Liverpool Skylilne

School of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Dr Richard Webster

Dr Richard Webster

Telephone: 0151 231 8036



Photosynthesis | Physiology | Climate Change

My main research interest is the process of photosynthesis; its function & interaction with the environment & how this process can be improved. I investigate how plants cope with changing environments, how this affects their photosynthetic capability & what this means for their growth, development & yield.

My work requires understanding the fundamentals of both the light & light independent reactions of photosynthesis. Through quantifying photosynthetic electron transport, energy production, CO2 diffusion and assimilation, photorespiration, & other metabolic processes such as the translocation & storage of assimilates, to describe growth & understand the interaction of the plant and its photosynthesis to the environment.


University of Essex, United Kingdom, PhD Environmental Plant Physiology
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, USA, MSc Environmental Plant Physiology
University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, BSc (Hons) Plant Sciences

Academic appointments

Lecturer Plant Physiology, Liverpool John Moores University, 2018 - present
Senior Research Scientist., Aberystwyth University, 2018 - 2018
Senior Research Associate., National Institute of Agricultural Botany, 2017 - 2018
Associate Professor, Aarhus University, 2016 - 2017
Research Associate., Aberystwyth University, 2009 - 2017
Research Officer., University of Essex, 2008 - 2009
Researcher, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2001 - 2005
Researcher, University of the West Indies, 1999 - 2001


Journal article

Rusinowski S, Krzyżak J, Clifton-Brown J, Jensen E, Mos M, Webster R, Sitko K, Pogrzeba M. 2019. New Miscanthus hybrids cultivated at a Polish metal-contaminated site demonstrate high stomatal regulation and reduced shoot Pb and Cd concentrations Environmental Pollution, 252 :1377-1387 DOI Author Url Public Url

Stavridou E, Webster R, Robson PRH. 2019. Novel Miscanthus genotypes selected for different drought tolerance phenotypes show enhanced tolerance across combinations of salinity and drought treatments Annals of Botany, :1-22 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

King NG, Wilcockson DC, Webster R, Smale DA, Hoelters LS, Moore PJ. 2017. Cumulative stress restricts niche filling potential of habitat-forming kelps in a future climate Functional Ecology, 32 :288-299 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Stavridou E, Hastings A, Webster RJ, Robson PRH. 2017. The impact of soil salinity on the yield, composition and physiology of the bioenergy grass Miscanthus x giganteus GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY BIOENERGY, 9 :92-104 DOI Author Url

Clifton-Brown J, Hastings A, Mos M, Mccalmont JP, Ashman C, Awty-Carroll D, Cerazy J, Chiang Y-C, Cosentino S, Cracroft-Eley W, Scurlock J, Donnison IS, Glover C, Golazb I, Greef JM, Gwyn J, Harding G, Hayes C, Helios W, Hsu T-W, Huang LS, Jezowski S, Kim D-S, Kiesel A, Kotecki A, Krzyzak J, Lewandowski I, Lim SH, Liu J, Loosely M, Meyer H, Murphy-Bokern D, Nelson W, Pogrzeba M, Robinson G, Robson P, Rogers C, Scalici G, Schuele H, Shafiei R, Shevchuk O, Schwarz K-U, Squance M, Swaller T, Thornton J, Truckses T, Botnari V, Vizir I, Wagner M, Warren R, Webster R, Yamada T, Youell S, Xi Q, Zong J, Flavell R. 2016. Progress in upscaling Miscanthus biomass production for the European bio-economy with seed-based hybrids GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY BIOENERGY, 9 :6-17 DOI Author Url Public Url

Webster RJ, Driever SM, Kromdijk J, McGrath J, Leakey ADB, Siebke K, Demetriades-Shah T, Bonnage S, Peloe T, Lawson T, Long SP. 2016. High C3 photosynthetic capacity and high intrinsic water use efficiency underlies the high productivity of the bioenergy grass Arundo donax SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6 DOI Author Url

Beddow J, Johnson RJ, Lawson T, Breckels MN, Webster RJ, Smith BE, Rowland SJ, Whitby C. 2016. The effect of oil sands process -affected water and model naphthenic acids on photosynthesis and growth in Emiliania huxleyi and Chlorella vulgaris CHEMOSPHERE, 145 :416-423 DOI Author Url

Boeckx T, Webster R, Winters AL, Webb KJ, Gay A, Kingston-Smith AH. 2015. Polyphenol oxidase-mediated protection against oxidative stress is not associated with enhanced photosynthetic efficiency ANNALS OF BOTANY, 116 :529-540 DOI Author Url

Purdy SJ, Maddison AL, Jones LE, Webster RJ, Andralojc J, Donnison I, Clifton-Brown J. 2013. Characterization of chilling-shock responses in four genotypes of Miscanthus reveals the superior tolerance of M. x giganteus compared with M. sinensis and M. sacchariflorus ANNALS OF BOTANY, 111 :999-1013 DOI Author Url

Archer SD, Ragni M, Webster R, Airs RL, Geider RJ. 2010. Dimethyl sulfoniopropionate and dimethyl sulfide production in response to photoinhibition in Emiliania huxleyi LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY, 55 :1579-1589 DOI Author Url


Lefebvre SC, Benner I, Stillman JH, Parker AE, Drake MK, Rossignol PE, Okimura KM, Komada T, Carpenter EJ. Nitrogen source and pCO2 synergistically affect carbon allocation, growth and morphology of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi: potential implications of ocean acidification for the carbon cycle Global Change Biology, 18 :493-503 DOI

Rusinowski S, Krzyżak J, Webster R, Clifton-Brown J, Jensen E, Mos M, Sitko K, Pogrzeba M. New Miscanthus hybrids demonstrate superior stomatal regulation and reduced heavy metal accumulation during cultivation on contaminated soil Scientific Reports,


Brown JC, Robson P, Davey C, Farrar K, Hayes C, Huang L, Jensen E, Jones L, Hinton-Jones M, Maddison A, Meyer H, Norris J, Purdy S, Rodgers C, Schwarz KU, Salvatore C, Slavov G, Valentine J, Webster R, Youell S, Donnison I. 2013. Breeding Miscanthus for Bioenergy Bioenergy Feedstocks: Breeding and Genetics :67-81 9780470960332 DOI

Engagement & Impact

Other Professional Activity:

Co-organiser Plant Environmental Physiology Group (PEPG) Workshop. The Workshop provides a unique opportunity for MSc, PhD students and early career researchers to gain hands-on experience and training in plant ecophysiology techniques from leading scientists and manufacturers. The intensive five day long workshop will include demonstrations of key field and lab techniques: - leaf-level processes including photosynthetic gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence (imaging), water status and hydraulic conductance - canopy processes including stable isotopes, monitoring canopy development/Leaf Area Index, IR thermography and soil water/nutrient status - theory and practice of long-term monitoring under field conditions, including micrometeorology, eddy covariance, and remote sensing methodologies..