Dr Carly Stevens

Senior Lecturer

Research Overview

Carly is a plant ecologist and soil biogeochemist with an interest in how global change is impacting on our environment. In particular she is interested in how atmospheric nitrogen deposition is impacting on ecosystems and how they function

Published research

Carly’s work includes over 70 peer reviewed journal papers (see link above), including a paper on how atmospheric nitrogen deposition is reducing plant species richness in the UK which was published in Science in 2004 and has been cited more than 450 times. Since then she has published several other papers in high impact journals such as Science and Nature.

Carly’s research touches on a number of aspects of global change with a focus on how ecosystems are impacted.

Carly has received funding for her research from a range of organisations including:

  • Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC),
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)
  • Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Leverhulme Trust

Current research

Carly is academic director of the Waitrose Collaborative training parnership. Carly’s current research projects include:

  • NERC funded Impacts of climate-driven evolution on plant-soil interactions and ecosystem functioning
  • Nutrient Network
  • Hypermetabolic N’: exploring the social life of nitrogen in UK agroecologies


Carly is director of postgraduate research programmes.

Carly is currently:


Carly’s teaching includes:

  • Second and third year undergraduate course in ecology as part of the LEC BSc degree schemes
  • Leading a field based Masters course on vegetation survey as part of the Master’s level programme
  • Leading a massive open online course on soil


Carly leads an outreach programme called Science Hunters which uses computer games to teach ecology

AHRC Network Grant
01/11/2019 → 31/10/2021

Can we reduce the use of single use plastics in food production?
01/10/2019 → 30/09/2023

Elsevier Community Grant
01/09/2019 → 31/12/2019

Nitrogen Futures
22/08/2019 → 14/05/2020

The Minecraft Periodic Table of Elements
10/06/2019 → 31/05/2020

N8: Mapping the expansion of soft rush (Juncus effusus) in grasslands
07/02/2019 → 31/10/2019

Science Hunters
01/02/2019 → 30/06/2019

The language of nitrogen: Why is understanding of the environmental challenges caused by nitrogen from agriculture so low?
01/02/2019 → 31/08/2019

Resistance by adaptation: Does evolution stabilise plant community structure and function under climate change?
10/09/2018 → 09/03/2022

Presentation of the Survey Project Results
17/09/2012 → 30/09/2012

Ecological Continuity Trust: Establishing a Consortium Application
05/09/2012 → 31/12/2013

Invited presentation
Invited talk

Natural England (External organisation)
Membership of committee

Romanian National Research Council (External organisation)
Membership of committee

NERC (External organisation)
Membership of committee

Jennifer Firn
Hosting an academic visitor

Invited presentation
Invited talk

Functional Ecology (Journal)
Editorial activity

Invited presenation
Invited talk

Invited presenation
Invited talk

  • Innovation for a better environment
  • Soil Plant and Land Systems
  • Sustainable Catchments
  • Understanding a changing planet