My research interests are in the effects of drivers of change on native plant species, vegetation communities and ecosystem process in the British uplands and the Arctic. I am involved in projects investigating ecological impacts of climate change, herbivory, land management practices and atmospheric nitrogen deposition, often in interaction with each other. The processes studied range from the ecophysiology of individual species, through vegetation processes and inter-trophic interactions to ecosystem nutrient and carbon dynamics, and a common theme is the functional importance, and sensitivity, of bryophytes within the ecosystem. Much of my research in Scotland in conservation based, undertaken in collaboration with Scottish Natural Heritage, and seeks to provide a scientific basis for conservation policy and management.
Recovery of high Arctic tundra vegetation and carbon stocks from nitrogen deposition.
Role of bryophytes in the phosphorus cycle of Arctic and mountain heath.
Interactions between moss and mycorrhizas.
Effects of herbivory on upland grassland carbon dynamics.
Effects of moorland degradation and restoration on carbon sequestration.
Long term vegetation change in the Scottish Highlands.
Arctic habitat utilisation by breeding geese.
Research Funding and Grants
Recovery of arctic tundra from nitrogen deposition. NERC, 2011.
Cairngorms Rare Plant Project. SNH, Esmee Fairburn Foundation & Cairngorms National Park Authority. 2010-2013.
The extent and bryophyte diversity of Atlantic bryophyte-rich dwarf-shrub heaths in the uplands. SNH, 2009-2013.
Managing upland heaths for carbon sequestration. SNH, £48,000, 2008-2011.
Fifty years of vegetation change in the Scottish Highlands. SNH, 2007-2010 (with Dr A Hester, Prof J Birks)
Potential for recovery of degraded montane heath. SNH, 2006-2009 (with Dr A Britton, Dr I Pearce, Dr R van der Wal)
Do herbivores decrease tundra carbon sink strength by reducing the moss layer? NERC, 2005 (with Dr R van der Wal & Dr M Sommerkorn)
FRagility of Arctic Goose-dominated ecosystems: Impacts of Land management in Europe (FRAGILE). CEC, 2003-2006
Experimental investigation of management requirements for small cow wheat. SNH, 2002-2005 (with Dr W. Seel)
Biological exceedence of the critical load of nutrient nitrogen in the UK. DEFRA & SNH, 2001
Recovery of arctic heath from nitrogen deposition. BES, 2001
Recovery of arctic heath from nitrogen deposition. CEC TMR, 2000.
Terrestrial effects of Acid Pollutants: Impacts of N deposition on critical loads for deep peats. NERC, 1998-2001 (with Prof M Cresser)
Effects of acidic deposition on arctic bryophytes. NERC, 1998.
Effects of acidic deposition on arctic bryophytes. CEC TMR, 1998.
History, current status and genetic distinctiveness of dwarf juniper heath. SNH, 1997-2000.
N use by Salix and Dryas in the high Arctic: impact of atmospheric N deposition. NERC, 1994-1997 (with Prof I Alexander).
Interactions between organisms at community boundaries in the uplands in conditions of environmental change; importance of root competition, including mycorrhizal effects. NERC TIGER, 1993-1998, (with Prof I Alexander & Dr C Mullins).