Skip to navigation Skip to content


Isotopic analysis capabilities boosted by new high-spec instrument (News)

The James Hutton Institute celebrated reinforcing its extensive analytical chemistry capabilities for research and commercial work with a launch evening and ribbon cutting for their new Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometer. The &p ... Read more

Improved isotopic analysis capabilities for unrivalled precision and accuracy (News)

The James Hutton Institute is reinforcing its extensive analytical chemistry capabilities for research and commercial work through an £500K investment on a new Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometer, which will allow the Insti ... Read more

Banned pollutants found in deepest reaches of our oceans (News)

A research collaboration featuring scientists from the James Hutton Institute, Newcastle University and the University of Aberdeen has uncovered evidence that man-made pollutants have now reached the most remote habitats of our pl ... Read more

Stable isotopes and P cycling in the soil/plant system (Event)

In this seminar, hosted by Courtney Giles and Tim George from our Ecological Sciences group, ​Dr Federica Tamburini (ETH Zurich) will discuss a novel technique that uses oxygen stable isotopes to investigate the P cycle in ... Read more

Isotopic analysis (Research Page)

The James Hutton Institute has state of the art instrumentation capable of carrying out isotopic analysis on many different sample types, such as rocks, soils, plant materials, gases and waters. Principal contacts for Isotopic A ... Read more

Research/Analysis Facilities (Research Page)

Isotopes ... Read more

Isotope applications (Research Page)

Our stable isotopes research tackles a range of different applications, and involves collaboration not only with colleagues in the James Hutton Institute but also a wide range of partners across the globe. We have a wide range of ... Read more

Cell and Molecular Sciences (Research Page)

Cell and Molecular Sciences (CMS) is based at the Dundee site and comprises more than 100 plant scientists with research specialisms in cell and molecular biology, genomics, genetics, pathology and physiology. Crop improvement ... Read more

Professorial success for The James Hutton Institute (News)

Two top scientists at The James Hutton Institute have been appointed to Visiting Professor positions at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Dr Lorna Dawson, Principal Soil Scientist and Head of Soil Forensics, and Dr Wolfram M ... Read more

Stable Isotopes helping hand for Scotch whisky (News)

The work of The James Hutton Institute’s groundbreaking Stable Isotopes laboratory has been highlighted in the well-known and influential Earth Magazine. Earth Blogger Carolyn Gramling was in Vienna, Austria, at the European ... Read more

Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Environmental and Biochemical Sciences
Section Leader of the Isotopes Section
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Barry has been manager of the Light Stable Isotopes Laboratory in the Analytical Group since 2006. After originally studying Biochemistry at Bangor he gained his PhD at Aberdeen University, being primarily based at the Institute during this period. He has a strong background in plant physiology with extensive experience of the application of stable isotopes in a wide variety of research contexts, in particular looking at C and N fluxes in plant-soil ecosystems.

Current research interests

Barry continues to have an interest in C and N fluxes in the plant-soil and other ecosystems. He has utilised compound specific stable isotope techniques to trace the flow of C from various sources into microbial phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Recently he determined the spatial distribution of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in the topsoil of Scotland and applied linear modelling to assess the extent to which land use and climate act as drivers of the observed distributions. He is currently applying Rayleigh equations to the pattern of enrichment of carbon isotopes which occurs going down soil profiles at the national scale to develop understanding of soil carbon decomposition rates. He has over 65 peer reviewed manuscripts.


  • Mayor, D.J.; Thornton, B.; Jenkins, H.; Felgate, S.L. (2019) Microbiota: The living foundation., In: Beninger, P.G. (ed.). Mudflat Ecology. Aquatic Ecology Series, No. 7. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, Chapter 3, pp43-61.

  • Miller, D.G.; Matthews, K.B.; Towers, W. (2012) Stocking rate on Land with Environmental Designations: an estimation of stocking rate on land designated as either RAMSAR, SAC, SPA or SSSI., Report to the Scottish Government, Areas of Natural Constraint Working Group, 16pp, 29 October 2012.
  • Ourry, A., Thornton, B. and Laine, P. (1997) Field evaluation of the contribution of N reserves versus N uptake for regrowth of the forage species ryegrass., Report for British Council on Alliance project No. PN 9720.

Printed from /category/tags/isotopes on 13/05/21 04:50:28 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.