Ian Stevens

Photograph of Ian Stevens.PhD Student
MSc Glaciology (Aberystwyth University)
BSc Physical Geography (Aberystwyth University)


Email: its@aber.ac.uk
Office: H2
Tel: +44 (0)1970 62 8745


Exploring the eco-hydrology of glacier surfaces

Supervisor(s): Dr Tristram Irvine-Fynn, Dr Andy Mitchell, Dr Arwyn Edwards (IBERS)


Ian undertook a BSc in Physical Geography at Aberystwyth graduating in 2013. During this time he developed a keen interest in glaciology, specifically relating to processes at the glacier surface. His dissertation explored the spatial distribution and influence of cryoconite, a biologic and mineral aggregate, on the albedo of the Glacier d’Argentière in the French Alps. Naturally, this lead to Ian studying an MSc in Glaciology at Aberystwyth during 2013-2014. For his thesis, he studied the hydrology of the weathering crust and its influences on the micro-organisms within it at Fountain Glacier, Bylot Island, Canada.

During this time, Ian successfully applied for a PhD (again in Aberystwyth) to continue exploring the behaviour and influences of hydrology and microbiology at the glacier surface; a project involving collaboration with researchers in IBERS and the University of Derby. Knowledge of glacial biomass remains limited despite having estimated cell counts equal or greater than that of ecologically rich habitats such as rainforest soils or the upper 200 m of the oceans. As such, several key research targets remain, which Ian will explore throughout his PhD: 1) enhance and expand existing supraglacial ecological datasets and 2) explore linkages between biotic distribution and the development of the drainage network. This data will be used to ascertain the temporal and spatial development and fluxes of the supraglacial ecosystem, and its interactions with supraglacial hydrology.

Group Affiliation



Research Interests

  • Glacial microbiology
  • Supraglacial hydrology
  • Surface energy balance
  • Biogeochemistry of supraglacial environments



  • GG30320: Process Glaciology
  • GG11910: Academic Tutor for BSc Physical Geography
  • EAM2320 Glaciological Field Techniques
  • Physical Geography Seminar Series Coordinator


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Stibal M, Gözdereliler E, Cameron KA, Box JE, Stevens IT, Gokul JK, Schostag M, Zarsky JD, Edwards A, Irvine-Fynn TD and Jacobsen CS (2015). Microbial abundance in surface ice on the Greenland Ice Sheet. Front. Microbiol. 6:225. DOI