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Professor in the Department of Biosciences+44 (0) 191 33 41261
Associate Fellow in the Institute of Advanced Study


Prof. Baxter studied Botany at the University of Manchester (1982-85). Thereafter he undertook a PhD (1985-88)in Manchester ("Responses of the moss Sphagnum cuspidatum to acid deposition")under the supervision of JA Lee and MJ Emes.

Following his PhD training, Prof. Baxter spent 18 months working as a regional coordinator within the ACME (Applications of Computing to Manufacturing Engineering) Directorate of the then Science and Engineering Research Council.
In 1990 Dr Baxter joined the research groups of Prof. John Farrar (University of Wales, Bangor)and Prof. Trevor Ashenden (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Bangor Research Unit)as one of two postdoctoral fellowships awarded to the newly established joint University/CEH partnership in Bangor. Here Prof. Baxter studied the impacts of altered concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide and soil nutrient conditions upon photosynthetic metabolism and post-photosynthetic carbon partitioning in native upland and montane grassland species. During this period Prof. Baxter also worked in collaboration with CEH upon an EU-funded Framework 3 project ("An investigation of the effects of increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide and changing climate on natural and managed grassland communities in Europe using open-top and closed chambers"; Contract: EPOC-CT90-0022), coordinated by Prof. MB Jones, School of Botany, Trinity College, Dublin, Eire.
In 1993 Dr Baxter contininued his work in this field as a postdoctoral fellow at Trinity College, Dublin.

In 1994 Prof. Baxter was appointed as lecturer in Ecology in the then Department of Biological Sciences (now School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences)at the University of Durham. In 2002 he was promoted to a Senior Lectureship in Ecology, to Reader in 2015 and to Full Professor in 2021; a post he holds at the present time.

Research interests

  • Alpine plant ecology
  • Arctic Plant Ecology
  • Arctic climate change
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Fire ecology
  • Land-Atmosphere interactions
  • Landscape ecology
  • Montane plant ecology
  • Snow-vegetation-atmosphere interactions
  • carbon partitioning in plants
  • climate change and plant ecophysiology
  • pollution ecology
  • stress physiology in plants

Esteem Indicators

  • 2020: Invited contribution: 'Arctic Ablaze' for the Word Wildlife Fund UK supporters magazine.:
  • 2020: Invited co-authorship of a chapter in the book: 'The Natural History of Upper Weardale':
  • 2020: Elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Biology:
  • 2020: Awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy:
  • 2019: Scientific briefing of the Chief Scientist of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Ambassador's Residence, Moscow.:
  • 2019: Invited presentation: Moscow State University Dept. Geography:
  • 2019: Invitation to Science community reception: Ambassador's Residence, Moscow, Russia:
  • 2019: Invited panel member: Debate on exploration of the Arctic; Royal Institution, London.:
  • 2016: Invited Seminar, Dept. Biology, Queens University, Kingston, ON, Canada.:
  • 2016: Invited Seminar, Centre for Northern Studies, University of Laval, Quebec, Canada.:
  • 2016: Invited Seminar, Depts of Biology and Geography, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON, Canada.:
  • 2016: Invited Seminar, Depts of Soil Science and Geography, University of British Columbia, BC, Canada:
  • 2016: Invited participation in a debate at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival: Invited to paticipate in a debate on "The Arctic's Changing Landscape" June 12th 2016 at the Times Cheltenham Science Festival, UK.
  • 2016: Invited Pubic Seminar, Dartmouth College, NH, USA, April 2016: Public seminar at the Institute of Arctic Studies, Dartmouth College, NH, USA.
  • 2015: Appointment as External Examiner (Undergraduate Degrees in Biology and Environmental Biosciences, University of Aberystwyth) 2017-2018:
  • 2015: Invited member of NERC Fellowship sift and interview panel for the 2015 closing date:
  • 2015: Hosting of Senior Visiting Fellow: Jan to Mar: I hosted, in conjunction with the IAS, Professor Malcolm Hughes (Regents' Professor of Dendrochronology, The University of Arizona, USA) as a Durham International Senior Fellow, carrying out joint collaborative modelling work.
  • 2014: Invited international expert. EU, 2014 evaluation exercise “People”: Individual Marie Curie Actions (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IXF). ENV Panel – Intra European Fellowships, International Incoming Fellowships and International Outgoing Fellowship s:
  • 2014: Invited member of the NERC Large Grants Final Stage Panel Meeting 2013-14.:
  • 2014: Invited international lecture, Abisko Scientific Research Station, Swedish Polar Research Secretariat, Northern Sweden.:
  • 2014: Invited to join as a member of a European wide consortium in a bid to the Horizon 2020 Research Call: EO-1-2014: New ideas for Earth-relevant space applications: “New Northern Earth Observation Services (NEOS)”.:
  • 2014: Participation in the international “Arctic Change 2014” conference, Ottawa, Canada, Dec 2014; including participation in the workshop “European-Canadian cooperation in the Arctic: the future”.:
  • 2014: Invited international review expert for grants submitted under EUFAR (EUropean Facility for Airborne Research;, an 'Integrating Activity' funded by the European Commission under Framework Programme 5/FP6, and FP7.:
  • 2014: Invited member of a European wide consortium in a bid to Framework 7: “NORSE (NOrthern Remote SEnsing)” (not funded:
  • 2014: Invited member of the NERC Large Grants Outline Panel Meeting 2014-15.:
  • 2014: Invited international expert evaluator for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions 'Individual fellowships' (IF) ENV panel, 2014.:
  • 2014: Invited reviewer and review panel member for the Welsh National Research Network for Low Carbon Energy and the Environment:
  • 2014: Invited international reviewer for the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), Belgium.:
  • 2014: Invited to join the Review Panel - FP7 COFUND Marie Curie project – “Train to Move”, European Science Foundation, Strasbourg, France.:
  • 2014: Invited to act as tutor at the Gatsby Plant Science Summer School, Easingwold, York.:
  • 2014: Invited member of the international virtual network “impacts of winter change on arctic and alpine ecosystems, including plant and soil responses, and consequences for biogeochemical cycling” (WINTERNet).:
  • 2014: Invited member of the NERC Dec 2014 Standard and New Investigator Grants moderating panel, Swindon, Wilts.:
  • 2013: Invited international reviewer for the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), 2013 research programme.:
  • 2013: Invited associate participant in the international Marie Curie Network ITN consortium bid “Arctic winter processes and change” to the EU (not funded).:
  • 2013: Invited member of the NERC Large Grants Outline Stage Panel Meeting 2013-14.:
  • 2013: Invited international expert. EU, 2012 evaluation exercise “People Individual Marie Curie Actions (FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IXF). ENV Panel - Intra European Fellowships, International Incoming Fellowships and International Outgoing Fellowship schemes.:
  • 2012: Invited external examiner (PhD), University of Helsinki, Finland. Candidate: Mr Robin Lundell.:
  • 2012: Invited international external examiner (PhD), Botany School, Trinity College Dublin, Eire (Ms Faye Carroll).:
  • 2012: Re-appointment as Peer Review College Member, Natural Environment Research Council (2012 onwards; open-ended).:
  • 2012: Re-ppointed to the NERC Peer Review College (July 2012 onwards).:
  • 2012: Appointed as international reviewer for the The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).:
  • 2012: Invited international expert. EU, 2012 evaluation exercise “People Individual Marie Curie Actions (FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IXF). ENV Panel - IEF, IIF and IOF schemes, October 2012.:
  • 2012: Invited external examiner (PhD), Trinity College Dublin, Eire, April 16, 2012.:
  • 2012: Invited international expert reviewer, Greek Ministry for Education, LifeLong Learning and Religious Affairs, Cooperation 2011 programme (March 2012):
  • 2012: Invited chapter author (sole). “Developmental adaptation to cold environments” in: Temperature and Plant Development (Franklin, K.A. and Wigge, P.A. eds.) Publisher: Wiley.:
  • 2012: Invited independent expert reviewer: Greek Ministry of Education Life-long Learning and Religious Affairs, Co-operation 2011 research programme.:
  • 2012: Appointed member of Durham University’s cross-faculty NERC liaison committee.:
  • 2012: Invited external examiner (PhD). Dept of Plant and Animal Sciences, University of Sheffield (Nov 2012).:
  • 2012: Invited external examiner (PhD). Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University (Nov 2012).:
  • 2011: Invited participant: International Workshop “ Sustaining ecosystem service delivery in a changing world, 28th – 31st March 2011, Durham.:
  • 2011: Invited international reviewer, Archimedes III research programme, phase 2, Greece.:
  • 2011: Invited international reviewer: The Cyprus Research Promotion; evaluation of research proposals submitted under a national research-funding action entitled “Natural Environment”.:
  • 2011: Invited external examiner (PhD), University of Sheffield, UK. Ms Eva Scholler (Viva: June 2011).:
  • 2011: Invited external examiner (PhD), University of Helsinki, Finland.:
  • 2010: Invited seminar speaker, Biology, University of York, UK:
  • 2010: Invited as vice chair of the Natural Environment Research Council Antarctic Funding Initiative, Round 11, Moderating Panel, Swindon, Wilts.:
  • 2010: Invited international reviewer (NOAA) US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association:
  • 2010: Invitation to join the European Science Foundation Pool of Reviewers (2010-2011).:
  • 2010: Invitation from Wiley/Blackwell to revise co-authored chapter with Prof. B Huntley for the new 2nd edition of Vegetation Ecology. Editors Eddy van der Maarel & Janet Frankli:
  • 2009: Invited as international review panel member for the 6th funding call of the Netherland’s Darwin Centre for Biogeosciences:


Chapter in book

Journal Article

Supervision students