Microbial and Plant Ecology
We are interested in the ways that plants and fungi (including lichens) respond to their chemical and biotic environments. Work on yeasts is examining cell-to-cell responses to metals and other stresses in both laboratory cultures and in polluted natural environments. Nitrogen enrichment is now thought to be a major driver of change in biodiversity and ecosystem function.
Research on lichens and vascular plants is focusing on ways in which lichens respond to, and can provide indicators of, nitrogen deposition in low productivity ecosystems such as polar regions, deserts and temperate heathlands. The potential effects of nitrogen enrichment on tree-line in northern Russia and on Nottinghamshire heathlands, in combination with effects of fragmentation, are also being investigated. Studies of forest ecology focus on the spatial organization of plant communities and biotic interactions that determine plant distribution.