Professor David J Beerling

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

Sorby Professor of Natural Sciences

  • 2016-present Director, Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation (LC3M)
  • Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield
  • 2014 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society
  • 2009–2014 Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award holder
  • 2002 Appointed to a Personal Chair, University of Sheffield
  • 2008–2009 Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Environmental Scholar (Yale University)
  • 2001–2003 Philip Leverhulme Prize holder
  • 1994–2002 Royal Society University Research Fellow, University of Sheffield
  • 1990–1993 Postdoctoral research associate (×2, NERC, EU)
  • 1990 PhD (botany), University of Wales, College of Cardiff
  • 1987 Honours Botany, University of Wales, College of Cardiff
Research interests

I am the founder and Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation, a premier international Centre for carbon dioxide removal, funded through a Leverhulme Research Centre award in 2015 (£10 million) from the Leverhulme Trust. We focus on the biogeochemical improvement of agricultural lands with natural and artificial silicates. A notable early achievement has been our establishment of a network of long-term field sites across three continents assessing carbon capture with diverse agricultural ecosystems and possible co-benefits for soil health and yields, alongside engagement with the public, NGOs and stakeholders.


Journal articles

Research group

Graduate Students

Research Staff

Technical Support

Teaching activities

My research interests are generally reflected in my undergraduate graduate teaching through the following level 3 and level 4 modules:

  • Co-ordinator and lecturer on Level 3 Module APS313 Global Change
  • Co-ordinator and lecturer on Level 4 Module APS407 Research and Study Skills in Biology

Level 3 and 4 undergraduate Research Projects in my lab have investigated plants responses to past, present and future atmospheric CO2 concentrations and CO2 effects on functional aspects of early land plant partnerships with mycorrhizal fungi.

Professional activities
  • 2019–present Council Member, Royal Society, London
  • 2018-present Editor-in-Chief, Biology Letters
  • 2017–2019 Chair, Sectional Committee 5 (Earth and Environment), Royal Society, London
  • 2016–2018 Member, Sectional Committee 5 (Earth and Environment), Royal Society, London
  • 2017-2018 Member, Greenhouse Gas Removal Technologies Work Group, Royal Society-Royal Academy of Engineering
  • 2017 Member, Steering Committee, Royal Society and National Academy of Sciences Sackler Forum
  • 2013-2015 Royal Society Newton International Fellowship Board
  • 2011-2012 Series Consultant, BBC2 Television, How to Grow a Planet
  • 2009-2012 Board of Advisors, Annals of Botany Plants (Oxford University Press)
  • 2007-2011 Scientific Steering Committee, NERC/WUN Weathering Science Consortium
  • 2008-2010 ARC-NZ Network for Vegetation Function, Working Group 50: Stomata and Climate Change
  • 2000-2003 NERC, Atmospheric Sciences Peer Review Committee
  • 2014 Editorial Board, Royal Society Open Science
  • 2013 Federation of European Societies of Plant Biology (FESPB) Scientific Programme Committee
  • 2012 Advisory Group, Society of Experimental Biology
  • 2011 Origins of C4 grasslands Working Group, National Evolutionary Synthesis Centre (Durham, NC)
  • 2011 Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Working Group: Climate Sensitivity
  • 2010 NASA/GISS (New York) Working Group: Climate sensitivity in the Anthropocene

Selected Invited Lectures (since 2010)

  • 2019 PLENARY. Gordon Research Conference Carbon Capture and Utilization, Switzerland
  • 2018 PLENARY. FWO 90th Celebration, Antwerp
  • 2018 COP24, Katowice, Poland
  • 2018 University of Toronto, Global Change Seminar Series
  • 2018 University of Dalhousie, Earth Science Seminar Series
  • 2018 PLENARY. New Phytologist Future of Plant Science, Nancy, France
  • 2018 John Innes Friday Seminar, John Innes Centre, Norwich
  • 2017 Sackler Forum, Kavli Royal Society International Centre, Chicheley Hall
  • 2017 Decarbonizing the UK economy, Royal Society, London
  • 2017 PLENARY. New Phytologist Next Generation Scientists, John Innes Centre, Norwich
  • 2016 Negative emissions, Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco
  • 2014 PLENARY. Geochemistry at the Earth's Surface, Paris, France
  • 2014 PLENARY. Plant Biology Europe FESPB/EPSO Congress, Dublin, UK
  • 2014 KEYNOTE GRC CO2 assimilation from genome to biome, New Hampshire, USA
  • 2013 HOLDEN BOTANY LECTURE, University of Nottingham, UK
  • 2013 PLENARY. 16th International Congress of Photosynthesis, St Louis, Missouri, USA
  • 2012 KEYNOTE. Society for Experimental Biology, Salzburg, Austria
  • 2012 THE ROTHAMSTED LECTURE, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden
  • 2011 PLENARY. 4th Annual Journée d'Ecologie Toulousaine Symposium, INRA, Toulouse, France
  • 2011 KEYNOTE. Centenary Symposium, British Ecological Society (Journal of Ecology)
  • 2011 PLENARY. Darwin Centre for Biogeosciences, Netherlands
  • 2011 PLENARY. South African Association of Botanists Annual Conference, Rhodes University, USA
  • 2010 PLENARY. 25th New Phytologist Symposium, Bristol, UK