates in non axenic cultures using flow cytometric sorting. FEMS Microbiology Letters 298: 166-173 
Salter I, Zubkov MV, Warwick PE & Burkill PH (2009) Marine bacterioplankton can increase evaporation and gas transfer by metabolising insoluble surfactants from the air-sea water interface. FEMS Microbiology 294: 225-231 
Mary I, Garczarey L, Tarran GA, Kolowrat, C, Terry MJ, Scanlan DJ,  Burkill PH, Zubkov MV (2008) Diel rythmicity in amino acid uptake by Prochlorococcus.   Environmental Microbiology 10 2124-2131.
Thyssen M Tarran GA, Zubkov MV, Holland RJ, Gregori G, Burkill PH, Denis M (2008) The emergence of automated high speed flow cytometry: revealing temporal and spatial phytoplanktn variability. Journal of Plankton Research 30: 333-343.
Martin AP, Zubkov MV, Fasham MJ, Burkill PH, Holland RJ (2008) Microbial spatial variability: an example from the Celtic Sea Progress in Oceanography 76: 443-465
Mary I, Tarran GA, Woodward EMS, Warwick PE, Fuchs BM, Scanlan DJ, Burkill PH (2008) Microbial control of phosphate in nutrient depleted waters of the North Atlantic sub-tropical gyre. Environmental Microbiology 9: 36-45  
Zubkov MV, Holland, RJ & Burkill PH (2007) Microbial abundance, activity and iron uptake in vicinity of the Crozet Isles in November 2004 - January 2005. Deep-Sea Research II   54: 2126-2137
Zubkov MV Mary I, Woodward EMS Warwick PE, Fuchs B M, Scanlan D J & Burkill PH (2007). Microbial control of phosphate in the nutrient deplete waters of the North Atlantic sub tropical gyre. Environmental Microbiology 9 : 2079-2089
Zubkov MV, Burkill PH & Topping JN (2007). Flow cytometric enumeration of DNA-stained planktonic protists in contrasting regions of the Atlantic Ocean. Journal of Plankton Research 79-86
Mowlem M, Chavagnac V, Statham P, Burkill P, Benazzi G, Holmes D, Morgan H, Haas C, Kraft M, Taberham A (2006) Micro system technology for marine measurement. Oceans 1-4: 845-850.
Mary, I, Cummings D, Biegala IC, Burkill PH, Archer SD, Zubkov MV (2006). Seasonal dynamics of bacterioplankton community structure at a coastal station in the western English Channel. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 42: 119 - 126.
Zubkov MV, Tarran GA & Burkill PH. (2006). Bacterioplankton of low and high DNA content in the suboxic waters of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman: abundance and amino acid uptake. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 43: 23-32
Reul, A., Rodríguez, J., Blanco, J.M., Rees., A.& Burkill, P.H. (2006). Control of microplankton size structure in contrasting water columns of the Celtic Sea. Journal of Plankton Research 28: 449-457
Zubkov MV & Burkill PH (2006). Syringe pumped high-speed flow cytometry of oceanic phytoplankton. Cytometry 69A: 1010-1019
Zubkov MV, Burkill PH & Topping JN (2006). Flow cytometric enumeration of DNA-stained planktonic protists in contrasting regions of the Atlantic Ocean. Journal of Plankton Research
Fuchs, BM, Wobken, D, Zubkov, MV, Burkill, P. & Amann, R. (2005).  Molecular identification of picoplankton populations in contrasting waters of the Arabian Sea. Aquatic Microbial Ecology. 39 (2): 145-157
Martin A P, Zubkov M V, Burkill P H & Holland R J (2005). Extreme spatial variability in marine picoplankton and its consequences for interpreting Eulerian time series.  Biology Letters doi 10.1098/rsbl.2005.0316
Bulte, E H, Hector A, Burkill PH, Canziani, G, Fuhrman J, Jaksic, F, Kawabata, Z, Naeem S, Rondeau, D, Titman D, Tschirhart J, Weisser, W & Xepapadeas A (2005). Assessing the impacts of biodiversity changes on ecosystem functioning and services. Diversitas Ecoservices Science & Implementation Plan 40pp
Readman J.W,, Devilla R.A.  Tarran G,  Llewellyn C A, Fileman T W, Easton A, Burkill P H, & Mantoura R F C (2004). Flow cytometry and pigment analyses as tools to investigate the toxicity of herbicides to natural phytoplankton communities. Marine Environmental Research 58: 353–358
Stelfox-Widdicombe C.E, Archer SD, Burkill PH & Stefels J (2004). Microzooplankton grazing in Phaeocystis and diatom-dominated waters in the southern North Sea in spring. Journal of Sea Research 51:  37– 51
Zubkov, MV, Fuchs, BM, Tarran, GA, Burkill, P H & Amann, R. (2003). High rate of uptake of organic nitrogen compounds by Prochloroccus cyanobacteria as a key to their dominance in oligotrophic oceanic waters. Applied & Environmental Microbiology 69: 1299-1304
Heip C,  Brandt A, Gattuso JP, Antia AN, Berger WH, Biossonnas J, Burkill PH, d’Ozouville, Graf G, Herndl GJ, Patching J, Reise K, Riou G, Simo R, Smetacek V & Wassmann P (2003)  Ecosystem functioning  and Biodiversity. In: Marine Scientific Frontiers for Europe; Springer Berlin pp 289-302
Steinke, M, Malin, G., Gibb, SW &  Burkill, P.H.. (2003). Vertical and temporal variability of DMSP lyase activity in a coccolithophore bloom in the northern North Sea. Deep Sea Research 50: 1049-1050.
Antia A.N., Burkill P.H, Balzer W, de Baar HJW, Mantoura RFC, Simó R & Wallace D. (2003). Coupled biogeochemical cycling and controlling factors. In: Marine Scientific Frontiers for Europe; Springer Berlin pp 147-162
Archer, SD, Widdicombe, CE, Malin, G & Burkill PH (2003). Is DMS production related to microzooplankton herbivory in the southern North Sea? Journal of Plankton Research 25: 235-242
Zubkov, MV, Fuchs, BM, Archer, SD, Kiene, RP, Amann, R & Burkill, PH (2002). Rapid turnover of dissolved DMS and DMSP by defined bacterioplankton communities in the stratified euphotic zone of the North Sea. Deep Sea Research II 49:3017-3038
Steinke, M, Malin, G., Archer, SD, Burkill, PH & Liss PS (2002). DMS production in a coccolithophorid bloom: evidence for the importance of dinoflagellate DMSP lyases.  Aquatic Microbial Ecology. 26 (3): 259-270
Blackford J C & Burkill P H. (2002). Planktonic community structure and carbon cycling in the Arabian Sea as a result of monsoonal forcing: the application of a generic model. Journal of Marine Systems 36: 239-267.
Burkill PH, Archer SD & Robinson C (Ed) (2002). Dimethyl Sulphide Biogeochemistry within a Coccolithophore Bloom (DISCO) Deep Sea Research II 2863 - 3101
Burkill PH Archer SD, Robinson C, Nightingale PD, Groom SB, Tarran GA & Zubkov MV. (2002). Dimethyl sulphide biogeochemistry within a coccolithophore bloom (DISCO): an overview. Deep Sea Research II 49 (15): 2863-2885
Steinke M, Malin G, Gibb SW & Burkill PH (2002). Vertical and temporal variability of DMSPlyase activity in a coccolithophorid bloom in the northern North Sea.  Deep Sea Research II 49 (15): 3001-3016
Widdicombe, CE, Archer, SD, Burkill, PH & Widdicombe S (2002). Diversity and structure of the microplankton community in the stratified northern North Sea. Deep Sea Research II 49 (15): 2887-2903.
Archer SD, Smith G, Nightingale PD, Widdicombe CE, Tarran GA, Rees AP & Burkill PH (2002). Dynamics of particulate DMSP during a Lagrangian experiment in the northern North Sea. Deep Sea Research II 49 (15): 2979-2999
Zubkov M V, Fuchs B M, Archer S D, Kiene R P, Amann R & Burkill P H (2002). Rapid turnover of dissolved DMS and DMSP by defined bacterioplankton communities in the stratified euphotic zone of the North Sea. Deep Sea Research II 49 (15): 3017-3038
Archer SD, Gilbert FJ, Nightingale PD, Zubkov MV, Taylor AH, Smith GC & Burkill PH (2002). Transformation of DMSPp to DMS during summer in the North Sea: an examination of key processes via a modelling approach. Deep Sea Research II 49 (15): 3067-3101
Burkill, PH, Hall J, Costanza, R, Ganeshram, R, Jenkins W, Liu KK, Marrase C, Matrai P, Monfray P, Opdyke B, Sathyendranatah S, Steel J & Wallace D (2002). A draft framework for future research on biological and chemical aspects of global change in the ocean: an IGBP/SCOR collaboration.
Zubkov, M.V., Fuchs, B.M., Tarran, G.A., Burkill, P. H. & Amann, R. (2002). Mesoscale distribution of dominant bacterioplankton groups in the northern North Sea in early summer. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 29:135-144
Zubkov, MV, Sleigh, MA & Burkill, PH. (2001) Heterotrophic bacterial turnover along the 20°W meridian between 59°N and 37° in July 1996.  Deep-Sea Research II 48: 987-1002
Tarran, G. A., Zubkov, M. V., Sleigh, M. A., Burkill P. H. & Yallop M. (2001) Microbial community structure and standing stocks in the NE Atlantic in June and July of 1996. Deep-Sea Research II 48: 963-986
Burkill P H & Gallienne C P (2001) Optical particle characterisation by flow cytometry, plankton counters and other techniques. In: Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences Volume 4.  Ed: J Steele, S Thorpe & K Turekian. Chapter 322 pp 2040-2048.  Academic Press: London.
Archer, SD, Stelfox, CE, Burkill, PH, & Malin G (2001). A dilution approach to quantify the production of dimethylsulphoniopropionate and dimethyl sulphide due to microzooplankton herbivory. Aquatic Microbial Ecology. 23: 131-154
Joint I, Wollast R, Chou L, Batten S, Elskens M, Edwards E, Hirst A, Burkill P, Groom S, Gibb S, Miller A, Hydes D, Dehairs F, Antia A, Barlow R, Rees A, Pomroy A, Brockmann U, Cummings D, Lampitt R, Loijens M, Mantoura F, Miller P,  Raabe T, Salgado X, Stelfox C & Woolfenden J. (2001).  Pelagic production at the Celtic Sea Shelf Break - the OMEX I project. Deep-Sea Research II. 48: 3049-3081
Zubkov MV, Fuchs BM, Archer SD, Kiene RP, Amann R & Burkill PH (2001). Linking the composition of bacterioplankton to rapid turnover of dissolved dimethylsulphoniopropionate in an algal bloom in the North Sea.  Environmental Microbiology 3: 304-311
Archer SD, Widdicombe CE, Tarran GA, Rees AP & Burkill P H (2001). Production and turnover of particulate dimethyl sulphonioproprionate during a coccolithophore bloom in the northern North Sea. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 24: 225-241
Fasham MJR, Balino BM, Bowles MC, Anderson R, Archer D, Bathmann U, Boyd P, Buesseler K, Burkill P, Bychkov A, Carlson C, Chen CTA, Doney S, Ducklow H, Emerson S, Feely R, Feldman G, Garcon V, Hansell D, Hanson R, Harrison P, Honjo S, Jeandel C, Karl D, Le Borgne R, Liu KK, Lochte K, Louanchi F, Lowry R, Michaels A, Monfray P, Murray J, Oschlies A, Platt T, Priddle J, Quinones R, Ruiz-Pino D, Saino T, Sakshaug E, Shimmield G, Smith S, Smith W, Takahashi T, Treguer P, Wallace D, Wanninkhof R, Watson A, Willebrand J, Wong CS (2001).  A new vision of ocean biogeochemistry after a decade of the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS). AMBIO Sp. Iss. 10; 4-31.
Tarran GA, Burkill PH, Cunningham A, Dubelaar GBJ, Gerritzen PL. (2001). Cytosub: an in situ flow cytometer for analysing phytoplankton with the Autosub AUV. International Workshop on Autonomous measurements of Biogeochemical Parameters in the Ocean.
Fileman E & Burkill P (2001). The herbivorous impact of microzooplankton during two short-term Lagrangian experiments off the NW coast of Galicia in summer 1998. Progress in Oceanography 51 (2-4): 361-383
Zubkov M V, Fuchs B M, Burkill P H & Amann R (2001). Comparison of cellular and biomass specific activities of dominant bacterioplankton groups in stratified waters of the Celtic Sea. Applied & Environmental Microbiology 67: 5210-5218.

Reports & invited lectures

Keynote Address: Understanding our Oceans: Presidents Forum Ocean University of China, Qingdao, 23 Oct 2014.
Keynote Address: Plankton Biodiversity & Climate Change, North Sea Conference Amsterdam October 2011 
Keynote Address: Evolving Plankton Communities, OceanObs '09, Venice, 21-15 September 2009   
Keynote Address: Seas of change - evolving marine science in Plymouth. PMSP Symposium, Plymouth, 7 April 2009 
Keynote Address: Flow on an Ocean's Wave: Challenger Society Open Science Conference, Oban, 12 September 2006 
Keynote address: Marine biodiversity: opening black boxes. DIVERSITAS Biodiversity Conference Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 3rd June 2004
Keynote address: Marine foodwebs: can we untangle the maze? SCOR/IGBP/IMBER International Science Symposium, Paris, France;  7-10th January 2003
Keynote address: DMS biogeochemistry in coccolithophore blooms North Pacific Science Organisation 10th Anniversary Meeting, Victoria BC, Canada; 5-13th October 2001