School of Biosciences

Image of Sarah Cook

Sarah Cook

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science



I am an environmental researcher and field scientist with a broad interest in aquatic ecosystems, their functionality and resilience to land-use change. Particular interests include:

-Pathways of water pollution in natural environment

-Greenhouse gas emissions and carbon cycling in aquatic ecosystems

-Emerging environmental contaminants

-Multidisciplinary approaches to water stewardship

-Nature-based solutions to water quality remediation (i.e. constructed wetlands)

-The role of citizen science in environmental monitoring

Expertise Summary

My research is directed at exploring the pathways of water pollutants in natural environments, alongside the interplay between land-use change and the functioning/resilience of land to surface water pathways for both water and carbon. This involves methodologies drawn from across Hydrology, Biology and Ecology to understand the interplay between the physical and biological environment in controlling pollution biodegradation in different flow domains (i.e. rivers & urban drainage systems) using in-situ field studies and controllable purpose-built laboratory flumes. More recently, this has expanded to experimentally consider the interplay between bed morphology and sediment size on biofilm community development and the feedback on hyporheic exchange mechanisms.

Recent projects include integrating the physical understanding of pollutant behaviour into locally led solutions to target plastic and other water pollution, ensuring the priorities of the community are embedded. Part of this involved co-developing an innovative and transdisciplinary citizen science toolkit for community driven solutions to address water quality challenges in both the UK and India.

I have experience in quantifying catchment hydrology using salt dilution gauging and chloride mass balance approaches, spectrophotometric techniques to determine water quality (i.e. SUVA254), tracer experiments using recirculating flumes, alongside intrusive and non-intrusive solute and microplastics tracer measurement techniques.

More recently, I am involved in a project looking at greenhouse gas emissions from small artificial bodies of water (i.e. garden ponds) to investigate the role of nutrients and carbon in determining emissions.

To date, I have worked across Geography, Earth Science, Biology and Engineering departments on collaborative international projects in Malaysian Borneo and India.

Selected Publications

School of Biosciences

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough
LE12 5RD, UK

For all enquiries please visit:

Find us
Campus map
Room Locations on Campus [pdf file]