Fitter was educated at Oxford and at Liverpool, and came to the Department of Biology in York in 1972. In 2004 he was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor, with the Research portfolio. He is a member of Council of the Natural Environment Research Council.
Fitter's research interests include plant and microbial behaviour in a changing world; functional ecology of roots and mycorrhizal associations under field conditions; root system architecture; carbon cycling in soil, especially in relation to mycorrhizas; phenological responses to climate change.
Alastair Fitter is the son of the naturalist and author Richard Fitter (1913–2005), and together in 2002 they published an article in Science on the changing phenology of wild flowers due to global warming. They have also collaborated on numerous field guides and other natural history books.
Fitter was elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2005. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours for services to environmental science.
- YESIUoY (23 April 2013). "Alastair Fitter". YouTube. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- "The Royal Society welcomes two New Plant Scientists". SEB Bulletin. January 2006. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2009.
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