Ensis is the consultancy arm of the Environmental Change Research Centre at UCL. The specialist aspects of our consultancy stem directly from the ECRC’s research programme on aquatic ecosystems. Many of our staff combine consultancy and research for mutual benefit.

Lake eutrophication

The central focus of our lake eutrophication research is to understand the causes, timing and magnitude of ecological change and determine reference conditions and restoration targets for enriched waters. Recent research aims to advance our understanding of the complex interactions between climate change and eutrophication.

Shallow lakes & ponds

We focus on the response of shallow lake and pond ecosystems to eutrophication and, in the case of ponds, terrestrialisation. We are keen to translate scientific knowledge gained into active management and restoration work.

Aquatic biodiversity

We maintain a long term interest in freshwater biodiversity; working on diatom biodiversity, mountain lakes and the role of palaeoecological methods in identifying biodiversity change resulting from eutrophication and acidification.

River restoration

We are involved in "before and after studies" of restoration projects in river-floodplain systems. Our research also focuses on "re-wilding" ideas involving the felling of trees into rivers and on the role of floodplain meadows and forests in biodiversity conservation.

Arctic lakes

We have extensive experience of working in the remote arctic lakes of Svalbard, Russia and Greenland were we have used a variety of techniques to examine recent and long-term trends in climate and pollution. Recent NERC-funded work involves how lakes store carbon over long time scales and what implications this has for climate change in The Arctic.


Our acidification research focuses on the recovery of upland lakes and streams in the UK from acid rain problems and the extent to which recovery may be compromised by other stresses including climate change and nutrient-N deposition.

Toxic substances

Our research explores the historical and spatial extent of contamination from trace metals (particularly mercury) and persistent organic pollutants mainly in upland lakes and their catchments, including atmospheric deposition, lake waters, aquatic and terrestrial biota, lake sediments and catchment soils.

Lake infilling

From our major database of dated lake sediment cores we are calculating the rates at which sediments in lakes are accumulating and identifying the processes responsible. As a by product this is enabling us to assess the role of sediments in storing carbon.

Climate change

Our research has included co-ordinating REFRESH a major EU project concerned with methods needed to mitigate the effects of future climate change on lakes, streams and wetlands across Europe from the Mediterranean in the south to Norway in the north.