Keith Skene

A writer, lecturer, scientist, broadcaster and a former AARS Rhodes Scholar (Australian Association of Rhodes Scholars), Keith is director of the Biosphere Research Institute, an independent, international and multidisciplinary centre for global sustainability. Having gained a first class honours degree in botany, he completed his PhD in plant developmental biology, at the University of Dundee, in 1997.  He worked as a lecturer for 13 years, at the College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, before taking up his current position in October, 2010.  He contributes regularly to the BBC flagship environmental series, Countryfile.  Originally from Ireland, he now lives in Angus, Scotland, with Marion, his wife, and Matthew, his little son.  He and his wife are also foster carers.

Keith mostly works on applying his thinking, based on the laws of thermodynamics, to a wide range of subjects, including evolution, exobiology, conservation, design, town planning, theology and psychology.  He is also an expert in forensic palynology, acting as an expert witness in major crime cases.

Keith is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Leeds Business School, where he advises on sustainability and business, focusing on the Circular Economy. He works as a consultant for the Centre of Low Carbon Futures.  He is also a visiting lecturer at The Mendel University in Brno (MENDELU).

He spends his time outside of work acting as a domestic slave to his three year old son and a varying number of foster children, writing books (his new one is on a new theory of sustainability based on physics) and feeding some extremely demanding wild birds on his bird table.  He includes in his hobbies philosophy and playing very scratchy blues guitar, both of which, he claims, inform each other strongly.

Papers and books by Keith Skene include:


Vranova, V., Rejsek, K., Skene, K.R., Janous, D. and Formanek, P. (2013) Methods of collection of plant root exudates in relation to plant metabolism and purpose: a review. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 176: 175-199.

Skene, K.R. (2013) The energetics of ecological succession: a logistic model of entropic output. Ecological Modelling 250:287-293.

Skene, K.R. and Murray, A. (2012) The Circular Economy: A Literature Review. Centre for Low Carbon Futures, York.

Skene, K.R. and Murray, A. (2012) The Circular Economy: A Definitional Paper. Centre for Low Carbon Futures, York.

Vranova, V., Zahradnickova, H., Janous, D., Skene, K.R.,Matharu, A.S., Rejsek, K. and Formanek, P. (2012) The significance of D-amino acids in soil, fate and utilization by microbes and plants: review and identification of knowledge gaps. Plant and Soil 354: 21-39.

Skene, K.R. (2011) Form, function, forests and fossils: sustainability revisited. Contemporary Review 293: 462-472.

Skene, K.R. (2011) Escape from Bubbleworld: Seven Curves to Save the Earth.  Ard Macha Press.  ISBN 978-095625-012-4

Vranova, V, Rejsek, K., Skene, K.R. and Formanek, P. (2011) Non-protein amino acids: plant, soil and ecosystem interactions. Plant and Soil 342:31-48

Skene, K.R. (2010). After Copenhagen: Carbon is not the planet's greatest threat. Contemporary Review 292: 15-22.

Skene, K.R. (2009) Putting Colour in Your Curriculum I. Ard Macha Press. ISBN 9780956250117

Skene, K.R. (2009). Shadows on the Cave Wall: A New Theory of Evolution. Ard Macha Press.  ISBN 9780956250100

Carfrae, J.A., Skene, K.R., Sheppard, L.J., Ingleby, K. and Crossley, A. (2006) Effects of nitrogen with and without acidified sulphur on an ectomycorrhizal community in a Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis Bong. Carr) forest. Environmental Pollution 141 (1): 131-138.

McCluskey J., Herdman, L & Skene KR. ( 2004). Iron deficiency induces changes in metabolism of citrate in lateral roots and cluster roots of Lupinus albus L.. Physiologia Plantarum 121: 586-594

Skene, K.R. (2004) Key differences in photosynthetic characteristics of nine species of intertidal macroalgae are related to their position on the shore. Canadian Journal of Botany 82(2): 177-184.

Skene, K. R. (2003) Plant-insect interactions in ultramafic habitats. Recent Research Developments in Entomology 3: 59-75.

Raven, J.A. and Skene, K.R. (2003) Chemistry of the early oceans: the environment of early life. In: Rothschild, L. and Lister, A. eds,  Evolution on Planet Earth: the Impact of the Physical Environment. pp 55-64. Academic Press, London.

Taylor, B. & Skene, K.R. (2003). Forensic palynology: spatial and temporal considerations of pollen deposition in forensic investigations. Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 35 (2): 193-204.

Skene, K.R. (2003). The evolution of physiology and development in the cluster root: teaching an old dog new tricks? Plant and Soil 248: 21-30.

Wall, J.W., Skene, K.R. & Neilson R. (2002). Nematode community and trophic structure along a sand dune succession. Biology and Fertility of Soils 35:293-301.

Skene, K.R. (2001). Cluster roots: model experimental tools for key biological problems. Journal of Experimental Botany 52: 479-485.

Hagstrom, J., James, W.M. & Skene, K.R. (2001). A comparison of structure, development and function in cluster roots of Lupinus albus L. under phosphate and iron stress. Plant and Soil 232: 81-90.

Hoang, D. & Skene, K.R. (2001). Certaines plantes capturent leurs nutriments l’aide d’écouvillons. Recherche  343: 40-42.

Averiss, R.J. & Skene, K.R. (2001). Changes in nutrient heterogeneity in a sand dune succession at Tentsmuir Point, Eastern Scotland . Botanical Journal of Scotland 53(I): 45-56.

Skene, K.R., Sprent, J.I., Raven J.A. & Herdman, L. (2000). Biological Flora of the British Isles . Myrica gale L. Journal of Ecology 88: 1079-1094.

Skene, K.R. (2000) Pattern formation in cluster roots: some developmental and evolutionary considerations. Annals of Botany 85: 901-908.

Skene, K.R. & James, W.M. (2000). A comparison of the effects of NAA on cluster root initiation and development in Grevillea robusta and in the genus Lupinus (Leguminoseae). Plant and Soil 219: 221-229.

Skene, K.R. (2000). Cluster roots: their physiology, ecology and developmental biology. Annals of Botany 85: 899.

Davison, G, Lambie, C.L., James, W.M., Skene , M.E. & Skene, K.R. (1999). A comparison of heavy metal content in insects associated with ultramafic and non-ultramafic sites in the Scottish Highlands. Ecological Entomology 24: 1-6.

Skene, K.R. (1998). Cluster roots: some ecological considerations. Journal of Ecology 86: 1062-1066.

Skene, K.R., Raven, J.A., Sprent, J.I. (1998). Cluster root development in Grevillea robusta (Proteaceae) I. Xylem, pericycle, cortex and epidermal development in a determinate root. New Phytologist 138: 725-732

Skene, K.R., Sutherland, J.M., Raven, J.A., Sprent, J.I. (1998). Cluster root development in Grevillea robusta (Proteaceae) II. The development of the endodermis in a determinate root and in an indeterminate, lateral root. New Phytologist 138: 733-742

Skene, K.R., Kierans, M., Sprent, J.I., Raven, J.A. (1996). Structural aspects of cluster root development and their possible significance for nutrient acquisition in Grevillea robusta (Proteaceae). Annals of Botany 77: 443-451.