Key aims and expertise
Our research spans cellular processes, physiology and ecology, and uses a wide array of techniques including field studies, laboratory experimentation, chemical analysis, taxonomy, statistical analyses and modelling.
The research undertaken is multidisciplinary and we have active collaborative projects with those from other disciplines within the School of Biosciences, in addition to staff in the Schools of Engineering, Life Sciences and Geography. The university research farm also facilitates multidisciplinary agroecology projects with agronomists, soil, animal and atmospheric scientists and microbiologists. Beyond the university, we also collaborate widely with a range of other universities, NGOs, and industry.
Examples of current projects
- Testing strategies for ecological management to benefit ecosystem services and sustainable production in smallholder oil palm systems in Malaysia and Indonesia. With Dr Ed Turner, University of Cambridge (PI), and others. Feb 2021-Nov 2022.
- Agro-ecological approaches to the fall armyworm management in Nigeria: testing strategies, building capacity, and developing collaborations. May 2021-April 2022. With Dr Mobolade Akinbuluma, University of Ibadan (Co-PI), and others. £19K.
- Biochar Demonstrator Addressing Key Deployment Barriers for Carbon Sequestration. May 2021- October 2025. With Prof. Colin Snape (PI) and others. £4.6 M.
- Biowaste to Biochar via Hydrothermal Carbonisation and Post-Carbonisation. April 2021 – January 2022. With Prof. Colin Snape (PI) and others. £215K.
Other projects are also underway integrating the physical understanding of pollutant behaviour into locally led solutions to target plastic and other water pollution, ensuring the priorities of the community are embedded.
This involves co-developing an innovative and transdisciplinary citizen science toolkit for community driven solutions to address water quality challenges in both the UK and India. We are also exploring the role of citizen science in determining plastic pollution across freshwater ecosystems in addition to monitoring greenhouse gas emissions from small artificial bodies of water to investigate the role of nutrients and carbon in determining emissions.
COOK, S., ABOLFATHI, A., GILBERT, N.I. (2021) Goals and approaches in the use of citizen science for exploring plastic pollution in freshwater ecosystems: A review. Freshwater Science 40: https://doi.org/10.1086/717227
PEACOCK, M., AUDET, J., BASTVIKEN, D., COOK, S., EVANS, C. D., GRINHAM, A., HOLGERSON H, M. A., HÖGBOM, L., PICKARD, A. E., ZIELIŃSKI, P., & FUTTER, M. N. (2021) Small artificial waterbodies are widespread and persistent emitters of methane and carbon dioxide. Global Change Biology, 27: 5109-5123. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15762
COOK, S, CHEN, H.L, ABOLFATHI, S, BENDING, G.D, SCHÄFER, H and PEARSON, J.M, 2020. Quantifying microplastic transport in aquatic flows using fluorometric techniques Water Research 170: 115337.
COOK, S, OLIVER, P, KING, A, FINNEGAN, R, EGMOND, R, SCHAFER, H, PEARSON, JM, ABOLFATHI, S and BENDING, GD, 2020. Bedform characteristics and biofilm community development interact to modify hyporheic exchange Science of the Total Environment 749: 141397.
SAVAGE, JESSICA, COOK, SARAH and YEBOAH, GODWIN, 2021. Tourist Traps: Assessing the Role of Tourism in Sustaining Life Below Water. In: FILHO, WALTER LEAL, ANABELA MARISA, BRANDLI, LUCIANA, LANGE SALVIA, AMANDA and WALL, TONY, eds., Life Below Water. Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Springer.
THORNTON, S.A, COOK, S, ASTIANI, D, HAPSARI, K.A, VARKKEY, H, COLE, L.E, DARGIE, G.C, SJOGERSTEN, AS, ZAWAWI, N.Z and PAGE, S.E, 2019. “Pushing the Limits”: Women in Tropical Peatland Research. Marine & Freshwater Science 71: 170-178.
SARAH H. LUKE, ANDREAS DWI ADVENTO, ANAK AGUNG KETUT ARYAWAN, DWI NUGROHO ADHY, ADHAM ASHTON-BUTT, HOLLY BARCLAY, JASSICA PRAJNA DEWI, JULIA DREWER, ALEX J. DUMBRELL, EDI, AMY E. EYCOTT, MARTINA F. HARIANJA, JULIE K. HINSCH, AMELIA S.C. HOOD, CANDRA KURNIAWAN, DAVID J. KURZ, DARREN J. MANN, KIRSTY J. MATTHEWS NICHOLASS, MOHAMMAD NAIM, MICHAEL D. PASHKEVICH, GRAHAM W. PRESCOTT, SUDHARTO PS, PUJIANTO, DEDI PURNOMO, RIZKY RAJABILLAH PURWOKO, SYAFRISAR PUTRA, T. DZULFIKAR S. RAMBE, SOEPRAPTO, DAKOTA M. SPEAR, SUHARDI, DAVID J. X. TAN, HSIAO-HANG TAO, RIBKA SIONITA TARIGAN, RESTI WAHYUNINGSIH, HELEN S. WATERS, RUDI HARTO WIDODO, WHENDY, CHRISTOPHER R. WOODHAM, JEAN-PIERRE CALIMAN, ELEANOR M. SLADE, JAKE L. SNADDON, WILLIAM A. FOSTER and EDGAR C. TURNER, 2020. Managing Oil Palm Plantations More Sustainably: Large-Scale Experiments Within the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function in Tropical Agriculture (BEFTA) Programme Frontiers in Forests and Global Change 2
SARAH H. LUKE, ELEANOR M. SLADE, CLAUDIA L. GRAY, KOGILA V. ANNAMMALA, JULIA DREWER, JOSEPH WILLIAMSON, AGNES L. AGAMA, MIKLIN ATIONG, SIMON L. MITCHELL, CHARLES S. VAIRAPPAN and MATTHEW J. STRUEBIG, 2019. Riparian buffers in tropical agriculture: Scientific support, effectiveness and directions for policy Journal of Applied Ecology 56: 85-92
- We have advanced the animal signalling field by revealing the similarities between signals used in courtship and contests (Mowles), identified the novel use of a sex pheromones as ‘anti-aphrodisiacs’ in parasitoid wasps using real-time chemical analysis (Mowles, Hardy) and provided a comprehensive resource for contest researchers (Hardy, ‘Animal Contests’ Cambridge University Press).
- West & Tracy (2009) showed for the first time that immune response in adult dungflies is heightened by larval exposure to environmentally realistic concentrations of ivermectin (a commonly used veterinary drug).
- Stekel has improved transcription factor binding site prediction through the use of novel non-independent energy-based multiple sequence alignments (Salama and Stekel 2013).