Steve's passion for nature was sparked as a child when he was shown Salmon leaping and Dippers diving along the River Ribble near to his home town of Burnley. His research has since centred on global change effects on freshwater organisms, river birds and ecological process. Themes include climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution - ranging from acidification to the occurrence and effects of microplastics in river food webs. As well as Fellowships of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (1987), Chartered Institute of Ecology & Environmental Management (1997), Learned Society of Wales (2013) and the Royal Society of Biology (2013) he has been awarded the past-president’s Medal of CIEEM (2011) and the Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation (2011).
A former Council Member of the FBA, Steve has had extensive involvement with government, NGOs and environmental business, for example as past board member of the Countryside Council for Wales, Chairman and Vice President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Chairman of the Science Development Group of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Chairman of Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water Environment Advisory Panel and Chairman of the invertebrate charity, Buglife. In 2018, he was made Deputy Chairman of Natural Resources Wales and member of the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).
He is currently Professor of Ecology at Cardiff University and co-director of the University Water Research Institute.