Professor John Tellam BSc, MSc, PhD, FGS

Professor John Tellam

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Professor of Hydrogeology

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

John Tellam’s main research interests are in inorganic, surface-interacting, solute and particle transport in groundwaters, with a particular emphasis on sandstone aquifers.


  • BSc in Geological Sciences, University of Southampton
  • MSc in Hydrogeology, University of Birmingham
  • PhD in Groundwater Chemistry, University of Birmingham


BSc taught modules, year 3 &4: Pollution Hydrogeology; Engineering Geology; Natural Hazards (part)
MSc Hydrogeology Course taught modules: Hydraulic Properties (part); Inorganic Chemistry and Groundwater; Hydrogeophysics; Water Resources Studies (part)
MSc Hydrogeology Course tutor; senior MSc Course tutor and Research Ethics Coordinator for GEES; Fieldwork Safety Coordinator for Earth Sciences.

Postgraduate supervision

John Tellam’s current research interests focus on the quantification of surface-reacting solute transport and inorganic nanoparticle movement in ground waters. This work involves laboratory and field experimentation and modelling. Within the Water Sciences group, there are extensive facilities for this type of research, including an on-campus research borehole array.

Professor Tellam's most recent research projects have centred on: virus movement in ground waters; nanoparticle movement in ground waters; and applications of biogeochemistry in nuclear waste disposal. PhD and PDRA research has recently included work on: characterising surface properties of rocks; examining particle-virus interactions; quantifying correlations between hydraulic properties geochemical properties, and lithofacies; quantifying ion exchange reactions; and developing new methods for borehole logging interpretations. Professor Tellam has supervised nearly 50 doctoral researchers in a wide range of groundwater subjects, and is always keen to consider new applications.

Other activities

Member of the Council of the Geological Society of London, and member of the Society’s Science and Election Committees.
Member of the EPSRC review college.
Member of the Steering Committee, UK Groundwater Forum.
External examiner to the MSc Course in Environmental Hydrogeology at Cardiff University.
Guest lecturer on the MSc Course in Hydrogeology and Environmental Geoscience, Göttingen University, Germany.


Recent publications


Tellam, J 2011, Manufactured Nanoparticles: A New Threat to the Security of Some Groundwater Supplies? Springer.


Rivett, MO, Roche, RS, Tellam, JH & Herbert, AW 2019, 'WITHDRAWN: Increased organic contaminant residence times in the urban riverbed due to the presence of highly sorbing sediments of the Anthropocene', Journal of Hydrology.

Rau, GC, Halloran, LJS, Cuthbert, MO, Andersen, MS, Acworth, RI & Tellam, JH 2017, 'Characterising the dynamics of surface water-groundwater interactions in intermittent and ephemeral streams using streambed thermal signatures', Advances in Water Resources, vol. 107, pp. 354-369.

Rivett, M & Tellam, J 2015, 'Heterogeneous hyporheic zone dechlorination of a TCE groundwater plume discharging to an urban river reach', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 505, pp. 236-252.

Pandey, SC, Pollard, AM, Viles, HA & Tellam, J 2014, 'Influence of ion exchange processes on salt transport and distribution in historic sandstone buildings', Applied Geochemistry, vol. 48, pp. 176-183.

Mcmillan, LA, Rivett, MO, Tellam, JH, Dumble, P & Sharp, H 2014, 'Influence of vertical flows in wells on groundwater sampling', Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, vol. 169, pp. 50–61.

Greswell, R, Durand, V, Aller, M, Riley, MS & Tellam, J 2013, 'A method for conducting simultaneous convergent tracer tests in multilayered aquifers', Ground Water.

Riley, M, Tellam, J, Greswell, R, Durand, V & Aller, MF 2011, 'Convergent tracer tests in multilayered aquifers: The importance of vertical flow in the injection borehole', Water Resources Research, vol. 47, pp. W07501.

Bashar, K & Tellam, J 2011, 'Sandstones of unexpectedly high diffusibility', Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, vol. 122, pp. 40-52.

Furlong, BV, Riley, M, Herbert, A, Ingram, JA, Mackay, R & Tellam, J 2011, 'Using regional groundwater flow models for prediction of regional wellwater quality distributions', Journal of Hydrology, vol. 398, pp. 1-16.

Greswell, R, Rahman, SH, Cuthbert, M & Tellam, J 2010, 'An inexpensive flow-through laser nephelometer for the detection of natural colloids and manufactured nanoparticles', Journal of Hydrology, vol. 388, no. 1-2, pp. 112-120.


Pokrajac, D, Howard, KWF, Tellam, J & Howard, KWF 2010, Challenges in urban groundwater modeling as an introduction to UGROW. in Advanced Simulation and Modelling for Groundwater Management - UGROW. UNESCO-IHP Report, Urban Water Series, 7.


Tellam, J, Greswell, R, Riley, M, Rahman, SH, Schirmer, M, Hoehn, E & Vogt, T 2011, 'Manufactured nanoparticle movement in the groundwaters of a redbed sandstone: laboratory experiments and field observations', Paper presented at 7th International Groundwater Quality Conference, Jun 13-18, 2010. Zurich, Switzerland, 1/01/11.

Rivett, M, Cuthbert, M, Mackay, R, Durand, V, Aller, MF, Tellam, J, Greswell, R & Roche, R 2011, 'Natural attenuation potential of the urban hyporheic zone: observations form research sites on the River Tame, Birmingham, UK', Paper presented at European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly. Geophysical Research Abstracts, EGU2011-9838, 1/01/11.

Cuthbert, M, Thatcher, K, Tellam, J & Mackay, R 2010, 'A semi-analytical model for estimating groundwater recharge through fractured till', Paper presented at Proceedings of the XXXVIII IAH Congress on Groundwater Quality Sustainability, Krakow, 12-17 September 2010, 1/01/10.

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