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


Near-surface hydraulic conductivity of Northern Hemisphere glaciersStevens, I. T., Irvine-Fynn, T., Porter, P. R., Cook, J. M., Edwards, A., Smart, M., Moorman, B. J., Hodson, A. J. & Mitchell, A. 2018 In : Hydrological Processes.
Biogeography of cryonconite forming cyanobacteria on polar and Asian glaciersSegawa, T., Yonezawa, T., Edwards, A., Akiyoshi, A., Tanaka, S., Uetake, J., Irvine-Fynn, T., Fukui, K., Li, Z. & Takeuchi, N. 2017 In : Journal of Biogeography.
Microbial Life in Supraglacial EnvironmentsEdwards, A. & Cameron, K. 2017 Psychrophiles: From Biodiversity to Biotechnology. Margesin, R. (ed.). Springer Nature, p. 57-82
Derivation of High Spatial Resolution Albedo from UAV Digital Imagery: Application over the Greenland Ice SheetRyan, 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 In : Frontiers in Earth Science. 00040
Linking microbial diversity and functionality of Arctic glacial surface habitatsLutz, S., Anesio, A. M., Edwards, A. & Benning, L. G. 2017 In : Environmental Microbiology.19, 2, p. 551-565
Taxon interactions control the distributions of cryoconite bacteria colonizing a High Arctic ice capGokul, J., Hodson, A. J., Saetnan, E., Irvine-Fynn, T., Westall, P. J., Detheridge, A., Takeuchi, N., Bussell, J., Mur, L. & Edwards, A. 2016 In : Molecular Ecology.25, 15, p. 3752-376716 p.
Metabolome-mediated biocryomorphic evolution promotes carbon fixation in Greenlandic cryoconite holesCook, 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 In : Environmental Microbiology.18, Thematic Issue, p. 4674-4686
Temporal and spatial influences incur reconfiguration of Arctic heathland soil bacterial community structureHill, R., Saetnan, E. R., Scullion, J., Jones, D., Ostle, . N. J. & Edwards, A. 2016 In : Environmental Microbiology.18, 6, p. 1942-195312 p.
The biogeography of red snow microbiomes and their role in melting arctic glaciersLutz, S., Anesio, A. M., Raiswell, R., Edwards, A., Newton, R. J., Gill, F. & Benning, L. G. 2016 In : Nature Communications.7, 11968
Can the bacterial community of a High Arctic glacier surface escape viral control?Edwards Rassner, S., Anesio, A., Girdwood, S. E., Hell, K., Gokul, J., Whitworth, D. & Edwards, A. 2016 In : Frontiers in Microbiology.7, 956
Microbial diversity in the digestive tract of two different breeds of sheepDouglas, J-L., Worgan, H., Easton, G., Poret, L., Wolf, B., Edwards, A., Davies, E., Ross, D. & McEwan, N. 2016 In : Journal of Applied Microbiology.120, 5, p. 1382-13898 p.
Aerobiology over Antarctica – a new initiative for atmospheric ecologyPearce, D. A., Alekhina, I. A., Terauds, A., Wilmotte, A., Quesada, A., Edwards, A., Dommergue, A., Sattler, B., Adams, B., Magalhães, C. M., Chu, W-L., Lau, M., Cary, S. C., Smith, D. J., Wall, D., Eguren, G., Matcher, G., Bradley, J., de Vera, J-P. 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 In : Frontiers in Microbiology.7, 7
Cryoconite: The dark biological secret of the cryosphereCook, J., Edwards, A., Takeuchi, N. & Irvine-Fynn, T. 2016 In : Progress in Physical Geography.40, 1, p. 66-111
Near-surface permeability of Northern Hemisphere GlaciersStevens, I. T., Irvine-Fynn, T., Porter, P. R., Smart, M., Moorman, B. J., Hodson, A. J., Edwards, A. & Mitchell, A. 2016 p. C41D-0708
Biocryomorphology: Integrating Microbial Processes with Ice Surface Hydrology, Topography, and RoughnessCook, J., Edwards, A. & Hubbard, A. 2015 In : Frontiers in Earth Science.
Microbial diversity on Icelandic glaciers and ice capsLutz, S., Anesio, A. M., Edwards, A. & Benning, L. 2015 In : Frontiers in Microbiology.
Coming in from the cold: Potential microbial threats from the terrestrial cryosphereEdwards, A. 2015 In : Frontiers in Earth Science.p. 1-44 p.
Microbial abundance in surface ice on the Greenland Ice SheetStibal, M., Gözdereliler, E., Cameron, K., Box, J. E., Stevens, I., Gokul, J., Schostag, M., Zarsky, J., Edwards, A., Irvine-Fynn, T. & Jacobsen, C. 2015 In : Frontiers in Microbiology.6, 225
Microbial dynamics in glacier forefield soils show succession is not just skin deepEdwards, A. & Cook, S. C. 2015 In : Molecular Ecology.24, 5, p. 963-966
Is there life on glaciers?: Glacier ecosystems and their impactsIrvine-Fynn, T., Edwards, A. & Mitchell, A. 2015 In : Geography Review.28, 3, p. 38-41
How does increasing CO2 affect soil microbial diversity and carbon fluxes?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 INTERACT Stories of Arctic Science. Callaghan, T. V. & Savela, H. (eds.). Aarhus University Press, p. 96-972 p.
Distribution and diversity of members of the bacterial phylum Fibrobacteres in environments where cellulose degradation occurs.Ransom-Jones, E., Jones, D. L., Edwards, A. & McDonald, J. E. 2014 In : Systematic and Applied Microbiology.37, 7, p. 502-5098 p.
Coupled cryoconite ecosystem structure–function relationships are revealed by comparing bacterial communities in alpine and Arctic glaciersEdwards, 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 In : FEMS Microbiology Ecology.89, 2, p. 222-23715 p.
A germ theory for glacial systems?Edwards, A., Irvine-Fynn, T. D., Mitchell, A. C. & Edwards Rassner, S. M. 2014 In : WIREs Water.1, 4, p. 331-34010 p.
A frozen asset: The potential of flow cytometry in constraining the glacial biomeIrvine-Fynn, T. D. & Edwards, A. 2014 In : Cytometry Part A.85, 1, p. 3-75 p.
A spatial investigation of the environmental controls over cryoconite aggregation on Longyearbreen glacier, Svalbard.Langford, H. J., Irvine-Fynn, T. D., Edwards, A., Banwart, S. A. & Hodson, A. J. 2014 In : Biogeosciences Discussions.11, p. 3423-34635 p.
Etifeddiaeth gweithgareddau mwyngloddio ym maes glo de Cymru: llygredd dŵr, ffurfiant mwynau haearn ac opsiynau glanhau dŵr cyffredin.Blackwell, N. L., Edwards, A. & Perkins, W. T. 2014 In : Gwerddon.18, p. 55-70
A distinctive fungal community inhabiting cryoconite holes on glaciers in SvalbardEdwards, A., Douglas, B., Anesio, A. M., Rassner, S. M., Irvine-fynn, T. D., Sattler, B. & Griffith, G. W. 2013 In : Fungal Ecology.
The dynamic bacterial communities of a melting High Arctic glacier snowpackHell, K., Edwards, A., Zarsky, J., Podmirseg, S. M., Girdwood, S., Pachebat, J. A., Insam, H. & Sattler, B. 2013 In : ISME Journal.7, p. 1814-1826
Contrasts between the cryoconite and ice-marginal bacterial communities of Svalbard glaciers: Bacterial communities of Svalbard glaciersEdwards, A., Rassner, S. M., Anesio, A. M., Worgan, H. J., Irvine-Fynn, T. D., Williams, H. W., Sattler, B. & Griffith, G. W. 2013 In : Polar Research.32, 19468
A metagenomic snapshot of taxonomic and functional diversity in an Alpine glacier cryoconite ecosystem: Alpine cryoconite metagenomeEdwards, A., Pachebat, J. A., Swain, M. T., Hegarty, M. J., Hodson, A. J., Irvine-Fynn, T. D., Edwards Rassner, S. M. & Sattler, B. 2013 In : Environmental Research Letters.8, 3, 035003
A comparison of the microbiome and the metabolome of different regions of the equine hindgutDougal, K., Harris, P. A., Edwards, A., Pachebat, J. A., Blackmore, T. M., Worgan, H. J. & Newbold, C. J. 2012 In : FEMS Microbiology Ecology.82, 3, p. 642-65211 p.
Darogan cyfraniadau rhewlifoedd olaf Eryri i gylchredoedd carbon Cyfnod y Dryas Diweddaraf ar sail modelau amrwd o ecosystemau rhewlifol y cyfnod hwyr-rewlifolEdwards, A., Rassner, S. M., Irvine-Fynn, T. D., Williams, H. W. & Griffith, G. W. 2012 In : Gwerddon.12, p. 53-79
Microbial cell budgets of an Arctic glacier surface quantified using flow cytometryIrvine-Fynn, T. D. L., Edwards, A., Newton, S., Langford, H., Rassner, S. M., Telling, J., Anesio, A. M. & Hodson, A. J. 2012 In : Environmental Microbiology.14, 11, p. 2998-3012
Possible interactions between bacterial diversity, microbial activity and supraglacial hydrology of cryoconite holes in SvalbardEdwards, A., Anesio, A. M., Edwards Rassner, S. M., Sattler, B., Hubbard, B. P., Perkins, W. T., Young, M. & Griffith, G. W. 2011 In : ISME Journal.5, 1, p. 150-16011 p.
Copper deficiency in potato dextrose agar causes reduced pigmentation in cultures of various fungiGriffith, G., Easton, G. L., Detheridge, A., Roderick, K., Edwards, A., Worgan, H. J., Nicholson, J. & Perkins, W. T. 2007 In : FEMS Microbiology Letters.276, 2, p. 165-171