I am an ecosystem ecologist interested in plant-soil interactions. I mainly work on grassland soils, with some peatlands thrown in as well. My overarching aim is to improve our understanding of the way plants build their specific soil community, in order to restore grassland form and function in degraded lands. My work has taken me across the world, and into many interesting socio-ecological systems, including that of Inner Mongolia and Western Kenya. Each presents its own unique challenges, opportunities and questions.
At Edge Hill my research takes three related paths:
1. How do plant functional traits inform soil food web assembly, dynamics and consequent functions? This takes place on a well-established experiment on calcareous grassland on Salisbury Plain.
2. How do plant-soil feedbacks operate in the real world? What effect do do drivers such as climate change have on them?
3. Can we improve bioengineering of the soil food web for agricultural and grassland restoration purposes? Could vermicompost hold the key? Could bioengineering in a non-invasive way shift plant community dynamics to restore restoration outcomes?