Areas of expertise

  • Environment and Health
  • Environmental Impacts
  • Natural Capital
  • Soil Resources
  • Sustainable Land Systems
  • Waste Management and Resource Efficiency


Dr Mercer is trained as an inter-disciplinary environmental scientist. Her research interests lie in environmental systems change following perturbations such as landuse change and management interventions. She uses collaborative education approaches for optimising environmental system goal setting and in promoting pro-environmental behaviours for environmental sustainability. Areas of teaching and disciplinary-based educational research focus on education for sustainable development (ESD), environmental management and digital tools for future-proofing environmental teaching and learning.

Theresa joined the Cranfield Environment Centre in May 2023 as a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Sustainability and Environment Programme Director following academic postings at the University of Lincoln, Cardiff University, Cranfield University, Keele University, the University of Queensland (Australia) and the University of Hull. She obtained her PhD in physical geography from the University of Hull (UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funded) with a PGDip in Research Skills following a degree in environmental science from the University of East Anglia and MSc in environmental management from Sunderland University.

She is currently a Visiting Academic for the University of Lincoln, a Member of the Institution of Environmental Sciences and an Affiliate Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. She holds a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Research opportunities

Examples of current and recent research supervision


Community Education and Its Impact on Environmental Stewardship in Tuvalu (Commonwealth Funded studentship) (Soseala Tinalu, current, external supervisor)

Masters by Research:

The efficacy of using gamification for educating HE students on sustainability and climate change (Jessica Thomas, current, external supervisor)

Optimising provisions of Education for Sustainability (Chris Pugh, current, external supervisor)

An investigation into R. ponticum impacts on woodland soil health and recommendations for management and removal techniques (Michaela Loria, completed)

Current activities

Current and Recent Research Activities include:

- Using AI technology and online apps to understand and enhance ecosystem services and habitat connectivity across Lincolnshire (2022- )

UPP-funded project that uses a citizen science approach to map three key ecosystem services (biodiversity and habitat connectivity, above-ground carbon storage, water infiltration for flood regulation) using an AI-enabled mobile application.

- Harnessing Lincolnshire soils for solutions to global challenges (2021- )

Internally-funded project (UoL) focusing on the impact of landuse change on soil functions and potential mitigation techniques

- Collaborative approaches to Education for Sustainable Development: The use of educational game design and play (with the University of Lincoln, Keele University and the University of Hull) (2012- )

This project assesses the potential for higher education (HE) students to engender greater public participation and climate action amongst school pupils through the creation of educational games. The study develops a new approach to ESD whereby HE environmental/geography students become co-producers of climate knowledge and action through creating, playing and delivering games in a life-cycle approach.

- Hospital Plantation Woodland Management project (with Hill Holt Wood) (2018-2023)

Monitoring project to support delivery of a woodland management plan focusing on invasive species mapping (vegetation surveys, aerial photos and pollen analysis), lowland heathland restoration.

- Assessing the progress of river restoration in the UK over the last three decades (NRRI and RHS data) with a focus on habitat condition (2019-2021) (University of Lincoln with the River Restoration Centre, Cranfield University)


Articles In Journals