Dr Arwyn Edwards


Dr Arwyn Edwards

Reader in Biology

Department of Life Sciences

Contact Details


I am presently a Reader in Biosciences at the Department of Life Sciences of Aberystwyth University with research interests in planetary health microbiology. Currently, I am the course coordinator for the Department's Microbiology degree schemes and the Director of the University's Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Environmental Microbiology (AU iCEM). As a BSc graduate in Microbiology (2005) and PhD (2009) at Aberystwyth before joining the faculty in 2010 I have a close affinity for research led teaching of microbial biosciences in both Welsh and English.



My research centres upon interactions between microbial processes and the health of our planet. with a key focus on microbial interactions within the cryosphere. Fundamentally I am interested in three research avenues: how microbial communities are formed, structured, and function in extreme environments, why and how microbial communities interact with environmental change, and how we can better understand microbial communities through the development of novel ‘omics approaches, for example portable genomics. I prefer to explore research questions at the junction of at least two of these three themes. This level of research activity has necessitated well over 30 glacier field deployments since 2006 to the Arctic, Antarctic, and European Alps. In 2017-19 I was the Royal  Geographic  Society’s  inaugural  Walters  Kundert Arctic Fellow, leading the first exploration of polar night glacier ecology, while concurrently holding a Leverhulme Trust  Fellowship. Current and recent research funding also includes UKRI NERC (Cryo365, MicroMelt, Exploring Subglacial Lake CECs, and a New Investigator project 2012-15), Research Council of Norway (BIOICE),  EU InterReg (ACCLIMATIZE), Horizon2020 (MSCA COFUND, ITN MicroArctic). I currently supervise three PhD students and manage four postdoctoral researchers within our research group. I regularly communicate science relevant to my research interests within the new and legacy media in either Welsh or English, with contributions in the broadcast media to flagship BBC R4 Today Programme: Live from the  University,  Today Programme: Live  from  the  Arctic, and Royal  Institution Christmas  Lectures, and the BAFTA award winning S4C Newid Hinsawdd, Newid Byd.

Research Groups


Gokul, J, Mur, L, Hodson, AJ, Irvine-Fynn, T, Debbonaire, A, Takeuchi, N & Edwards, A 2023, 'Icescape-scale metabolomics reveals cyanobacterial and topographic control of the core metabolism of the cryoconite ecosystem of an Arctic ice cap', Environmental Microbiology, vol. 25, no. 11, pp. 2549-2563. 10.1111/1462-2920.16485
Cameron, SJS, Edwards, A, Lambert, RJ, Stroud, M & Mur, LAJ 2023, 'Participants in the Trans-Antarctic Winter Traverse Expedition Showed Increased Bacterial Load and Diversity in Saliva but Maintained Individual Differences within Stool Microbiota and Across Metabolite Fingerprints', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 24, no. 5, 4850. 10.3390/ijms24054850
Edwards, A, Soares, A, Debbonaire, A & Rassner, SME 2022, 'Before you go: A packing list for portable DNA sequencing of microbiomes and metagenomes', Microbiology (United Kingdom), vol. 168, no. 7, 001220. 10.1099/mic.0.001220
Murakami, T, Takeuchi, N, Mori, H, Hirose, Y, Edwards, A, Irvine-Fynn, T, Li, Z, Ishii, S & Segawa, T 2022, 'Metagenomics reveals global-scale contrasts in nitrogen cycling and cyanobacterial light-harvesting mechanisms in glacier cryoconite', Microbiome, vol. 10, no. 1, 50. 10.1186/s40168-022-01238-7
Stevens, IT, Irvine-Fynn, TDL, Edwards, A, Mitchell, AC, Cook, JM, Porter, PR, Holt, TO, Huss, M, Fettweis, X, Moorman, BJ, Sattler, B & Hodson, AJ 2022, 'Spatially consistent microbial biomass and future cellular carbon release from melting Northern Hemisphere glacier surfaces', Communications Earth & Environment, vol. 3, no. 1, 275. 10.1038/s43247-022-00609-0
More publications on the Research Portal