Professor Philip Wookey


Biological and Environmental Sciences Faculty of Natural Sciences University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Professor Philip Wookey

Share a link

About me

I am an ecosystems ecologist/biogeochemist, with a main research focus on northern high latitude (and altitude) ecosystems and environmental change. I have worked in the Arctic since 1993, having previously research on air pollution effects on soils and ecosystems. I am passionate about ‘The North’, and attribute my love of cold, snowy and windswept places to my maternal heritage (from Sutherland, in the north of Scotland), going on expedition to North Iceland as an undergrad (back in 1983), reading Jack London novels, and possibly also to the lyrics of a Led Zeppelin song!

More specifically; I graduated in 1984 with a BSc Combined Honours in Biology and Geography from the University of Exeter, and completed a PhD in 1988 at Lancaster University and the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology on the effects of air pollutants on forest soils. After a post-doctoral term at Lancaster University, continuing with air pollution research for the EU, my career path took me to the Arctic (in 1991), where I have continued to research ever since. My first academic position, however, was back at my Alma Mater, Exeter, as Lecturer in Ecology. Since then I have held appointments at Royal Holloway, University of London (Lecturer in Environmental Geography; 1996 – 1997), the University of Uppsala, Sweden (Associate Professor, then Docent, and finally Professor in Physical Geography; 1997 – 2004), and then back to the UK as Reader, then Professor of Ecosystems Ecology (2004-2009) at the University of Stirling, and Professor in Physical Geography (2012-2013), University of Sheffield, and Chair in Ecosystem Science at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh (2013-2017). I am now back in Stirling, as Professor of Ecosystem Science.

Community Contribution

Chair of the International Arctic Science Committee's (IASC) Terrestrial Working Group
The International Arctic Science Committee (IASC; is a non-governmental, international scientific organization. The Founding Articles committed IASC to pursue a mission of encouraging and facilitating cooperation in all aspects of Arctic research, in all countries engaged in Arctic research and in all areas of the Arctic region. Overall, IASC promotes and supports leading-edge multi-disciplinary research in order to foster a greater scientific understanding of the Arctic region and its role in the Earth system. The scientific scope of the Terrestrial Working Group ( includes scientific research on arctic terrestrial and freshwater environments, landscapes and biota, and their responses to, and interactions with, other components of the Earth system. The remit encompasses the dynamics of the Arctic system; past, present and future.

Chair (and co-founding member) of the UK Arctic and Antarctic Partnership (UKAAP);
UK Arctic and Antarctic Partnership (UKAAP) is a community led initiative, aimed at bringing together researchers across a full range of disciplines who are interested in the polar regions.

Chair of the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX)

Chair of the Science Advisory Group Abisko (SAGA)
Swedish Polar Research Secretariat
Independent Chair of the Science Advisory Group Abisko (SAGA), at the invitation of the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat (Polarforsknings Secretariatet) SAGA's mission is to provide a scientific perspective on the ambition of the Abisko Scientific Research Station, Sweden. For example, how the research station can maintain, develop and attract advanced research, and develop proposals for research areas that should be given priority support.

Co-Chair of the IASC (International Arctic Science Committee) Carbon Footprint Action Group
An Action Group convened by the IASC Executive "to provide recommendations for an IASC carbon policy and ways to reduce IASC’s carbon footprint, considering the direct and indirect impacts of IASC funding and activities."

Research programmes

Research centres/groups

Research themes