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School of Geography

Clare Woulds Dr Clare Woulds

Contact details

School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK


+44 (0) 113 34 39440

Student hours:
Please make an appointment by email

Research overview

My research is broadly concerned with studying the biogeochemical processes occurring in marine sediments, with an emphasis on the cycling and burial of organic carbon and nitrogen, and the role played by benthic fauna in shaping their own geochemical environment. My work in low oxygen environments has led to a particular interest in de-convolving the often co-varying factors of sediment organic matter content, dissolved oxygen concentration and benthic faunal community biomass and structure in determining the early diagenetic pathways of organic carbon. Recently I have also started to investigate C sources and cycling in chemosynthetic ecosystems, including diffuse hydrothermal vents, and methane seeps. I study sedimentary organic matter cycling using stable isotope enrichment pulse-chase experiments, together with more traditional measurements of sediment organic geochemistry, and benthic fluxes of nutrients and dissolved organic and inorganic carbon. Current and future projects will include manipulative experiments to investigate the impacts of climate change stressors on benthic community biogeochemical function.

PhD Supervision

Louise Brown - Starting October 2017, 'Investigating marine benthic ecosystem response to global environmental change'

Asib Ahmed - Started January 2016, 'Assessment of susceptibility and community resilience capacity to changes in coastal land dynamics in Bangladesh'

Dr James Bell - Completed May 2017, 'Sedimented chemosynthetic ecosystems of the Southern Ocean'

Dr Carol White - Completed 2016, 'Organic matter cycling in hypoxic environments: the role of oxygen availability and benthic faunal communities'


  • September 2016-Challenger Society, Liverpool 13C Pulse Chase Studies of C Cycling at a Diffuse Hydrothermal Vent
  • July 2015-Nutrient Symposium, Leeds Patterns of carbon processing at the seafloor: the role of faunal and microbial communities in moderating carbon flows (invited)
  • April 2013-EGU, Vienna 13C pulse chase studies of C cycling at chemosynthetic sites
  • April 2011-European Geosciences Union, Benthic nutrient dynamics across the Arabian Sea OMZ.
  • July 2009-British Organic Geochemical Society, Bristol, Factors affecting the short-term biological processing of organic carbon in marine sediments: evidence from 13C enrichment studies.
  • January 2009-ASLO, Nice, Uptake and biochemical alteration of organic matter by intertidal polychaetes
  • July 2008-British Organic Geochemical Society, Newcastle, Uptake and Biochemical Alteration of Organic Matter by Intertidal Polychaetes
  • April 2008-EGU, Nice,
    1)  Factors affecting the short-term fate of organic carbon in marine sediments: evidence from 13C enrichment studies
    2) Sediment biogeochemistry across an oxygen minimum zone
  • February 2005-ASLO, Salt Lake City, The role of benthic fauna in sediment organic matter cycling; results of pulse-chase carbon tracer studies across the arabian sea oxygen minimum zone (omz).
  • September 2004-Challenger Society, Liverpool, Tracer Studies of Fauna As Controls On Organic Carbon Burial Across The Arabian Sea Oxygen Minimum Zone.
  • April 2004-EGU, Nice, In situ and shipboard isotope tracer incubation studies of seafloor communities and carbon cycling in the Arabian Sea.