John has a keen interest in river invertebrate ecology and its application to ecological environmental assessment. John is interested in methods that are not only accurate but also efficient and practical for widespread use under operational conditions. John is also particularly keen that assessment systems, including software tools, are freely available and open for others to use and develop. He specialises in the development of methods for river quality assessment, including standardised laboratory and field methods, quality assurance, biotic indices and diagnostic systems for interpreting biological data and the reference concept. John has led in the development of the UK’s standard methods for river environmental assessment and status classification, and he continues to manage and steer projects to develop and build on RIVPACS. He has also helped to develop methods for intercalibrating national biological assessment systems across Europe to ensure that they provide equivalent results.
John is currently a national ecology advisor for the Environment Agency. His main role is as a technical lead for river invertebrate assessment methods, most of which he helps to develop for application across the UK with partners across the UK and co-ordinated with UK WFD Technical Advisory Group. John produces technical guidance for ecologists in the Environment Agency and beyond, also producing training material and running workshops. Beyond the Environment Agency, for the last 10 years, John has also worked with European colleagues on projects to build environmental management capacity in other countries: Turkey, North Macedonia and now Serbia. John is currently writing a handbook on biological methods in collaboration with the Foundation for Freshwater Research and the FBA.
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