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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science


Research activities in Geography and Environmental Science focus on the fundamental challenges of physical, environmental and social sciences. Our research groups share technical expertise in state-of-the-art remote sensing and spatial modelling and are linked into research carried out in the GeoData Institute.

Earth Surface Dynamics

Our research addresses how land-surface systems respond to past, present and future environmental change. We apply our research to land-management issues, including soil erosion, flooding, land loss, and ecosystem degradation, and we have strong links with Electronics and Computer Science in the development and deployment of ‘smart’ environmental sensor networks. 

Economy, Society and Governance

Our research addresses economies, their inter-relationship with cultures, and their regulation. Our economic geography focuses in particular on: retail geography; evolutionary economic geography; knowledge, creativity, and innovation; and urban and regional development. Our political geography focuses in particular on: local and regional governance; political participation; and urban spatial politics. Our social and cultural geography focuses in particular on human-nonhuman relations; material culture; consumption; and migration. We pursue this research in collaboration with numerous partners including the Economic and Social Research Council, the Work Futures Research Group, and the Centre for Citizenship, Globalisation, and Governance.

Environmental Sciences

The Centre of Environmental Sciences carries out research under the auspices of the Environment Research Group. We cover many topics, but there is a common focus on the impacts and management of human activities on the natural environment. Areas of study include carbon management; estuarine, marine and coastal ecotoxicology; ecosystem services for poverty alleviation in developing countries; risk assessment for genetically modified crops and biofuels; applied avian ecology and conservation; coastal environmental change; communities, habitat, restoration and management of streams, rivers and urban ponds; applications of remote sensing and geographical information systems for environmental monitoring; reptile habitat management and ecology; and waste recycling, reduction and management.


GeoData is a University-based research and consultancy group, which specialises in environmental data management, analysis and processing to provide integrated services for a sustainable environment and society.

Global Environmental Change and Earth Observation

We use earth observation data, geostatistical tools and process models to investigate aspects of global environmental change. Key aspects of our work underpin monitoring and forecasting of environmental change, environmental management, and policy-decision support; we work closely with the Institute of Complex Systems Simulation on a range of topics in these areas.

Palaeoenvironmental Laboratory at the University of Southampton (PLUS)

We use modelling approaches and data on past environments to understand mechanisms of environmental change and to anticipate future change at a range of temporal and spatial scales. We focus on sustainable practice and management at the interface of human and natural systems, and on understanding interrelationships between long-term climate dynamics and ecosystem change.

Population, Health and Wellbeing (PHeW)

We combine expertise in population, health and wellbeing with technical excellence in geographic information systems (GIS), spatial analysis and qualitative methods to environmental and social issues. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)’s Census Programme and National Centre for Research Methods are directed or co-directed from within the group and members have ongoing advisory roles with UK and overseas governments as well as international agencies.

Research groups

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