Research course

Climate Change and Ecosystem Services

Open University · Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) or an appropriate first degree and postgraduate qualification.

Months of entry


Course content

Earth’s climate system is intimately associated with processes in the oceans, feedbacks with the biosphere and astronomical influences. Superimposed upon these interactions is the increasingly important role played by humans in modifying Earth’s radiative balance and other components of the Earth system though, for example, nutrient enrichment and land use change. Our research seeks to monitor and quantify climate related change for a range of Earth’s systems while increasing predictive capability through the development of Earth system models of intermediate complexity. These models are informed by proxies of past environmental change and are integrated with economic models so that the services ecosystems offer to humans may be quantified. Investigations into other aspects of ecosystem services are also carried out at a more local scale, including assessments of the carbon contained within ecosystems and the flood alleviation potential of river floodplain meadows. There is a strong focus on quantifying exchanges of elements between various ecosystem reservoirs.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil
    part time
    24 months
      full time
      15 months
      • PhD
        part time
        72 months
          full time
          36 months

          Course contact details

          Michelle Aitken

          +44 (0)1908 332943