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Dr Ryan Mushinski

Research Interests

Dr Mushinski leads the Environmental Processes Laboratory within the School of Life Sciences.

He is interested in terrestrial biogeochemical processes, including the cycling of light elements such as carbon and nitrogen. He studies these processes to better understand how global change pressures, such as changing temperatures, altered precipitation regimes, and atmospheric deposition lead to shifts in light element cycling, and the mechanisms behind these shifts. This fundamental research aims to inform policy makers and land managers on biogeochemical feedbacks to environmental stimuli.

His previous work has taken him from plantation forests and savannas of Texas to secondary growth deciduous forests of America’s Midwest. Since relocating his work to the UK, Dr. Mushinski has focused on landscape elements common throughout Britain, including agro-ecosystems, woodlands, grasslands, and urban systems. Dr. Mushinski and his team are often in the field collecting soil and plant samples and making biogeochemical measurements.

Within his laboratory, Dr. Mushinski utilises state-of-the-art technologies to investigate his research questions. The Environmental Processes Laboratory possess core molecular and microbiological equipment, automated colorimetric robots for measuring inorganic nutrients in soil and water, a chemiluminescence instrument and chamber system for measuring reactive gas fluxes, an isotope ratio mass spectrometer for measuring concentrations and stable isotope content of light elements in solids, liquids, and gases, and many other instruments essential for biogeochemical research.

Supervision Style

In three words or phrases: laid-back, outcome-oriented, supportive

Provision of Training

From the beginning of your PhD I will expect you to independently figure out appropriate methods and changes to methodology.

Progression Monitoring and Management

I will expect you to take full ownership of your progression but come to me when you need help troubleshooting.

I am here for advice and guidance to help you reach the goals you set for yourself.


I am known to email my team/PhD students at all hours of the day and night, however I will not expect you to do the same.

I am happy to discuss any issues that are impacting your ability to fulfil your potential or my/our expectations.

PhD Students can expect scheduled meetings with me:

In a group meeting

At least once per fortnight

In year 1 of PhD study

At least once per month

In year 2 of PhD study

At least once per month

In year 3 of PhD study

At least once per month

These meetings will be mainly face to face. I am usually contactable for an instant response on every working day.

Working Pattern

The timing of work in my lab is completely flexible, and (other than attending pre-arranged meetings), I expect students to manage their own time.

Notice Period for Feedback

I need at least 2 weeks’ notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.