Professor Paul Ashton

Head of Department

Paul Ashton portrait image

Paul Ashton Head of Department

Paul Ashton began working at Edge Hill University in 1994 as a Senior Lecturer then in 2008 became a Reader, being made Head of the new Biology Department in autumn 2012. He is also course co-ordinator for the Conservation Management MSc. In addition to scientific papers covering a breadth of subjects and habitats he is also co-author of the well-reviewed book, Ecological Genetics; Design, Analysis, and Application.

Outside of EHU he is secretary of the Ecological Genetics Group (EGG), a member of the British Ecological Society Meetings Committee and editor of the Botanical Society of the British Isles Handbooks series, as well as a member of their Teaching and Education committee. From 2006 – 2011 Paul was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Birmingham and is presently Visiting Lecturer for Manchester Metropolitan University.


  • Potential response of small leaved lime (Tilia cordata) to climate change
  • Extent of hybridisation between Small leaved lime and Large leaved lime (T. platyphyllos) and the niche separation between the two
  • Taxonomy and speciation in the genus Carex (sedges)
  • Ecology of brownfield sites
  • Grasslands in all their myriad beauty


  • Biodiversity
  • Variation, Evolution and Heredity
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Field Botany
  • Placement
  • Biodiversity and Conservation
  • Ecological Genetics
  • Habitat Management
  • Restoration Ecology


  • BSc (Joint Hons.) Botany and Ecology (University of St Andrews)
  • PGCE Secondary Biology and Maths (UEA)
  • PhD Plant and Ecological Genetics (University of St Andrews)


Paul Ashton
201, Biosciences building
Department of Biology
Edge Hill University
Ormskirk, Lancashire
L39 4QP
01695 650 931
[email protected]

Professional memberships

  • British Ecological Society committee member
  • Ecological Genetics Group secretary
  • The Genetics Society member
  • The Systematics Association member
  • Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland – Training & Education Committee member and Handbooks Editor


Journal Articles

Lyons, A., Ashton, P., Powell, I., Oxbrough, A., 2018. Epigeal spider assemblage responses to vegetation structure under contrasting grazing management in upland calcareous grasslands. Insect Conservation and Diversity. DOI: 10.1111/icad.12287

Lyons A., Ashton P.A., Powell I., Oxbrough A. (2018) Habitat associations of epigeal spiders in upland calcareous grassland landscapes: the importance for conservation. Biodiversity in Conservation, 27:1201-1219.

Lyons, A., Ashton, P., Powell, I., Oxbrough, A., 2017 Impacts of contrasting conservation grazing management on plants and carabid beetles in upland calcareous grasslands. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment. 244: 22-31.

Sullivan, E., Powell, I and Ashton, P. A (2017) Regional stability versus fine scale changes in community composition of mesotrophic grasslands over 25 years New Journal Botany 7 25-38

Love, J., Graham, S., Irwin, J., Ashton, P. A.  Bretagnolle, F. and Abbott, RJ (2016) Self-pollination, style length development and seed set in self-compatible Asteraceae: evidence from Senecio vulgaris L. Plant Ecology and Diversity 9 371-379

Irwin, J. A., Ashton, P. A., Bretagnolle, F. & Abbott, R. J. (2016) The long and the short of it: long-styled florets are associated with higher outcrossing rate in Senecio vulgaris and result from delayed self-pollen germination Plant Ecology & Diversity 9 159-165

Barker, C., Ashton, M., & Ashton, P.A. (2015) Segregation of Tilia cordata and T. platyphyllos (Malvaceae) along environmental gradients, New Journal of Botany 5 157-163

Bugg, C., Smith,C., Blackstock,N., Simpson, D., & Ashton, P. A. (2013). Consistent and variable leaf anatomical characters in Carex (Cyperaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 172, 371-384.

Blackstock, N, & Ashton, P. A. (2010). Genetic markers and morphometric analysis reveal contrasting population identification in putative Carex flava L. s.s (Cyperaceae) hybrid populations. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 287, 37-47.

Bedford,H., Bedford, A., Ashton, P. A., & Thomas, J. (2010). An Alternative Approach to Assessing Laboratory and Field Notebooks: The Data Retrieval Test. Bioscience Education, 16, c4.

Champion, M. H., & Ashton, P. A. (2010). Reedbed Habitat Restoration at the Wigan Flashes: Restoring the Post-Industrial Landscape for Wildlife Conservation. Restoration and Recovery: Regenerating Land and Communities. Whittles Press, 206-223.

Dean, M., & Ashton, P. A. (2010). Ecology, distribution and fertility of Carex recta Boott (Cyperaceae) in the British Isles, Watsonia, 28, 33-42.

Erenler, H., Ashton, P. A., Gillman, M. P., & Ollerton, J. (2010). Factors determining species richness of soil seed banks in lowland ancient woodlands. Biodiversity and Conservation19, 1631-1648.

Callaghan, D. A. & Ashton, P. A. (2009). Rarity and site selection for bryophyte conservation. Biodiversity and Conservation, 18 (5), 1259-1272.

Dean, M., & Ashton, P. A. (2008). Leaf surfaces as a taxonomic tool: The case of Carex section Phacocystis (Cyperaceae) in the British Isles. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 273, 97-105.

Callaghan, D. A., & Ashton, P. A. (2008). Knowledge gaps in bryophyte distribution and prediction of species richness. Journal of Bryology, 30, 147-158.

Callaghan, D. A., & Ashton, P. A. (2008). Attributes of rarity in a regional bryophyte assemblage. Journal of Bryology, 30, 101-107.

Callaghan, D. A., & Ashton, P. A. (2008). Bryophyte distribution and environment across an oceanic temperate landscape. Journal of Bryology, 30, 25-35

Dean. M., Ashton, P. A., Hutcheon, K., Jermy, A. C., & Cayouette, J. (2008). Description, Ecology and Establishment of Carex salina Wahlenb. (Saltmarsh sedge) – A New British Species. Watsonia, 27, 51-57.

Callaghan, D. A. and Ashton, P. A. (2007) Bryophyte clusters and sand dune vegetation communities. Journal of Bryology, 29. pp. 213-221. ISSN 0373-6687

Dean, M. and Ashton, P. A. (2006) A reassessment of the distribution of Carex recta Boott (Cyperaceae) in the British Isles. Watsonia: Journal of the Botanical Society of the British Isles, 26. pp. 31-39. ISSN 0043-1532

Smith, C. and Ashton, P. A. (2006) Distinction between the sedges Carex vulpina L. and C. otrubae Podp. and the potential for identification of hybrids. Watsonia: Journal of the Botanical Society of the British Isles, 26. pp. 15-25. ISSN 0043-1532

Ashton, P., Cayouette, J., Jermy, A., Hutcheon, K. and Dean, M. (2005) Carex salina – a new species of sedge for Britain. BSBI News, 99. pp. 17-19.

Ashton, P. A. (2003) A new flora of vc 59 (South Lancashire): a progress report. Watsonia: Journal of the Botanical Society of the British Isles, 24. pp. 351-357. ISSN 0043-1532

Blackstock, N. and Ashton, P. A. (2001) A re-assessment of the putative Carexflava agg. (Cyperaceae) hybrids at Malham Tam (v.c. 64): A morphometric, analysis. Watsonia: Journal of the Botanical Society of the British Isles, 23 (4). pp. 505-516. ISSN 0043-1532

Conference Papers

Champion, M. H., & Ashton, P. A. (2011). Restoring the Post-industrial Landscape for Wildlife Conservation and the Community: Wigan Flashes LNR: A Case Study. Landscape Ecology and Ecosystem Services, ialeUK.

Dragon, J. A., Ashton, P., Dean, M., Cayouette, J. and Waterway, M. J. (2009) Hybridization and ecological speciation in the salt tolerant Carex aquatilis lineage (Cyperaceae). Botany & Mycology 2009 conference, Snowbird, Utah, U.S.A.

Dean, M. and Ashton, P. (2008) Hybridisation and evolution in amphi-Atlantic maritime Carex. Annual Ecological Genetics Group conference, April, Aberystwyth University.

Dean, M. and Ashton, P. (2008) Hybridisation and evolution in amphi-Atlantic maritime Carex L. Fourth International Conference: The Comparative Biology of the Monocotyledons, August, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ashton, P. A. (2007) Malham’s Vascular Plants – Rarity, Vulnerability and Candidates for Long Term Monitoring. The Fourth Malham Tarn Research Seminar, 18-20 November 2005, Malham Tarn Field Centre, Yorkshire Dales.

Dean, M. and Ashton, P. (2006) Searching for saltmarsh Sedge – can you help? Botanical Society of the British Isles Scottish Annual Meeting, Scotland.

Dean, M. and Ashton, P. (2006) Turning over a new leaf – leaf surfaces as a taxonomic tool. Ecological Genetics Group Conference, 5-7 April, Aberystwyth University.

Ashton, P. A. (2005) Data Quality: Developing skills and knowledge. The Fifth NBN Conference – “Focus on wildlife: current activities in societies & schemes”, National History Museum, London.

Blackstock, N. and Ashton, P. A. (2003) Variation in the Malham population of large yellow sedge (Carex flava L.) and its implications. Malham Research Seminar, Malham Tarn Field Centre, Yorkshire Dales.

Dean, M. and Ashton, P. (2002) Investigating hybridization in the genus Carex. Annual Ecological Genetics Group conference, April, Newcastle University.


Lowe, A., Harris, S. H. and Ashton, P. A. (2004) Ecological Genetics: Design, Analysis and Application. Blackwell, Oxford. ISBN 1405100338

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