Dr Jocelyne Hughes

Programme Director in Ecological Survey Techniques


Jocelyne Hughes is Programme Director in Ecological Survey Techniques, part-time Departmental Lecturer at OUDCE, and research associate with the Oxford Water Network. During 2017-18 she will be based full-time in the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University where she will be course director of the MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management.

Previous posts: College lecturer  at St. Catherine's College, University of Oxford; Research fellow at University College London; University Lectureships at the University of Reading and the University of Melbourne, Australia.

VESPA Project- Virtual Environments Sampling Platform

Member of the student-led VESPA project to develop an interactive digital tool that can be used across the University to teach sampling techniques. Funded by the IT Innovation fund at Oxford University.

SHOAL Project- Sharing Online Activities for Learning

The SHOAL Project was funded by the IT Innovation fund at Oxford University and resulted in the Activity Browser which showcases Oxford-created digital activities for teaching. Activity Browser can be accessed via the University of Oxford Weblearn landing page on the left-hand browser.

Swift City Project

Member of the Heritage Lottery Funded project hosted by the RSPB over two years, with the aim of making Oxford a Swift City. If you would like to report swift (Apus apus) sightings or locations of swift nests in Oxford please send me an email.


My research focuses on understanding and quantifying the ecology, hydrology and management of wetlands and freshwater habitats. I have particular interests in the ecological importance of microflow environments provided by aquatic plants in rivers and wetlands; water and nutrient cycling in wetlands; wetland vegetation dynamics; constructed wetlands; biogeography of aquatic plants; non-native freshwater species and the conservation of freshwaters.

Carried out field survey work in a diversity of freshwater habitats in Tunisia, Australia, Antarctica (Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition), Guatemala, and the UK, in order to answer a range of research questions. I am keen to discuss possible collaborations in interdisciplinary research in pure and applied freshwater processes/ecology.

Marley Fen Project

Part of a team carrying out field research and monitoring into plant-water relationships at Marley Fen in Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire. The results of the research are being used directly in the management plan for this SSSI site.

Reduction of Algal Loading on Water Treatment Works

Co-supervisor of a research project investigating the ecological functions of a floating reed bed, Living-Filter, on Farmoor Reservoir, for water treatment. The DPhil is funded by Thames Water and involves an industrial collaboration between Aquatic Engineering, Thames Water and the Department for Engineering Science at Oxford University. The research involves field investigations at Farmoor Reservoir and lab experiments using bioreactors at Begbroke Science Park.

Freshwater Ecology & Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques

Currently editing the freshwater volume in the TECS series, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2018.

Tubney Woods

I am a Trustee of Tubney Woods, Oxfordshire and I welcome enquiries for potential research projects at the site.

D.Phil student

Ana Castro-Castellon, Department of Engineering Science (Living-Filter: floating biofiltration system for phytoplanton reduction on water treatment works)

MSc students

Heather Bond- Constructed wetland for treating agricultural runoff in Ontario

Clarke Knight- Diversity and distribution of non-native invasive shrimps in the River Thames and tributaries

Thanti Octavianti- Phosphorous loads in the Upper Thames catchment


Director of the Postgraduate Certificate in Ecological Survey Techniques which is mostly taught online.

I teach and supervise on the MSc in Water Science, Policy & Management at the School of Geography at Oxford, and the Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice at WildCRU, Oxford.

As part of the PG Cert in Ecological Survey Techniques at OUDCE I have authored and teach an online  course in Field Techniques for Surveying Vegetation; Freshwater and wetland ecology on the MSc in Water, Science, Policy & Management in the Geography Department; and Vegetation Survey Techniques for Zoologists at WildCRU, Zoology Department. I believe that ecology has to be taught in the field wherever possible, and I underpin all my teaching with the practical field techniques needed to answer research questions.

I have successfully raised grants from the Natural Environments Research Council (NERC) to teach doctoral training courses in practical skills in freshwater ecology, statistics, GIS, data visualisation and insect taxonomy.

External examiner at University College London.

Selected Publications

Knight, CA, Hughes, JMR & Johns, T 2017 What drives non-native amphipod distributions in the River Thames? The role of habitat and human activity on species abundance. Crustaceana 90, 399-416

Castro-Castellon, AT, Chipps, MJ, Hankins, NP & Hughes, JMR 2016 Lessons from the Living-Filter: an in-reservoir floating treatment wetland for phytoplankton reduction prior to a water treatment works intake. Ecological Engineering 95, 839-51

Castro-Castellon, AT, Chipps, MJ, Hughes, JMR & Hankins, NP 2014 Living-Filter: an in-reservoir biofiltration system for phytoplankton reduction at the abstraction point. In (eds. Nakamoto, Graham, Collins and Gimbel) Progress in Slow Sand and Alternative Biofiltration Processes- Further Developments and Applications, pp. 405-412,  IWA Publishing, London

Shi, JZ, Yan-Hong, L, Zhao, M & Hughes, JMR 2013 Hydrological characteristics of vegetated river flows: a laboratory flume study. Hydrological Sciences Journal 58, 1047-58


Co-author Preliminary Inventory of Tunisian Wetlands, University College London, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Ramsar Bureau, 1997

Co-editor and chapter lead Hydrology & Hydrochemistry of British Wetlands, John Wiley & Sons, 1995

Author Aquatic Plants of Tasmania, 1989 (Illustrations by Georgina Davis) University of Melbourne

Author of first vegetation survey and map of subantarctic Heard Island (Australian Antarctic Territory) published in Polar Biology, 1987