Image of Dr Richard Webster

Dr Richard Webster

School of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Faculty of Science

Plant Biology | Crop Science | Photosynthesis | Physiology | Climate Change

I am a Plant Physiologist and Plant Biologist. My research is on a wide range of plant species, including crops. My research often involves investigating limitations to plant physiology due to environmental factors, and developing means to improve plant performance, growth and yield.

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.


- Optimising Miscanthus Establishment through improved mechanisation and data capture to achieve Net Zero targets (OMENZ). (Funder - Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy).
- Enhancing productivity and resource use efficiency in Vertical Farming Systems. (Funder - LCEI).
- Circular economy of grass clippings nutrients as substitute fertilizer application. (Funder - SCS-QR).
- Microwave assisted extraction of green Liquor fertilizer from grass clippings. (Funder - LJMU Pump Priming).


We have PhD Scholarships available.
We have Research Collaboration and Partnership funding available.


3401FNDSCI Skills and Perspectives in Science 1.
3405FNDSCI Skills and Perspectives in Science 2.
3409FNDSCI Building Blocks of Life.
4201NATSCI Fundamentals of Scientific Research.
4202NATSCI Practical Skills for Biology.
4211NATSCI Physiology.
5201NATSCI Research Skills.
5207NATSCI Wildlife and Ecosystem Management.
5209NATSCI Marine and Freshwater Biology.
5405NATSCI Impacts of Climate Change on Biological Processes.
6201NATSCI Research Project.
6213NATSCI Applied Marine Biology.

Plant Environmental Physiology Group (PEPG)


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


2021, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom, Postgraduate Certificate Academic Practice
2021, Advance HE, United Kingdom, Fellowship (FHEA)

Academic appointments

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

Postgraduate training

Postgraduate Certificate Academic Practice, United Kingdom, LJMU, ? - present

Journal article

Hodgson EM, McCalmont J, Rowe R, Whitaker J, Holder A, Clifton-Brown JC, Thornton J, Hastings A, Robson PRH, Webster RJ, Farrar K, Donnison IS. 2024. Upscaling miscanthus production in the United Kingdom: The benefits, challenges, and trade-offs GCB Bioenergy, 16 DOI Publisher Url

Zahradnik S, Tsampalieros A, Okeny-Owere J, Webster RJ, Bedard P, Seidman G, Thampi N. 2024. Hand hygiene knowledge and practices of family caregivers in inpatient pediatrics Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 45 :253-256 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Lea JM, Fitt R, Brough S, Carr G, Dick J, Jones N, Webster R. 2024. Making climate reanalysis and CMIP6 data processing easy: two "point-and-click" cloud based user interfaces for environmental and ecological studies Frontiers in Environmental Science, 12 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Thomas AD, Elliott DR, Hardcastle D, Strong CL, Bullard J, Webster R, Lan S. 2022. Soil biocrusts affect metabolic response to hydration on dunes in west Queensland, Australia Geoderma, 405 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Stavridou E, Webster RJ, Robson PRH. 2020. The Effects of Moderate and Severe Salinity on Composition and Physiology in the Biomass Crop Miscanthus x giganteus Plants, 9 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

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 Publisher 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, DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

King NG, Wilcockson DC, Webster R, Smale DA, Hoelters LS, Moore PJ. 2018. 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 Publisher 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 Publisher 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 Publisher 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 Publisher 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 Publisher 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 Publisher Url

Lefebvre SC, Benner I, Stillman JH, Parker AE, Drake MK, Rossignol PE, Okimura KM, Komada T, Carpenter EJ. 2012. 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 Publisher 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 Publisher Url



Lea J, Fitt R, Brough S, Carr G, Dick J, Jones N, Saetnan E, Webster R. 2023. Google Earth Engine Climate Tool (GEEClimT): Enabling rapid, easy access to global climate reanalysis data DOI Publisher Url


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 DOI Publisher Url

Other Professional Activity:

Plant Environmental Physiology Group (PEPG). I am a co-organiser of PEPG group events. We run a Workshop which 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.