Dr Alex Taylor

Dr Alex Taylor

Senior Technician (CoRIF - Consolidated Radioisotope Facility)

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)


Senior Technician, Plymouth University Consolidated Radioisotope Facility


2006: BSc (Hons) Environmental Science (Marine Conservation), Plymouth University

2008-2012: PhD, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Plymouth University. The environmental behaviour of beryllium-7 and implications for its use as a sediment tracer. Supervised by Prof. Will Blake and Dr Miranda Keith-Roach

Teaching interests

I provide laboratory supervision for undergraduate and postgraduate researchers requiring the use of XRF and gamma spectrometry. I provide additional supervision with regard to catchment-based projects focussed upon assessing surface water quality.

Contribution to modules:

GGP101: Introduction to Physical Geography

GGP206: River Environments

GGP306: Catchment Science and Management

CHM2015: Analytical Chemistry

CHM5004: Quality Assurance and Accreditation

GEOL5003: Advanced Analytical Skills

Research interests

I am a member of the Plymouth University Catchment and River Science (CaRiS) Group with a key interest in the development of radionuclide tracer technology as a decision support tool for catchment management.  My work has contributed to a joint International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and UN FAO Coordinated Research Programme focussed upon sediment tracing in catchment systems. Aside from maintaining an interest in academic research, I continue to undertake contract work for the assessment of surface water quality working alongside Westcountry Rivers Trust, Westcountry Rivers Ltd., the Environment Agency and Natural England.

Grants & contracts


Funding Body

Project Title




Comprehensive illustrated guideline on the advanced use of Be-7 as soil tracer for assessing erosion and sedimentation rates

With Blake (PI), Iurian and Mabit

Nov. 2015-Sept. 2016

Natural England

Assessing the suitability of potential Freshwater Pearl Mussel translocation sites in the River Clun

PI with Blake, Goddard, Comber & Westcountry Rivers Ltd.

July. 2015-June 2016

Natural England

An Investigation into the temporal and spatial patterns of phosphorus concentrations across the ditch system of West Sedgemoor SSSI

PI with Blake and Comber

Oct. 2014

Natural England

Water Quality (mainly organic pollution, phosphate and suspended solids) monitoring on the River Camel Valley and Tributaries SSSI

PI with Smith (Westcountry Rivers Ltd.)

Aug 2014

Natural England

The use of In Situ Fluorimetry to Determine the Source of Organic Inputs to the River Camel, Cornwall

PI with Smith (Westcountry Rivers Ltd)

2012-2014 (across 3 linked contracts)

Natural England

Sources and quality of fine sediment in degraded river habitats



Westcountry Rivers Trust

Assessing the input of road-derived contaminants to the River Teign

Blake (PI) and Comber

Jan 2012

PU Community Research Award

Wrong connections: water quality problems in urban nature reserves

PI with Blake

Jan 2012

PU Marine Institute

Determining sediment accretion rates in the (Devon) Avon tidal saltmarsh

PI with Blake & Masselink

Turner, A., Taylor, A., 2018. On site determination of trace metals in estuarine sediments by field-portable-XRF. Talanta 190,498–506. doi:10.1016/j.talanta.2018.08.024

Iurian, A.R., Millward, G.E., Sima, O., Taylor, A., Blake, W., 2018. Self-attenuation corrections for Pb-210 in gamma-ray spectrometry using well and coaxial HPGe detectors. Appl. Radiat. Isot. 134,151–156. doi:10.1016/j.apradiso.2017.06.048

Ryken, N., Al-Barri, B., Blake, W., Taylor, A., Tack, F., Bodé, S., Boeckx, P., Verdoodt, A., 2018a. Impact of soil hydrological properties on the 7 Be depth distribution and the spatial variation of 7 Be inventories across a small catchment. Geoderma 318, 88–98.doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.12.036

Ryken, N., Al-Barri, B., Blake, W., Taylor, A., Tack, F.M.G., Van Ranst, E., Bodé, S., Boeckx, P., Verdoodt, A., 2018b.Rapid and irreversible sorption behavior of 7 Be assessed to evaluate its use as a catchment sediment tracer. J. Environ. Radioact. 182, 108–116.doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2017.11.018

Ryken, N., Vanden Nest, T., Al-Barri, B.,Blake, W., Taylor, A., Bodé, S., Ruysschaert, G., Boeckx, P.,Verdoodt, A., 2018c. Soil erosion rates under different tillage practices incentral Belgium: New perspectives from a combined approach of rainfall simulations and 7 Be measurements. Soil Tillage Res. 179, 29–37.doi:10.1016/j.still.2018.01.010

Turner, A., Poon, H., Taylor, A.,Brown, M.T., 2017. In situ determination of trace elements in Fucus spp. by field-portable-XRF. Sci. Total Environ. 593, 227–235.doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.091

Taylor, A., Keith-Roach, M.J., Iurian, A.R., Mabit,L., Blake, W.H., 2016. Temporal variability of beryllium-7 fallout in southwest UK. J. Environ. Radioact. 160, 80–86. doi:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2016.04.025

Ryken, N., Al-Barri, B., Taylor, A.,Blake, W., Maenhout, P., Sleutel, S., Tack, F.M.G., Dierick, M., Bodé, S.,Boeckx, P., Verdoodt, A., 2016. Quantifying the spatial variation of 7Be depth distributions towards improved erosion rate estimations. Geoderma 269, 10–18.doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2016.01.032

Downs, P.W., Soar, P.J., Taylor, A.,2015. The anatomy of effective discharge: the dynamics of coarse sediment transport revealed using continuous bedload monitoring in a gravel-bed river during a very wet year. Earth Surf. Process. Landforms n/a--n/a.doi:10.1002/esp.3785

Smith, H.G., Blake, W.H., Taylor, A.,2014. Modelling particle residence times in agricultural river basins using a sediment budget model and fallout radionuclide tracers. Earth Surf. Process.Landforms 39, 1944–1959. doi:10.1002/esp.3589

Taylor, A., Blake, W.H., Keith-Roach, M.J., 2014.Estimating Be-7 association with soil particle size fractions for erosion and deposition modelling. J. Soils Sediments 14, 1886–1893.doi:10.1007/s11368-014-0955-8

Taylor, A., Blake, W.H., Smith, H.G., Mabit, L.,Keith-Roach, M.J., 2013. Assumptions and challenges in the use of fallout beryllium-7 as a soil and sediment tracer in river basins. Earth-Science Rev.126, 85–95.

Taylor, A., Blake, W.H., Couldrick, L., Keith-Roach,M.J., 2012a. Sorption behaviour of beryllium-7 and implications for its use as a sediment tracer. Geoderma 187–188, 16–23.

Taylor, A., Blake, W.H., Keith-Roach, M.J., 2012b.Optimisation of beryllium-7 gamma analysis following BCR sequential extraction.Anal. Chim. Acta 720, 91–96. doi:10.1016/j.aca.2012.01.028