I joined the Biology Department in 2012. In 2006 I completed my PhD in Ecology from University College Cork, Ireland, which investigated the potential of plantation forests to support a diverse spider fauna. Following this I spent time as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Ireland and as a Marie Curie International Fellow at the University of Alberta in Canada researching the impacts of forest management on biodiversity in temperate and boreal ecosystems. This work included research in both managed and natural forests as well as a range of grassland and peatland habitats and has involved extensive collaboration with stakeholders to ensure a sound evidence base for policy. In 2016 I became a Reader in Ecology.
In 2015 I became a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. I am deputy coordinator of the International Union of Forest Research Organisations Sub-division on Forest Biodiversity and in 2015 I established the Royal Entomological Society special interest group on Forest Insects and their Allies. I organise annual meetings, bringing together researchers and stakeholders with common interests from across the UK and beyond.
My Research explores the juxtaposition between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and resilience in response to environmental change with focus on the sustainable management of ecosystems in forestry and agriculture. I am a specialist in arthropod ecology and have worked extensively with botanists and ornithologists, adopting a multi-taxon approach to biodiversity research.
Globally, we are at a tipping point; in the era of the anthropocene, human-induced modifications to natural landscapes have resulted in significant biodiversity loss. Likely driving mechanisms are habitat loss, fragmentation, climate change, pollution and invasive species. However, the effect of this biodiversity loss on ecosystem function is only beginning to be explored and the key question of how can we ensure ecosystem resilience in to the future? remains unanswered. My research focuses on exploring the mechanistic link between management in agricultural and forest systems, biodiversity and ecosystem function, with the aim of adopting management approaches that promote ecosystem resilience. I undertake research in a range of taxonomic approaches across temporal and spatial scales to address these questions in field and experimental settings.
I teach on modules across all academic levels from first year undergraduate to masters. I also deliver research training to research students on MRes and PhD degrees. Topics include ecology, conservation, sustainable ecosystem management, statistics and research practice. I am programme leader for the MSc Conservation Management and Coordinator of the MRes Science programme across the instution.
In 2014 I completed a PGCE in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education with Distinction and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.