Dr Mark Cuthbert


Research Fellow

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences


Contact details

Telephone +61 2 8071 9800

Fax +61 2 9949 4188

Email m.cuthbert@bham.ac.uk

Secondary Email m.cuthbert@wrl.unsw.edu.au

University of New South Wales
Water Research Laboratory
110 King Street
Manly Vale, NSW, 2093


2012 – Present: Marie Curie Research Fellow, University of New South Wales, Australia & University of Birmingham, UK (EU FP7 funded)

2008 – 2012: Research Fellow, University of Birmingham (EU FP6 & EPSRC funded)

2006 – 2008: Director, CHIPS (Christian International Peace Service), a small peacebuilding/development charity

2003 – 2006: PhD Student, University of Birmingham (NERC funded)

1999 – 2003: Consultant Hydrogeologist, Entec UK Ltd

1998 – 1999: MSc Hydrogeology and Groundwater Resources, University College London

1995-1998: BA, MA, Earth Sciences, University of Oxford


Research group

Research interests

  • Groundwater recharge
  • Surface water-groundwater interactions
  • Applied hydrogeology for nuclear waste disposal and decommissioning
  • Groundwater and unsaturated zone modeling
  • International groundwater development and peacebuilding

Current / recent research

Though working across a range of disciplines and environments, the common focus of my research is on improving understanding of groundwater hydraulic processes by combining innovative laboratory and field data collection with analytical and numerical modeling.  My research covers the following areas:

 Groundwater recharge

  • Groundwater rechargeField investigations and modelling of recharge from ephemeral streams in the upper Maules Creek Catchment, NSW, Australia (in collaboration with NCGRT)
  • Investigations into preferential flow phenonena in recharge processes at a range of scales
  • Field investigation and modeling of recharge through superficial deposits, Shropshire, UK (NERC LOCAR project)
  • Groundwater recharge and climate change in NE Uganda (collaboration with Ugandan MWE)
  • Developing techniques for improving recharge estimation from groundwater level observations 


Surface water-groundwater interactions

  • Surface water-groundwater interactionsField and modelling investigations into the use of heat as a tracer in streambed environments
  • Field studies into groundwater-surface water exchange processes in the Maules Creek catchment, NSW, Australia
  • Hydrological exchange processes in the River Tame, UK (EU FP6 SWITCH and Environment Agency project)
  • Investigating the impact of road salting on surface water and groundwater quality, Bromsgrove, UK (Environment Agency funded)
  • Development of a river bed electrical conductivity probe for inferring transient hyporheic zone exchange 


Applied hydrogeology for nuclear waste disposal and decommissioningApplied groundwater microbiology

  • Biomineralisation processes for artificially reducing the permeability of fractured rock for applications in nuclear waste decommissioning and disposal (EPSRC funded)
  • Bacterial transport modelling in fractured and porous media 


International groundwater development and peacebuildingInternational groundwater development and peacebuilding

  • Modeling arsenic transport to hand-pumped tubewells in the Holocene alluvial aquifer of Bangladesh (NERC funded MSc studentship)
  • Improving the hydrogeological understanding of NE Uganda and links between water resources, conflict and climate change


Journal Articles

Cuthbert, M. O., Baker, A., Jex, C. N., Graham, P. W., Treble, P., Andersen, M. S. & Acworth, R. I. (2014). Drip water isotopes in semi-arid karst: implications for speleothem paleoclimatology. Earth & Planetary Science Letters. (In Press).

Cuthbert, M. O. (2014), Straight thinking about groundwater recession, Water Resour. Res., 50, doi:10.1002/2013WR014060.

Tobler, D. J., Cuthbert, M. O., & Phoenix, V. R. (2014). Transport of Sporosarcina pasteurii in sandstone and its significance for subsurface engineering technologies. Applied Geochemistry, 42, 38-44.

Krause, S., Boano, F., Cuthbert, M. O., Fleckenstein, J. H., & Lewandowski, J. (2014), Understanding process dynamics at aquifer-surface water interfaces: An introduction to the special section on new modeling approaches and novel experimental technologies, Water Resour. Res., 50, doi:10.1002/2013WR014755.

Cuthbert, M. O., McMillan, L. A., Handley-Sidhu, S., Riley, M. S., Tobler, D. J., & Phoenix, V. (2013). A field and modelling study of fractured rock permeability reduction using microbially induced calcite precipitation. Environ. Sci. Technol., 47, 13637–13643

Cuthbert, M. O., Mackay, R. & Nimmo, J. R. (2013).  Linking soil moisture balance and source-responsive models to estimate diffuse and preferential components of groundwater recharge.  Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 1003–1019,

Handley-Sidhu, S, Sham, E., Cuthbert, M. O., Nougarol, S., Mantle, M., Johns, M. L., Macaskie, L. E., & Renshaw, J. C. (2013).  Kinetics of calcite precipitation by urease active bean meal and permeability reduction of porous media evidenced by magnetic resonance imaging.  Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol., 10, 881–890.

Cuthbert, M. O. & Mackay, R. (2013).  Impacts of nonuniform flow on estimates of vertical streambed flux. Water Resources Research, 49, 19-28. doi:10.1029/2011WR011587

Rivett, M. O., Turner, R. J., Cuthbert, M. O. & Glibbery, P. (2012). The legacy of chlorinated solvents in the Birmingham aquifer: two decades of observations and the challenge of urban groundwater development. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology,140-141, 107-123.

Cuthbert, M. O., Riley, M. S., Handley-Sidhu, S, Renshaw, J. C., Tobler, D. J., Phoenix, V. R. & Mackay, R. (2012).  Controls on the rate of ureolysis and the morphology of carbonate precipitated by S. Pasteurii biofilms and limits due to bacterial encapsulation.  Ecological Engineering, 41, 32-40.

Holman I. P., Allen, D. M., Cuthbert M. O. & Goderniaux P. (2012).  Towards best practice for assessing the impacts of climate change on groundwater.  Hydrogeology Journal, 20: 1-4.

Tobler, D. J., Cuthbert, M. O., Greswell, R. B., Riley, M. S., Renshaw, J. C., Handley-Sidhu, S. & Phoenix, V. R. (2011).  Comparison of rates of ureolysis between Sporosarcina pasteurii and an indigenous groundwater community under conditions required to precipitate large volumes of calcite.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75, 3290-3301.

Cuthbert M. O., Mackay R., & Greswell, R. B., (2011).  A wet/wet differential pressure sensor for measuring vertical hydraulic gradient; comment. Ground Water, 49, 781-782.

Cuthbert, M. O. & Tindimugaya, C. (2010). The importance of preferential flow in controlling groundwater recharge in tropical Africa and implications for modelling the impact of climate change on groundwater resources.  Journal of Water and Climate Change, 1(4), 234-245.

Cuthbert, M. O., Mackay, R., Durand, V., Aller, M.-F., Greswell, R. B. & Rivett M. O. (2010).  Impacts of river-bed gas on the hydraulic and thermal dynamics of the hyporheic zone.  Advances in Water Resources, 33, 1347-1358.

Cuthbert M. O., Mackay R., Tellam J.H. & Thatcher K.E. (2010).  Combining unsaturated and saturated zone hydraulic observations for understanding and estimating groundwater recharge through glacial till. Journal Of Hydrology, 391, 263–276.

Cuthbert, M. O. (2010).  An improved time series approach for estimating groundwater recharge from groundwater level fluctuations. Water Resources Research, 46, W09515, doi:10.1029/2009WR008572.

Cuthbert M. O., Mackay R., Tellam J. H. & Barker R. D. (2010).  The use of electrical resistivity tomography in deriving local-scale models of recharge through superficial deposits; reply.  Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, 43, 364.

Greswell, R. B., Rahman, S. H., Cuthbert, M. O. & Tellam, J. H. (2010).  An inexpensive flow-through laser nephelometer for the detection of natural colloids and manufactured nanoparticles.  Journal of Hydrology, 388, 112-120.

Greswell, Richard; Ellis, Paul; Cuthbert, Mark; White, Rachel; Durand, Veronique, (2009). The design and application of an inexpensive pressure monitoring system for shallow water level measurement, tensiometry and piezometry. Journal of Hydrology, 373, 416–425.

Cuthbert, M. O., Mackay, R., Tellam, J. H. & Barker, R. D. (2009).  The use of electrical resistivity tomography in deriving local scale models of recharge through superficial deposits.  Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology & Hydrogeology, 42 (2), 199-209.

Contributions to Edited Works

Gavigan, J., Mackay, R. & Cuthbert, M. O. (2009).  Climate change impacts on groundwater recharge in NE Uganda and the potential role of groundwater development in livelihood adaptation and peacebuilding.  In: Taylor, R., Tindimugaya, C., Owor, M. & Shamsudduha, M. (eds.), Groundwater & Climate Change in Africa. IAHS Publication 334, p.153-60, ISBN 978-1-907161-05-6.

Burgess, W., Ahmed, K. M., Carruthers, A., Cheetham, H., Cobbing, J., Cuthbert M. O., Mather, S. & McCarthy, E. (2007).  Trends in Arsenic Concentration at Tubewells in Bangladesh: Conceptual Models, Numerical Models, and Monitoring Proxies.  In: Bhattacharya, P., Mukherjee, A. B., Bundschuh, J., Zevenhoven, R., Loeppert, R. (eds.), Arsenic in Soil and Groundwater Environment: Biogeochemical Interactions, Health Effects and Remediation.  Elsevier, ISBN-10: 0-444-51820-7.

Mackay, R., Cuthbert, M. O., Ash, H. & Tellam, J. H. (2006).  Towards an up-scaled model of aquifer recharge through glacial drift deposits, Shropshire, UK.  In: Bierkens, M. F.P., Gehrels, J.C. & Kovar, K. (eds.), Calibration and Reliability in Groundwater Modelling: From Uncertainty to Decision Making. IAHS Publication 304, p.52-58, ISBN 1-901-502-58-9.

Cuthbert, M. O., Burgess, W. G. & Connell, L. (2002).  Constraints on sustainable development of arsenic-bearing aquifers in southern Bangladesh. Part 2: Preliminary models of arsenic variability in pumped groundwater.  In: Hiscock, K.M., Rivett, M.O. & Davison, R.M. (eds.), Sustainable Groundwater Development. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 193, 165-179.

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