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Steve Chapman

Staff picture: Steve Chapman
Ecological Sciences
Ecological Sciences
Honorary Associate
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Steve Chapman is an Honorary Associate with over 30 years of experience in research in microbiology. His particular expertise lies in determining the role of microbial processes in the cycling of elements (particularly carbon) within the plant-soil-microbe ecosystem.

Current research interests

Steve has experience in both laboratory and field-based studies and an interest in modelling microbial processes in soil. He has contributed to investigations on soil organic matter turnover, quantifying and determining the influence of chemical structure and soil conditions on the decomposition processes. Recent work has increasingly focused on organic soils and peatlands. He has led a research program evaluating the effect of global warming on soil respiration, methanogenesis and methane oxidation in deep peats. He has ongoing interest in the sulphur cycle in soil, the emission of volatile sulphur from soils and in sulphate reduction, particularly in peatlands. He was European coordinator of a EU-funded project on peatland restoration and biodiversity in peatlands - RECIPE. He is involved in developing microbial diversity measurements for assessing soil quality and health using both phospholipid fatty acid analysis and physiological profiling methods, which has been patented in the UK (MicroResp). These were also applied in studies of afforestation on moorland (MOORCO). Steve was the MLURI coordinator of two SEERAD-funded projects, led by Aberdeen University, which resulted in the development of the ECOSSE model which looks at carbon turnover in organic soils and predicts the influences of climate and land use change. Ongoing research is concerned with characterising carbon stocks in Scottish soils and looking at ways to determine changes in soil carbon due to land use change.


  • Beckert, M.; Smith, P.; Chapman, S.J. (2016) Of trees and sheep: Trade-offs and synergies in farmland afforestation in the Scottish uplands., In: Niewohner, J., Bruns, A., Hostert, P., Kreuger, T., Nielson, J.O., Haberl, H., Lauk, C., Lutz, J. & Muller, D. (eds.). Land Use Competition: Ecological, Economic and Social Perspectives. Springer, Switzerland, pp183-192.
  • Chapman, S.J. (2009) Carbon sequestration in soils., In: Hester, R.E. & Harrison, R.M. (eds.). Carbon Capture: Sequestration and Storage. Issues in Environmental Science and Technology 29, The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, Chapter 7.
  • Sutton, M.A.; Chapman, S.; Christensen, T.; Emmett, B.; Erisman, J.W.; Fowler, D.; Hoosbeek, M.R.; Jones, M.; Milford, C.; Nemitz, E.; Pilegaard, K.; Riedo, M.; Schjoerring, J.K.; Wookey, P.A. (2000) TERRICA Working Group 6: Trace gas fluxes and ecosystem functioning., In: Terrestrial Ecosystem Research in Europe: Successes, Challenges and Policy (eds. M.A. Sutton, J.M. Moreno, W.H. van der Putten and S. Struwe). European Commission, Brussels, pp65-74.

  • Vanguelova, E.; Chapman, S.J.; Perks, M.; Yamulki, S.; Randle, T.; Ashwood, F.; Morison, J. (2018) Afforestation and restocking on peaty soils: new evidence assessment., Report to CXC (ClimateXChange), January 2018.
  • Rees, R.M.; Buckingham, S.; Chapman, S.J.; Jones, S.; Lilly, A.; Mathews, R.B.; Morison, J.I.L.; Perks, M.; Vanguelova, E.I.; Yamulki, S.; Yeluripati, J. (2018) Soil carbon and land use in Scotland., Final Report to ClimateXChange, Rapid Evidence Assessment.
  • Khomik, M.; Perks, M.; Bathgate, S.; Chapman, S.J.; Yeluripati, J.; Morison, J. (2017) Agroforestry in Scotland: potential benefits., Report for CXC (ClimateXChange), December 2017.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Hester, A.J.; Irvine, R.J.; Pakeman, R.J. (2017) Muirburn peatland and peat soils - an evidence assessment., Final Report to CXC calldown.
  • Chapman, S.J. (2017) Estimating peatland carbon stocks - the way forward., Internal Report, The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen.
  • Irvine, R.J.; Miller, D.R.; Artz, R.R.E.; Brooker, R.; Chapman, S.J.; Newey, S.; Hester, A.J.; Pakeman, R.J. (2016) Scoping a strategic vision for the uplands: A response from the James Hutton Institute., Response to a Consultation for Scottish Natural Heritage.
  • Artz, R.R.E.; Potts, J.; Chapman, S.; Wilson, D.; Heinemeyer, A.; Evans, C.; Renou-Wilson, F. (2016) Emission factors applicable to UK peatlands., Workpackage Report to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
  • Lilly, A.; Chapman, S.J.; Perez-Fernandez, E.; Potts, J. (2016) Changes to C stocks in Scottish soils due to afforestation., Contract Report to Forestry Commission, 33pp.
  • Waldron, S.; Yeluripati, J.B.; Saunders, M.; Conniff, A.; Chapman, S.J.; Miller, D.G.; Matthews, R.B.; Smith, J.; Govan, S. (2015) The peatland carbon calculator - its use and future potential., CXC Final Report, 14 December 2015, 92pp.
  • Towers, W.; Chapman, S.J.; Artz, R.R.E.; Miller, D.R. (2015) Carbon-rich soil, deep peat and priority peatland habitats map., Consultation response to Scottish Natural Heritage from the James Hutton Institute.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Artz, R.R.E.; Moss, A. (2015) Set of CXC adaptation indicators for peatlands. NB 11 Extent of key habitats: deep peat; NB13 Condition of key habitats: area of modified deep peat soils; NB18 annual greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions from degraded peatlands; NB22a Peatland restoration area., Report to CXC.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Artz, R.R.E.; Poggio, L. (2015) Determination of organic carbon stocks in blanket peat soils in different condition - assessment of peat condition., Final Project Report to SEPA (TT1401).
  • Waldron, S.; Yeluripati, J.B.; Saunders, M.; Conniff, A.; Chapman, S.J.; Miller, D.; Matthews, R.B.; Smith, J.; Govan, S. (2015) Use of and priorities for extending the Peatland Carbon Calculator., Draft Report to CxC.
  • Artz, R.R.E.; Donnelly, D.; Aitkenhead, M.; Balana, B.; Chapman, S. (2014) WISE Peatland Choices - A decision support tool for peatland restoration in Scotland., Version 2- September 2014, The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, 16pp.
  • Hough, R.L.; Bengough, A.G.; Chapman, S.J.; Daniell, T.; Matthews, R.; Squire, G.; Towers, W.; White, P.J. (2014) Heat in the soil form (NIA-NGGT0017)., Interim Report for National Grid.
  • Artz, R.R.E.; Donnelly, D.; Aitkenhead, M.; Balana, B.; Chapman, S.J. (2013) WISE peatland choices - a decision support tool for peatland restoration in Scotland., ClimateXChange Scotland, The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Thomson, K.; Matthews, R.B. (2013) AFOLU accounting: implications for implementing peatland restoration - costs and benefits., CXC Enquiry Number 1208-01, Edinburgh, ClimateXChange.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Artz, R.R.E.; Donnelly, D. (2012) Carbon savings from peat restoration., Climate XChange Enquiry Number 1205-02, Edinburgh, ClimateXChange.
  • Artz, R.R.E.; Chapman, S.J.; Donnelly, D.; Matthews, R. (2012) Potential abatement from peatland restoration., Briefing Note to Scottish Government.
  • Artz, R.R.E.; Donnelly, D.; Andersen, R.; Mitchell, R.; Chapman, S.J.; Smith, J.; Smith, P.; Cummins, R.; Balana, B.; Cuthbert, A. (2012) Managing and restoring blanket bog to benefit biodiversity and carbon balance - a scoping study., Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report.
  • Cummins, R.P.; Hewison, R.L.; Dunn, S.M.; Fielding D.A.; Chapman S.J.; Hooper, R. (2011) St Fergus moss - Continuaton of peat extraction. Environmental impact assessment., Contract Report for Northern Peat and Moss Company.
  • Stutter, M.I.; Baggaley, N.; Barry, C.; Chapman, S.J.; Dawson, J.J.C.; Helliwell, R.C.; Higgins, A.; Howden, N.; Jackson-Blake, L.; Lumsdon, D.G.; Malcolm, I.; Sample, J.; Potts, J.; Worrall, F. (2011) Assessment of the contribution of aquatic carbon fluxes to carbon losses from UK peatlands. Final report, SNIFFER Contract Report ER18, July 2011.
  • Beesley, L.; Cuthbert, A.; Balana, B.; Towers, W.; Chapman, S.J.; Bruneau, P. (2011) Development of soil guidance - Scoping study., Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report.
  • Bain, C.G.; Bonn, A.; Stoneman, R.; Chapman, S.J.; Coupar, A.; Evans, M.; Gearey, B.; Howat, M.; Joosten, H.; Keenleyside, C.; Labadz, J.; Lindsay, R.; Littlewood, N.; Lunt, P.; Miller, C.J.; Moxey, A.; Orr, H.; Reed, M.; Smith, P.; Swales, V.; Thompson, D.B.A.; Thompson, P.S.; van de Noort, R.; Wilson, J.D.; Worrall, F. (2011) IUCN UK Commission of Inquiry on Peatlands., IUCN UK Peatland Programme, Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-9570572-1-0
  • House, J.; Clar, J.; Gallego-Sala, A.; Orr, H.; Aylen, J.; Bardgett, R.; Billett, M.; Bonn, A.; Caporn, S.; Chapman, S.; Clutterbuck, B.; Evans, C.; Evans, M.; Farewell, T.; Freeman, C.; Grayson, R.; Hall, J.; Holden, J.; McMorrow, J.; Milledge, D.; Nayak, D.; Ostle, N.; Parry, L.; Prentice, C.; Stevens, C.; Smith, J.; Smith, P.; Vanguelova, E.; Ward, S.; Waldron, S.; White, S.; Worrall, F.; Yallop, A. (2011) Vulnerability of upland peatland services to climate change., Environment Agency Science Report SC070036/SR.
  • Smith, J.U.; Fitton, N.; Smith, P.; Miller, D.G.; Buchan, K.; Coull, M.; Lilly, A.; Matthews, K.B.; Chapman, S.J.; Baggaley, N.; Milne, R.; Thomson, A.M. (2010) Pilot project to determine the suitability of integrated administration and control system (IACS) data to provide land use change data for annual greenhouse gases emission estimates., Final Report for Scottish Government (CR/2009/17), pp76.
  • Towers, W.; Hester, A.J.; Pakeman, R.; Artz, R.R.E.; Chapman, S.J.; Littlewood, L.; Legg, C. (2010) Review of muirburn impacts on soil carbon and biodiversity., Invited presentation to the Scottish LFA Stakeholder Group.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Artz, R.R.E.; Smith, J.U.; Smith, P. (2010) Expert workshop to establish the current state of knowledge of and future evidence needs for the extent and condition of carbon stocks in Scottish peatlands., Report to the Scottish Government on Project CR/2009/06.
  • Chapman, S.J. (2009) S-oxidation final report., OMEX Agriculture, Tupholme, Lincoln.
  • Smith, J.U.; Chapman, S.J.; Bell, J.; Bellarby, J.; Gottschalk, P.; Hudson, G.; Lilly, A.; Smith, P.; Towers, W. (2009) Developing a methodology to improve soil C stock estimates for Scotland and use of initial results from a resampling of the National Soil Inventory of Scotland to improve the ecosse model., Report to Scottish Government on Project UAB-015-07, 112pp.

  • Lilly, A.; Chapman, S.J. (2014) Assessing changes in carbon stocks of Scottish soils: lessons learnt., Soil Change Matter Workshop, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, 24-27 March 2014.
  • Artz, R.R.E.; Donnelly, D.; Chapman, S.J.; Aitkenhead, M.; Cummins, R.; Smith, J.; Smith, P.; Bain, C.; Coupar, A. (2012) WISE peatland choices - a GIS based tool to prioritise restoration opportunities on the peatlands of Scotland., 14th International Peat Congress, "Peatlands in Balance", Stockholm, Sweden, 3-8 June 2012.
  • Artz, R.R.E.; Donnelly, D.; Chapman, S.J.; Towers, W.; Aitkenhead, M.; Andersen, R.; Coupar, A.; Bain, C.; Hughes J. (2012) WISE peatland choices - a scoping tool for the prioritisation of restoration needs of peatlands in Scotland., British Ecological Society Joint BES and IUCN UK Symposium, Bangor University, Wales, 26-28 June 2012.
  • Andersen, R.; Artz, R.R.E.; Cummins, R.; Mitchell, R.; Balana, B.; Donnelly, D.; Chapman, S.J.; Smith, J.; Smith, P. (2011) Managing and restoring blanket bogs to benefit biodiversity and carbon in Scotland: a scoping study., International Symposium on Responsible Peatland Management and Growing Media Production, Quebec City, Canada, 13-17 June 2011.
  • Mitchell R.J.; Hester A.H.; Campbell C.D.; Chapman S.J.; Cameron C.M.; Hewison R.L.; Potts J.M. (2010) Predicting the soil microbial community: is vegetation composition or soil chemistry the better predictor?, British Ecological Society Conference, University of Leeds, Leeds, 7-9 September 2010.
  • Wu, D.; Chen, H.; Wu, Y.; Chapman, S.J. (2010) Nitrogen fertilizer application under double cropping systems of wheat-maize impacting on the nitrate contents of ground water in North China., 4th International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedical Engineering, iCBBE 2010, Chengdu, 18-20 July 2010.
  • Artz, R.R.E.; Toberman, H.; Currey, P.; Trinder, C.J.; Andersen, R.; Rochefort, L.; Shephard, L.J.; Johnson, D.; Chapman, S.J.; Campbell, C.D. (2009) The functions of peatland microbiota in carbon cycling, global threats to community composition and future opportunities., International Symposium on Peatlands in the Global Carbon Cycle, 2nd, Prague, Czech Republic, 25-30 September 2009.
  • Chapman, S.J. (2008) Estimating carbon stocks in peatlands: the Scottish experience., Proceedings of the International Peat Congress, 13th, Tullamore, Ireland, 8-14 July 2008.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Francez, A.-J.; Yli-Petays, M.; Mitchell, E.A.D. (2007) The EU project RECIPE: understanding and managing peatland restoration., International Conference - Peat and Peatlands 2007. Peat in horticulture and the rehabilitation of mires after peat extraction: which issues for tomorrow? Lamoura, (French Jura), 8-11 October 2007.
  • Bortoluzzi, E.; Chapman, S.J. (2007) Carbon balance of a cutover bog in the Jura mountains at different stages of regeneration., International Conference - Peat and Peatlands 2007. Peat in horticulture and the rehabilitation of mires after peat extraction: which issues for tomorrow? Lamoura, (French Jura), 8-11 October 2007.
  • Artz, R.R.E.; Chapman, S.J. Francez, A.-J.; Gattinger, A.; Hai, B.; Schloter, M. (2006) Changes in microbial diversity during the restoration of cut-over peatlands ? Can peatland biodiversity recover below-ground?, British Ecological Society, Annual Meeting, Oxford, 5-7 September 2006.
  • Artz, R.R.E.; Campbell, C.D.; Buttler, A.; Francez, A-J.; Laggoun-Defarge, F.; Vasander, H.; Schloter, M.; Epron, D.; Gilbert, D.; Mitchell, E.; Chapman, S.J. (2006) Reconciling commercial exploitation of peat with biodiversity in peatland ecosystems (RECIPE)., First Annual Meeting of the Society of Wetland Scientists (European Charter), Bangor, Wales, 5-7 January 2006, p27. Abstract.
  • Gill, M.; Chapman, S.J. (2004) Scotland's soils and trees - an opportunity for carbon storage?, Climate Change: A Challenge for Scotland, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, 7 December 2004. Oral presentation.
  • Iason, G.R.; Dennis, P.; Lennon, J.J.; Thoss, V.; Pakeman, R.J.; Campbell, C.D.; Saari, S.; Anderson, I.C.; Chapman, S.J.; Beaton, J.; Johnstone, J.; Sim, D.; Alexander, I. (2004) The role of variation between trees in phytochemistry in determining associated diversity in a natural Scots pine ecosystem., FC/SNH, Drumnadrochit, "Ecology and management of large native pinewoods: past, present and future"., 14-16 June 2004. Oral paper.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Artz, R.R.E. (2004) Indicators of regeneration in an abandoned cut-over Scottish peatland., Proceedings of the 12th International Peat Congress, Wise Use of Peatlands, (Ed. J. Paivanen) Tampere, Finland, 6-11 June 2004, pp350-355.
  • Campbell, C.D.; White, D.; Chapman, S.J.; Thoss, V. (2004) Does intra-specific variation in monoteprene profiles of Scots pine trees influence soil microbial community structure and nutrient cycling., International Symposium on Microbial Ecology, ( ISME 10), Microbial Planet: Sub-Surface to Space. Topic 18. Microbe-plant interactions, 10th, Cancum, Mexico, 22-27 August 2004.
  • Kaufman, K.; Chapman, S.J.; Campbell, C.D.; Harms, H.; Hohener, P. (2004) Optimising bioremediation conditions in contaminated soils using the microresp microtitre method., International Symposium on Microbial Ecology, ( ISME 10), Microbial Planet: Sub-Surface to Space. Topic 18. Microbe-plant interactions, 10th, Cancum, Mexico, 22-27 August 2004.
  • Artz, R.R.E.; Chapman, S.J.; Anderson, I.C.; Campbell, C.D. (2004) Diversity of fungi and potential function in naturally regenerating cut-over peatlands., Conservation Land Management, Spring 2019, 17, p24.
  • Vaisanen, K.; Dawson, L.A.; Grayston, S.J.; Chapman, S.J.; Smith, J. (2002) The effect of plant species and type of decomposing litter on the fate of carbon in soil and on the soil microbial community., British Society of Soil Science - Soils as Carbon Sinks: Opportunities and Limitations, London, 28 June 2002.
  • Campbell, C.D.; Chapman, S.J. (2001) Novel rapid methods for the determination of the community level physiological profiles (CLPPs) of whole soil microbial communities., International Symposium on Microbial Ecology, 9th, Amsterdam, 26-31 August 2001. Abstract.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Campbell, C.D.; Fraser, A.R.; Norrie, A.; Puri, G. (1999) FTIR spectroscopy of peat and its relationship with chemical and biological properties., International Peat Symposium 1999, Chemical, Physical and Biological Processes in Peat Soils, Jokioinen, Finland, August 23-27, 1999.
  • Chapman, S.J.; Campbell, C.D.; Puri, G. (1999) Microbial parameters reflecting soil organic matter quality across a transect of natural pinewood regeneration., British Society of Soil Science, Autumn Conference. Sustainable Management of Soil Organic Matter, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, September 15-17 1999.

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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.