Sean Comber

Academic profile

Professor Sean Comber

Visiting Professor
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

The Global Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Sean's work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

Goal 04: SDG 4 - Quality EducationGoal 12: SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and ProductionGoal 17: SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

About Sean

Moving from a career in consultancy to the University of Plymouth in 2012, Sean is a Professor in Environmental Chemistry and Associate Head of School (Knowledge Exchange) as well as an academic involved with teaching, research and consultancy. He has managed the MSc Environmental Consultancyprogramme for the past 8 years. Sean is also module leader at stage 1 and stage 4 of the undergraduate BSc (Hons) Environmental Sciencedegree course. Sean has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. He has also managed 10 PhDs since 2012. 

Supervised Research Degrees

PhD supervisionUniversity of Plymouth (2012-onwards)
Preston Akenga (Director of Studies) Uptake of antiretrovirals into food products from untreated wastewater. Funded by Commonwealth Scholarship Programme. 1/10/18-1/10/21.
Ry Crocker (Director of Studies) Phosphorus fate and management on the Somerset Levels and Moors Ramsar ditch systems. Funded by University of Plymouth, Wessex Water and Natural England. 1/1/18 – 1/7/21.
Rupert Goddard (Director of Studies) Impacts of the Davidstow dairy on the River Inny catchment. Funded by University of Plymouth and Dairy Crest. 1/10/17 – 1/4/21.
Louis Jolly (Co-supervisor) - Selection for antibiotic resistance in the aquatic environment, with Exeter University and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. 1/10/16 – 1/10/19.
Simone Bagnis (Director of Studies) – fate of pharmaceuticals in poorly or untreated sewage discharged to the environment. Funded by Astra Zeneca. 1/10/15 – 1/4/2019.
Lauren Dawson (Director of Studies) – impacts on water chemistry and ecology of carbonate dosing of the West Dart river. 1/10/15 – 1/4/2019.
Katherine Lees (Director of Studies) – fate of pharmaceuticals derived from wastewater reuse in soil. Funded by Astra Zeneca. Completed July 2018.
Aldous Rees – (joint Director of Studies with Southampton Solent University) Zinc sources and fate in the Hamble estuary. Completed September 2018.
Holly Pearson (Director of Studies) – Zinc and copper speciation in estuaries and the influence of dissolved organic carbon sources on bioavailability and toxicity. Completed October 2016.
David Megson – PCB isotope ratios in blood serum as a method for source tracking of human exposure – completed December 2014.
Atkins (2005-2011)
Carlos Constantino – EngD (Metal speciation and toxicity inwastewaters) Brunel University Institute for the Environment (2009-2012),Thesis submitted, Awarded March 2012.
WRc (1989 – 2005)
Dr Ruth Arnold (copper speciation and toxicity to earth worms).University of Reading, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, 2007.
Dr Sarah-Jane Hope (Influence of tea drinking on manganese intake,manganese status and leucocyte expression of MnSOD and cytosolic aminopeptidase) Imperial College, 2006. 
Dr Eleanor Van Veen (Development of Speciation Based Environmental Quality Standards) with Imperial College, PhD in Environmental Science and Technology, 2003. 
Dr Anne Conrad (Exposure of the oligochaete Lumriculis variegatus to sediment-associated contaminants: influence of contaminant properties). The University of Reading School of Animal and Microbial Sciences, 2000.


Environmental Management and Sustainability (Stage 1, BSc (Hons) Environmental Science )Environmental Legislation (Water Framework Directive) (Stage 2, BSc (Hons) Environmental Science )
Waste Management (Stage 4, BSc (Hons) Environmental Science)
Environmental Management Audit Systems (MSc Environmental Consultancy )
Quality Assurance/Quality Control (MSc Environmental Consultancy )
Work placements (MSc Environmental Consultancy)