Dr Arwyn Edwards


Dr Arwyn Edwards

Senior Lecturer in Biology

Contact Details


I graduated from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth with a first degree in Microbiology in 2005, staying to complete a Ph.D. within the Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences in 2009. During the tenure of my Ph.D. and as a teaching fellow (2008-2009) I was involved in developing Welsh Medium teaching within the field of Biological Sciences, and continue to do so in my present role as Lecturer (2010) and Senior Lecturer (2015).



Permanently-cold regions account for roughly 80% (by volume) of the biosphere of our planet, which has already been subject to four major glaciations in the last 500 thousand years. Yet we remain profoundly ignorant of the richness & significance of the biodiversity inhabiting these regions since it is largely microbial in nature. However the attention focused upon these regions as a consequence of their apparent vulnerability to climate change coupled with the rapid pace of technological & conceptual development in microbial ecology offers the prospect of unlocking the secrets of life on our frozen planet.

I am interested in improving our understanding at all scales of the dynamics of microbial communities associated with glaciers&ice sheets, from the molecular to the biome. These communities are potentially significant in terms of carbon cycling, interactions with glacier dynamics, as habitats for a diverse range of life-forms & finally models for other microbe-dominated habitats. Away from the ice, I am also involved in projects studying the occurrence of pathogens within the natural environment & the microbial ecology of mine drainage.

A common research theme is the integration of field-based sampling & experimentation (often in the High Arctic or Alps) with laboratory analyses which leverage significant investment at IBERS in terms of high-throughput DNA sequencing (metagenomics & amplicon sequencing) & other -omics strategies.

I jointly lead the Centre for Environmental Microbiology. I am Co-Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on a variety of projects supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (New Investigator), The Royal Society, the NERC/BBSRC SynTax scheme (Co-PI), the Systematics Association, the Society for General Microbiology, the Freshwater Biology Association (C

Research Groups

  • Centre for Glaciology



Segawa, T., Yonezawa, T., Edwards, A., Akiyoshi, A., Tanaka, S., Uetake, J., Irvine-Fynn, T., Fukui, K., Li, Z., Takeuchi, N. 2017. Biogeography of cryonconite forming cyanobacteria on polar and Asian glaciers. Journal of Biogeography 10.1111/jbi.13089

Edwards, A., Cameron, K. 2017. Microbial Life in Supraglacial Environments. In R. Margesin. (ed) Psychrophiles: From Biodiversity to Biotechnology. Springer Nature pp. 57-82. 10.1007/978-3-319-57057-0_4

Ryan, J.C., Hubbard, A., Box, J.E., Brough, S., Cameron, K., Cook, J.M., Cooper, M., Doyle, S.H., Edwards, A., Holt, T., Irvine-Fynn, T., Jones, C., Pitcher, L.H., Rennermalm, Å.K., Smith, L.C., Stibal, M., Snooke, N. 2017. Derivation of High Spatial Resolution Albedo from UAV Digital Imagery: Application over the Greenland Ice Sheet. Frontiers in Earth Science 00040 10.3389/feart.2017.00040 Cadair

Lutz, S., Anesio, A.M., Edwards, A., Benning, L.G. 2017. Linking microbial diversity and functionality of Arctic glacial surface habitats. Environmental Microbiology 19 (2) pp. 551-565. 10.1111/1462-2920.13494 Cadair


Gokul, J., Hodson, A.J., Saetnan, E., Irvine-Fynn, T., Westall, P.J., Detheridge, A., Takeuchi, N., Bussell, J., Mur, L., Edwards, A. 2016. Taxon interactions control the distributions of cryoconite bacteria colonizing a High Arctic ice cap. Molecular Ecology 25 (15) pp. 3752-3767. 10.1111/mec.13715 Cadair

Cook, J.M., Edwards, A., Bulling, M., Mur, L.A.J., Cook, S., Gokul, J.K., Cameron, K.A., Sweet, M., Irvine-Fynn, T.D.L. 2016. Metabolome-mediated biocryomorphic evolution promotes carbon fixation in Greenlandic cryoconite holes. Environmental Microbiology 18 (Thematic Issue) pp. 4674-4686. 10.1111/1462-2920.13349 Cadair

Hill, R., Saetnan, E.R., Scullion, J., Jones, D., Ostle, N.J., Edwards, A. 2016. Temporal and spatial influences incur reconfiguration of Arctic heathland soil bacterial community structure. Environmental Microbiology 18 (6) pp. 1942-1953. 10.1111/1462-2920.13017 Cadair

Lutz, S., Anesio, A.M., Raiswell, R., Edwards, A., Newton, R.J., Gill, F., Benning, L.G. 2016. The biogeography of red snow microbiomes and their role in melting arctic glaciers. Nature Communications 7 11968 10.1038/ncomms11968 Cadair

Edwards Rassner, S., Anesio, A., Girdwood, S.E., Hell, K., Gokul, J., Whitworth, D., Edwards, A. 2016. Can the bacterial community of a High Arctic glacier surface escape viral control? Frontiers in Microbiology 7 956 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00956 Cadair

Douglas, J., Worgan, H., Easton, G., Poret, L., Wolf, B., Edwards, A., Davies, E., Ross, D., McEwan, N. 2016. Microbial diversity in the digestive tract of two different breeds of sheep. Journal of Applied Microbiology 120 (5) pp. 1382-1389. 10.1111/jam.13060 Cadair

Pearce, D.A., Alekhina, I.A., Terauds, A., Wilmotte, A., Quesada, A., Edwards, A., Dommergue, A., Sattler, B., Adams, B., Magalhães, C.M., Chu, W., Lau, M., Cary, S.C., Smith, D.J., Wall, D., Eguren, G., Matcher, G., Bradley, J., de Vera, J.P., Elster, J., Hughes, K., Benning, L.G., Gunde-Cimerman, N., Convey, P., Hong, S.G., Pointing, S.B., Pellizari, V.H., Vincent, W.F. 2016. Aerobiology over Antarctica – a new initiative for atmospheric ecology. Frontiers in Microbiology 7 7 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00016 Cadair

Cook, J., Edwards, A., Takeuchi, N., Irvine-Fynn, T. 2016. Cryoconite: The dark biological secret of the cryosphere. Progress in Physical Geography 40 (1) pp. 66-111. 10.1177/0309133315616574 Cadair

Stevens, I.T., Irvine-Fynn, T., Porter, P.R., Smart, M., Moorman, B.J., Hodson, A.J., Edwards, A., Mitchell, A. 2016. Near-surface permeability of Northern Hemisphere Glaciers. AGU Fall Meeting 2016. Other Cadair


Cook, J., Edwards, A., Hubbard, A. 2015. Biocryomorphology: Integrating Microbial Processes with Ice Surface Hydrology, Topography, and Roughness. Frontiers in Earth Science 10.3389/feart.2015.00078 Cadair

Lutz, S., Anesio, A.M., Edwards, A., Benning, L. 2015. Microbial diversity on Icelandic glaciers and ice caps. Frontiers in Microbiology 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00307 Cadair

Edwards, A. 2015. Coming in from the cold: Potential microbial threats from the terrestrial cryosphere. Frontiers in Earth Science pp. 1-4. 10.3389/feart.2015.00012 Cadair

Stibal, M., Gözdereliler, E., Cameron, K., Box, J.E., Stevens, I., Gokul, J., Schostag, M., Zarsky, J., Edwards, A., Irvine-Fynn, T., Jacobsen, C. 2015. Microbial abundance in surface ice on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Frontiers in Microbiology 6 (225) 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00225 Cadair

Edwards, A., Cook, S.C. 2015. Microbial dynamics in glacier forefield soils show succession is not just skin deep. Molecular Ecology 24 (5) pp. 963-966. 10.1111/mec.13098 Cadair

Irvine-Fynn, T., Edwards, A., Mitchell, A. 2015. Is there life on glaciers?: Glacier ecosystems and their impacts. Geography Review 28 (3) pp. 38-41. Cadair

Gwynn-Jones, D., Jones, A., Ostle, N., Edwards, A., Scullion, J., Hill, R., Comont, D., Bussell, J., Oakley, S., Mason, K., Callaghan, T.V. 2015. How does increasing CO2 affect soil microbial diversity and carbon fluxes? In T. V. Callaghan., H. Savela. (eds) INTERACT Stories of Arctic Science. Aarhus University Press pp. 96-97. Other


Ransom-Jones, E., Jones, D.L., Edwards, A., McDonald, J.E. 2014. Distribution and diversity of members of the bacterial phylum Fibrobacteres in environments where cellulose degradation occurs. Systematic and Applied Microbiology 37 (7) pp. 502-509. 10.1016/j.syapm.2014.06.001 Cadair

Edwards, A., Mur, L., Girdwood, S., Anesio, A.M., Stibal, M., Edwards Rassner, S., Hell, K., Pachebat, J., Post, B., Bussell, J.S., Cameron, S., Griffith, G., Hodson, A.J., Sattler, B. 2014. Coupled cryoconite ecosystem structure–function relationships are revealed by comparing bacterial communities in alpine and Arctic glaciers. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 89 (2) pp. 222-237. 10.1111/1574-6941.12283 Cadair

Edwards, A., Irvine-Fynn, T.D., Mitchell, A.C., Edwards Rassner, S.M. 2014. A germ theory for glacial systems? WIREs Water 1 (4) pp. 331-340. 10.1002/wat2.1029 Cadair

Irvine-Fynn, T.D., Edwards, A. 2014. A frozen asset: The potential of flow cytometry in constraining the glacial biome. Cytometry Part A 85 (1) pp. 3-7. 10.1002/cyto.a.22411 Cadair

Langford, H.J., Irvine-Fynn, T.D., Edwards, A., Banwart, S.A., Hodson, A.J. 2014. A spatial investigation of the environmental controls over cryoconite aggregation on Longyearbreen glacier, Svalbard. Biogeosciences Discussions 11 pp. 3423-3463. 10.5194/bgd-11-3423-2014 Cadair

Blackwell, N.L., Edwards, A., Perkins, W.T. 2014. Etifeddiaeth gweithgareddau mwyngloddio ym maes glo de Cymru: llygredd dŵr, ffurfiant mwynau haearn ac opsiynau glanhau dŵr cyffredin. Gwerddon 18 pp. 55-70. Cadair


Edwards, A., Douglas, B., Anesio, A.M., Rassner, S.M., Irvine-fynn, T.D., Sattler, B., Griffith, G.W. 2013. A distinctive fungal community inhabiting cryoconite holes on glaciers in Svalbard. Fungal Ecology 10.1016/j.funeco.2012.11.001 Cadair

Hell, K., Edwards, A., Zarsky, J., Podmirseg, S.M., Girdwood, S., Pachebat, J.A., Insam, H., Sattler, B. 2013. The dynamic bacterial communities of a melting High Arctic glacier snowpack. ISME Journal 7 pp. 1814-1826. 10.1038/ismej.2013.51 Cadair

Edwards, A., Rassner, S.M., Anesio, A.M., Worgan, H.J., Irvine-Fynn, T.D., Williams, H.W., Sattler, B., Griffith, G.W. 2013. Contrasts between the cryoconite and ice-marginal bacterial communities of Svalbard glaciers: Bacterial communities of Svalbard glaciers. Polar Research 32 19468 10.3402/polar.v32i0.19468 Cadair

Edwards, A., Pachebat, J.A., Swain, M.T., Hegarty, M.J., Hodson, A.J., Irvine-Fynn, T.D., Edwards Rassner, S.M., Sattler, B. 2013. A metagenomic snapshot of taxonomic and functional diversity in an Alpine glacier cryoconite ecosystem: Alpine cryoconite metagenome. Environmental Research Letters 8 (3) 035003 10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/035003 Cadair


Dougal, K., Harris, P.A., Edwards, A., Pachebat, J.A., Blackmore, T.M., Worgan, H.J., Newbold, C.J. 2012. A comparison of the microbiome and the metabolome of different regions of the equine hindgut. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 82 (3) pp. 642-652. 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2012.01441.x Cadair

Edwards, A., Rassner, S.M., Irvine-Fynn, T.D., Williams, H.W., Griffith, G.W. 2012. Darogan cyfraniadau rhewlifoedd olaf Eryri i gylchredoedd carbon Cyfnod y Dryas Diweddaraf ar sail modelau amrwd o ecosystemau rhewlifol y cyfnod hwyr-rewlifol. [Predicting contributions by the last glaciers of Eryri (Snowdonia) to Younger Dryas carbon cycling on the basis of numerical models of late-glacial ecosystems.] Gwerddon (12) pp. 53-79. Other Cadair

Irvine-Fynn, T.D.L., Edwards, A., Newton, S., Langford, H., Rassner, S.M., Telling, J., Anesio, A.M., Hodson, A.J. 2012. Microbial cell budgets of an Arctic glacier surface quantified using flow cytometry. Environmental Microbiology 14 (11) pp. 2998-3012. 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2012.02876.x Cadair


Edwards, A., Anesio, A.M., Edwards Rassner, S.M., Sattler, B., Hubbard, B.P., Perkins, W.T., Young, M., Griffith, G.W. 2011. Possible interactions between bacterial diversity, microbial activity and supraglacial hydrology of cryoconite holes in Svalbard. ISME Journal 5 (1) pp. 150-160. 10.1038/ismej.2010.100 Cadair


Griffith, G., Easton, G.L., Detheridge, A., Roderick, K., Edwards, A., Worgan, H.J., Nicholson, J., Perkins, W.T. 2007. Copper deficiency in potato dextrose agar causes reduced pigmentation in cultures of various fungi. FEMS Microbiology Letters 276 (2) pp. 165-171. 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2007.00923.x Cadair