Professor Wookey is Chair in Ecosystem Science at Heriot-Watt University.
He attributes his love for fieldwork and for the Arctic (and for cold parts of the world more generally) to his northern Scottish heritage and to a field expedition to northern Iceland as an undergraduate, and he is a member of the International Arctic Science Committee’s Terrestrial Working Group and the EU “INTERACT” Transnational Access Board.
As a biogeochemist and ecosystems ecologist, Professor Wookey studies ecological processes within their spatial and temporal contexts, and within the context of the larger Earth system. Since the early 1990s, he has focussed increasingly on ecosystems in the Arctic. He is particularly interested in the resilience and responsiveness of high-latitude ecosystems (such as permafrost systems) to environmental change, and in the impacts of airborne pollutants such as sulphur dioxide on plants and soils.
His research generally employs a combination of laboratory data, field observations and experiments, ideally in multi-site studies at transition zones such as the Arctic forest-tundra ecotone or in areas where ice and vegetation interact in a significant way.