Tom is an academic in Loughborough University’s Division of Geography and Environment. His research and teaching is focussed on advancing understanding of aquatic pollution in rivers, lakes, and the ocean. This focus stems from a childhood of rowing on the River Trent in Nottingham, UK, and his research continues to be motivated by the physical and mental health benefits he experiences from these waterways on his paddle board today.
With a primary focus on material pollution – both plastic and not plastic – Tom is leading work investigating the abundance and impacts of natural fibres, such as cotton and wool, relative to their plastic analogues (e.g. polyester and nylon) in aquatic environments.
His work includes research with community scientists, and he is always keen to learn from communities about the nature, perception, and impacts of the pollution that he puts numbers to. This approach was at the heart of the 50 Years of Litter on Skye project that Tom led recently with Melissa Schiele.