We carry out research to understand how climate has varied over time, what has caused this variation, and how it has impacted on plant and animals, shaping evolution. In this way we use the past to understand how climate change will impact the natural world and the agro-ecosystems upon which we rely.
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions are also the ambition of the research we are doing to turn food and industrial waste products into either energy or soil amendments that offer long term carbon sequestration.
Our research spans a wide range of topics in applied ecology, from microbes to insects to elephants. While we also contribute to the theoretical and empirical study of natural ecosystems, in most cases our research connects to anthropogenic issues related to agriculture, pollution and environmental change.
Sustainable Agricultural Systems
Using management science, modelling, statistical and survey-based approaches, research in Sustainable Agricultural Systems at the University of Nottingham aims first to improve our knowledge of how agricultural systems work; and second to help us understand and predict the impact of change on these systems – for example, change in farming practices or agricultural policy.
We study how climate change impacts ecosystems today ranging from melting permafrost in the Arctic, UK agricultural systems, to warming forests in the tropics. As part of this work we are demonstrating the importance for natural ecosystems as they offer important climate mitigation tools and improved the resilience to climate change.
We also carry out research on how to develop climate smart food by reducing greenhouse gas emissions during production and identifying land management systems that can sequester carbon.
We study how the behaviour of insects and other invertebrates influences their beneficial and detrimental actions within complex trophic webs in agro-ecosystems and also how their interactions are affected by planned and unintentional exposure to synthetic pesticides.
We study how antimicrobial resistance is affected by ecological interactions in soil, water and farm residues. We use techniques drawn from many disciplines, including genetics, gene regulation, cellular processes, immunity, metabolomics, physiology, behaviour, evolution, ecology, statistics and theoretical modelling.
Sustainable agricultural systems
Sustainable soil management and remediation; rhizosphere biophysics; hydropedological applications of X-ray micro
Computed tomography, geochemistry and morphological assessment of permeable reactive barrier longevity
Trace element dynamics in soil-plant systems; plant uptake of heavy metals and radionuclides from contaminated soils; use of stable metal and metalloid isotope tracers to parameterise geochemical models;
Development of models to support environmental decision making; methods for the development of environmental models; ecological and physiological effects of veterinary drugs in the environment; biochar in sustainable agriculture.
Read more about our research themes