News and events

Dr. Kevin Richard Butt

Reader in Ecology; Biology/Geography Research Co-ordinator

School of Forensic and Applied Sciences

Kirkham Building, KM104

+44 (0) 1772 89 3966

Subject Areas: Biosciences, Geography and Environment

Kevin Butt is a Reader in Ecology and Research Co-ordinator for Biology and Geography in the School. He has in excess of 100 research publications produced over the past two decades. These focus mainly on earthworms and their provision of ecosystem services, particularly in restored soils.

Full Profile

Kevin completed his PhD in the Biosystems Research Group at the Open University, and after postdoctoral work moved to UCLan in 1994. His research is mainly in soil ecology with earthworms acting as a focal group of organisms. His research has considered the production of earthworms for use in soil remediation and now looks more broadly at earthworms as ecosystem service providers in a range of soil types. Research work has been undertaken in the UK, Finland, Poland, Spain and the USA, with current plans looking beyond temperate systems. Kevin heads up the Earthworm Research Group at UCLan which was formed in 2003 and comprises two full time staff members, a rolling number of PhD students and numerous external collaborators. The ERG has many ongoing projects and we are always keen to explore new areas.

Kevin was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Today and BBC Radio 5 Live programmes in January 2016 about his discovery of Britain’s largest earthworm on the Isle of Rum in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland. To read about this research please read the news story


Butt, K. R., Callaham, M.A. Jr, Loudermilk, E.L. and Blaik, R. (2016) Action of earthworms on flint burial – A return to Darwin’s estate. Applied Soil Ecology 104, 157-162.

Lowe, C. N., Butt, K. R. and Cheynier, K. Y.-M. (2016) Assessment of avoidance behaviour by earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus and Octolasion cyaneum) in linear pollution gradients. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 124, 324-328.

Butt, K.R., Lowe, C.N., Callaham, M.A. Jr., and Nuutinen, V. (2015) An oasis of fertility on a barren island: Earthworms at Papadil, Isle of Rum. Glasgow Naturalist 26 (2)

Kostecka, J. and Butt, K. R. (2015) Field and laboratory studies of the earthworm Dendrobaena alpina (Rosa, 1884). Journal of Ecological Engineering 16, 213-217.

Publications 1991 - 2007

Recent publications

Research Activities

The cultivation of earthworms for soil amelioration.

Earthworms as ecosystem service providers.

Colonisation abilities of terrestrial invertebrates.

Soil surface behaviour of earthworms e.g. through infra-red recording.

Tree establishment, compacted soils and soil biota.

Organic waste minimisation and utilisation through composting and vermiculture.

Effects of waste-derived soil ameliorants on soil flora and fauna.

Earthworm DNA analysis linked to reproductive success.

Earthworms and micro-organisms.

Biological remediation of reclaimed soils.

Upland moorland restoration.

Endophytes in turfgrass.

Vertebrate behavioural studies.


Soil quality under brownfield land regeneration to woodland – provision of wider ecosystem services: a joint project with Forest Research, UK.

Earthworms as vertebrate food in translocated grassland at Manchester airport.

Earthworms in agro-ecosystems: a joint project with MTT Agrifood Research Finland.

Nitrogen and carbon fluxes through upland systems: a joint project with USDA Forest Research.

Tree establishment and earthworms : a joint project with Forest Research, UK.

Earthworms of the Carpathian Mountains: a joint project with University of Rzeszow, Poland.

Fungus dispersal through earthworm vectors: a joint project with University of Padova, Italy.

Technique development for earthworm ecological survey.

Lumbricus terrestris – activity, distribution, dispersal and settlement.

Earthworms of the Hebrides.


Higher Education Academy (Fellow)

Royal Society of Biology (Chartered Biologist) MIBIol; CBIol.

British Ecological Society

British Land Reclamation Society

Manchester Geographical Society

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Biology


PhD, The Open University (1990)

PGCE, University of Manchester (1985)

MSc Ecology, U.C.N.W. (Bangor) (1983)

BSc (Hons) Biology, University of Manchester (1982)