Research Foci and Current Projects

Our research is focused on the following areas:

  • Soil and its component parts (including fauna-flora and Carbon).
  • Plant ecophysiology and how plants respond to abiotic and biotic stresses in semi-natural communities.
  • The close relationship between plants and invertebrates (leaf herbivores and soil burrowers; marine alage/seagrass and herbivores).
  • How grazing animals including livestock affect plant communities.
  • The nature of competition and how plant and animal communities work
  • Predator-prey dynamics
  • Techniques for making space for nature within coastal engineered structures

Biological interactions are quantified using a range of approaches from the analysis of organism / substrate biochemical signatures (using metabolomic approaches), chemical, physical and biological measurements in the field to studying interactions using modelling and simulations.

Current Projects

Projects which started in 2011:

  • The SEREN project: ERDF (coordinated by Cardiff University), sponsored project on soil carbon sequestration. AU award £390 K.
  • NERC (standard grant with CEH Lancaster) on plant-soil carbon dynamics in the sub-arctic. AU award value £290 K.
  • EU Sustainable Organic and Low-input Dairying (SOLID) project (co-ordinated by Prof. Nigel Scollan) Specifically Work Package 4. Environmental assessment: For improvements and communication in organic and low input dairy systems. Small part of AU total partner allocation (value £607 K).