• Lecturer in Plant Science and Botany, Biology

    Accepting PhD Students


    Research activity per year

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    Personal profile


    I am an ecosystem ecologist interested in plant-soil interactions. I mainly work on grassland soils, with some peatlands thrown in as well. My overarching aim is to improve our understanding of the way plants build their specific soil community, in order to restore grassland form and function in degraded lands. My work has taken me across the world, and into many interesting socio-ecological systems, including that of Inner Mongolia and Western Kenya. Each presents its own unique challenges, opportunities and questions.


    At Edge Hill my research takes three related paths:

    1. How do plant functional traits inform soil food web assembly, dynamics and consequent functions? This takes place on a well-established experiment on calcareous grassland on Salisbury Plain.

    2. How do plant-soil feedbacks operate in the real world? What effect do do drivers such as climate change have on them?

    3. Can we improve bioengineering of the soil food web for agricultural and grassland restoration purposes? Could vermicompost hold the key? Could bioengineering in a non-invasive way shift plant community dynamics to restore restoration outcomes?


    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
    • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
    • SDG 13 - Climate Action
    • SDG 15 - Life on Land

    Education/Academic qualification

    Biology, PhD, Climate change implications for grassland ecosystems: a biodiversity approach, Imperial College London

    1 Oct 200716 Jul 2011

    Award Date: 26 Sept 2011

    Forest Protection and Conservation, MSc, Mycorrhizal associations in lowland heath ecosystems after fire, Imperial College London

    1 Sept 200628 Sept 2007

    Award Date: 28 Sept 2007

    Environmental Biology, BSc, Endophytic colonisation of Cirsium arvenseafter drought and fungicide application, Royal Holloway University of London

    28 Sept 200230 Jun 2006

    Award Date: 30 Jun 2006

    Other positions

    Post-Doctoral Research Associate, University of Manchester

    1 Aug 201931 Mar 2021

    Post-Doctoral Research Associate, University of Manchester

    1 Apr 201731 Jul 2019

    Post-Doctoral Research Associate, University of Manchester

    4 Feb 201331 Mar 2031

    Endeavour Research Fellow, Western Sydney University

    1 Feb 201216 Jun 2012


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