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Ruth Mitchell

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Recent publications

  • Mitchell, R.; Hewison, R.; Britton, A.; Pakeman, R.J.; Hester, A., (2016) Long-term changes in Scottish grassland plant communities., In: Pakeman, R.J. (ed.). Grassland Biodiversity. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, pp4-5.
  • Mitchell, R.J.; Beesley, L.; Donald, C.; Green, G.; Hewison, R.L.; Owen, I.J.; Newman, G.; Sturgeon, F.; White, D.; Williams, E.; Black, H.I.J., (2016) Applying soil indicators at biomonitoring sites., Scottish Environment Protection Agency Commissioned Report No. TT1508, 51pp.
  • Mitchell, R.J.; Pakeman, R.J.; Broome, A.; Beaton, J.K.; Bellamy, P.E.; Brooker, R.W.; Ellis, C.J.; Hester, A.J.; Hodgetts, N.G.; Iason, G.R.; Littlewood, N.A.; Pozsgai, G.; Ramsay, S.; Riach, D.; Stockan, J.A.; Taylor, A.F.S.; Woodward, S., (2016) How to replicate the functions and biodiversity of a threatened tree species? the case of Fraxinus excelsior in Britain., Ecosystems, 19, 573-586.
  • Nilsson, C.; Aradottir, A.; Hagen, D.; Halldorsson, G.; Hoegh, K.; Mitchell, R.J.; Raulund-Rasmussen, K.; Svavarsdottir, K.; Tolvanen, A.; Wilson, S.D., (2016) Evaluating the process of ecological restoration., Restoration Ecology, 21, Article No. 41.
  • Pakeman, R.J.; Alexander, J.; Brooker, R.; Cummins, R.; Fielding, D.; Gore, S.; Hewison, R.; Mitchell, R.; Moore, E.; Erford, K.; Pemberton, C.; Trinder, C.; Lewis, R., (2016) Long-term impacts of nitrogen deposition on coastal plant communities., Environmental Pollution, 221, 337-347.
  • Calladine, J.; Gilbert, L.; Humphreys, E.M.; Fuller, R.J.; Robinson, R.A.; Littlewood, N.A.; Mitchell, R.J.; Pakeman, R.J.; Furness, R.W., (2015) Predation studies on breeding waders of the Uist machair: Final report covering fieldwork undertaken in 2012-2014., Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 811.
  • Humphreys, E.M.; Gilbert, L.; Furness, R.W.; Littlewood, N.; Mitchell, R.J.; Pakeman, R.; Fuller, R.J.; Calladine, J., (2015) Scoping report to Uist Wader Research: Suggested research programme 2012-2014., Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 497.
  • Jones, L.; Hall, J.; Strachan, I.; Field, C.; Rowe, E.; Stevens, C.J.; Capor, S.J.M.; Mitchell, R.; Britton, A.; Smith, R.; Bealey, B.; Masante, D.; Hewison, R.; Hicks, K., (2015) Developing a decision framework to attribute atmospheric nitrogen deposition as a threat to or cause of unfavourable habitat condition on protected sites 'AND-UP'. Final Report., JNCC Contract Report, February 2015
  • Pakeman, R.J.; Alexander, J.; Beaton, J.; Brooker, R.; Cummins, R.; Eastwood, A.; Fielding, D.; Fisher, J.; Gore, S.; Hewison, R.; Hooper, R.; Lennon, J.; Mitchell, R.; Moore, E.; Nolan, A.; Orford, K.; Pemberton, C.; Riach, D.; Sim, D.; Stockan, J.; Trinder, C.; Lewis, R., (2015) Species composition of coastal dune vegetation in Scotland has proved resistant to climate change over a third of a century., Global Change Biology, 21, 3738-3747.
  • Britton, A.J.; Mitchell, R.J.; Potts, J.M.; Genney, D.R., (2014) Developing monitoring protocols for cost-effective surveillance of lichens., The Lichenologist, 46, 471-482.
  • Lisboa, F.J.G.; Peres-Neto, P.R.; Chaer, G.M.; Jesus, E.C.; Mitchell, R.J.; Chapman, S.J.; Berbara, R.L.L., (2014) Much beyond Mantel: Bringing Procrustes association metric to the plant and soil ecologist's toolbox., PLoS ONE, 9(6), e101238.
  • Mitchell, R.J.; Beaton, J.K.; Bellamy, P.E.; Broome, A.; Chetcuti, J.; Eaton, S.; Ellis, C.J.; Gimona, A.; Harmer, R.; Hester, A.J.; Hewison, R.L.; Hodgetts, N.G.; Iason, G.R.; Kerr, G.; Littlewood, N.A.; Newey, S.; Potts, J.M.; Pozsgai, G.; Ray, D.A.; Stockan, J.A.; Taylor, A.F.S.; Woodward, S., (2014) Ash dieback in the UK: a review of the ecological and conservation implications and potential management options., Biological Conservation, 175, 95-109.
  • Mitchell, R.J.; Broome, A.; Harmer, R.; Beaton, J.K.; Bellamy, P.E.; Brooker, R.W.; Duncan, R.; Ellis, C.J.; Hester, A.J.; Hodgetts, N.G.; Iason, G.R.; Littlewood, N.A.; Mackinnon, M.; Pakeman, R.J.; Pozsgai, G.; Ramsey S.; Riach, D.; Stockan, J. A.; Taylor, A.F.S.; Woodward, S., (2014) Assessing and addressing the impacts of ash dieback on UK woodlands and trees of conservation importance (Phase 2)., Natural England Report.
  • Mitchell, R.J.; Lilly, A.; Bell, J.S.; Cameron, C.; Donald, C.; Fielding, D.; Green, G.; Hewison, R.H.; McIntyre, S.; Newman, G.: Nolan, A.; Owen, J.; Smith, D.; Sturgeon, F.; Thompson, C.; Towers, W.; Williams E., (2014) Ecosystem effects of long-term herbivore exclusion., SNH Contract Report.
  • Britton, A.J.; Mitchell, R.J.; Potts, J.M.; Genney, D.R., (2013) Development of a surveillance scheme for priority lichens in Scotland., Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.567, 177pp.
  • Brooker, R.; Aalders, I.H.; Ballingall, K.; Begg, G.; Birch, A.N.E.; Elliott, G.; Ellis, C.; Freitag, T.; Hawes, C.; Holland, J.; Holmes, B.; Hough, R.L.; Karley, A.; McCracken, D.; Mitchell, R.; Stockan, J.; Zadoks, R.; Albon, S.A.; Hester, A.J.; Pakeman, R.J., (2013) Biotic and biophysical underpinning of ecosystem services in the Scottish context: a review., Published online as an outputs from WP 1.1 of the Ecosystem Services Theme of the SRP.
  • Bryce, R.; van der Wal, R.; Mitchell, R.; Lambin, X., (2013) Metapopulation dynamics of a burrowing herbivore drive spatio-temporal dynamics of riparian plant communities, Ecosystems, 16, 1165-1177.
  • Calladine, J.; Furness, B.; Gilbert, L.; Humphreys, L.; Fuller, R.; Littlewood, N.; Mitchell, R.J.; Pakeman, R.J., (2013) Predation studies on breeding waders of the Uists machair: second interim report describing fieldwork undertaken in 2012-2013., Interim Report to Scottish Natural Heritage, November 2013.
  • Critchley, C.N.R.; Mitchell, R.J.; Rose, R.J.; Griffiths, J.B.; Jackson, E.; Scott, H.; Davies, O.D., (2013) Re-establishment of Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull in an eight-year grazing experiment on upland acid grassland., Journal of Nature Conservation, 21, 22-30.
  • Mitchell, R.J.; Bailey, S.; Beaton, J.K.; Bellamy, P.E.; Brooker, R.W.; Broome, A.; Chetcuti, J.; Eaton, S.; Ellis, C.J.; Farren, J.; Gimona, A.; Goldberg, E.; Hall, J.; Harmer, R.; Hester, A.J.; Hewison, R.L.; Hodgetts, N.G.; Hooper, R.J.; Howe, L.; Iason, G.R.; Kerr, G.; Littlewood, N.A.; Morgan, V.; Newey, S.; Potts, J.M.; Pozsgai, G.; Ray, D.; Sim, D.A.; Stockan, J.A.; Taylor, A.F.S.; Woodward, S., (2013) Ash dieback: impacts on other species and understanding the ecology of ash., Report to JNCC.
Staff picture: Ruth Mitchell
Ecological Sciences
+44 (0)844 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK

Ruth Mitchell is a plant/soil research scientist within the Ecology Sciences Group at the Institute with 15 years experience of working on a wide range of applied ecological research projects. Her research focuses on the impact of pressures on above and below ground biodiversity and habitat restoration.

Current research interests 

Ruth's research focuses on the impact of abiotic and anthropogenic factors on above and below-ground biodiversity and habitat restoration. Most recently Ruth has been working on the potential ecological impacts of the tree disease ash dieback (also known as Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus or Chalara fraxinea).  She lead a team of reachers who identified those species that are most closely associated with ash and therefore are most at risk from ash dieback.  In addition the team identified the unique ecological functioning of ash trees compared to other native trees in the UK and produced a range of tools to aid woodland managers in conserving ash associated biodiversity.  The full report can be found here

 Ruth has a long standing interested in successional processes and her work on plant-soil interactions studies how changes in land-use (principally tree colonisation on moorland) affects the vegetation, soil chemistry, soil fauna and ecosystem functioning. She co-ordinates a large, long-term experiment studying the impact of tree colonisation on moorland biodiversity and ecosystem processes (MOORCO). Ruth's research on the impact of pressures on biodiversity has focussed on grazing, pollution and climate change. She has worked on over-grazing issues in both moorlands and Atlantic oakwoods and assessed the impact of nitrogen deposition on heather-dominated moorland and on epiphytic lichens and bryophytes in Atlantic oakwoods. Ruth has carried out research on the restoration of a range of habitats resulting in techniques for re-establishment of heathland (both soils and vegetation) following scrub invasion, the establishment of heather on over-grazed moorlands, the restoration of Atlantic Oakwoods and the recovery of epiphytic bryophytes following a reduction in nitrogen pollution.

Ruth is on the council of the British Ecological Society


Ruth's most recent publications


Publications before 2010

  • The effect of restoration techniques on non-target species: case studies in moorland systems., Mitchell,  R.J.; Rose, R.J.; Palmer, S.C.F., (2009) Applied Vegetation Science, 12, 81-91.
  • A comparison of the resilience of four habitats to fire and the implications of changes in community composition for conservation: a case study from the Serra de Monchique, Portugal. Mitchell R.J., Simonson, W. Flegg, L.A. Santos, P., Hall J. (2009) Plant Ecology and Diversity, 2, 45-56. DOI: 10.1080/17550870902752421
  • The importance of disturbance, grazing and seeding in restoration: the establishment of Calluna vulgaris on grass-dominated moorlands. Mitchell, R.J. Rose, R.J. & Palmer S.C.F. (2008) Biological Conservation, 141, 2100-2111
  • The influence of nitrogen in stemflow and precipitation on epiphytic bryophytes, Isothecium myosuroides (Brid.), Dicranum scoparium (Hewd.) and Thuidium tamariscinum (Hewd.) of Atlantic oakwoods.Leith, I.D., Mitchell, R.J., Truscott, A.-M., Cape, J.N., van Dijk, N., Smith R.I, Fowler, D. Sutton, M.A. (2008)  Environmental Pollution, 155, 237-246
  • Scale-specific correlations between habitat heterogeneity and soil fauna diversity along a landscape structure gradient. Vanbergen A.J., Watt A.D., Mitchell R.J.,Truscott A-M, Palmer S.C.F., Ivits E. Eggleton P.,Jones T.H.,Sousa J.P, (2007) Oecologia, 153, 713–725
  • The cascading effects of birch on heather moorland: a test for the top-down control of an ecosystem engineer. Mitchell, R.J.; Campbell, C.D.; Chapman, S.J.; Osler, G.H.R.; Vanbergen, A.J.; Ross, L.C.; Cameron, C.M.; Cole, L., (2007) Journal of Ecology, 95, 540-554.
  • Slow recovery of heather Calluna vulgaris in Scottish moorland after easing of heavy grazing pressure from red deer Cervus elaphus. Welch D., Scott D., Mitchell, R. & Elston, D. (2006) Botanical Journal of Scotland, 58, 1-17.
  • Regeneration in Atlantic oakwoods: has deer management had a beneficial effect? Palmer, S.C.F., Truscott, A.M., Mitchell, R.J., Welch, D. (2006) Botanical Journal of Scotland. 57, 167-178
  • Species richness of lichen functional groups in relation to land use intensity. Stofer,S., Bergamini,A., Aragon, G., Carvalho,P., Coppins, B.J., Davey,S., Dietrich,M., Farkas,E., Kärkkäinen,K., Keller,C., Lökös, L., Lommi, S., Máguas, C., Mitchell, R., Pinho, P., Rico,V.J., Truscott, A.M., Wolseley, P.A., Watt, A. & Scheidegger,C. (2006) Lichenologist, 38, 331-353.
  • Variation of lichen communities with landuse in Aberdeenshire, UK. Wolseley, P.A., Stofer, S., Mitchell, R., Truscott, A.M., Vanbergen, A., Chimonides, J. & Scheidegger, C. (2006) Lichenologist, 38,307-322.
  • To graze or not to graze? Sheep, voles, forestry and nature conservation in the British uplands. Evans, D.M., Redpath, S.A., Elston, D.A., Evans, S.A., Mitchell, R.J., & Dennis, P. (2006) Journal of Applied Ecology, 43, 499-505
  • A study of the epiphytic communities of Atlantic oak woods along an atmospheric nitrogen deposition gradient. Mitchell R.J., Truscott A-M, Leith I.D. , Cape J.N., Van Dijk N., Tang Y.S., Fowler, D. & Sutton M.A. (2005) Journal of Ecology, 93, 482-492
  • Manipulation of nutrients and grazing levels on heather moorland: Changes in Calluna dominance and consequences for community composition. Hartley S.E. & Mitchell R.J. (2005) Journal of Ecology, 93, 990-1004
  • Performance of macrolichens and lichen genera as indicators of lichen species richness and composition. Bergamini, A., Scheidegger, C., Stofer, S., Carvalho, P., Davey, S., Dietrich, M., Dubs, F., Farkas, E., Groner, U., Kärkkäinen, K., Keller, C., Lökös, L., Lommi, S., Máguas, C. Mitchell, R.J., Pinho, P., Rico, V. J., Rubio G.A,, Truscott, A.M., Wolseley, P. A. and Watt, A., (2005). Conservation Biology, 19, 1051-1062.
  • Growth and tissue nitrogen of epiphytic Atlantic bryophytes:effects of increased and decreased atmospheric N deposition. Mitchell, R.J., Sutton, M.A., Truscott, A-M, Leith, I.D., Cape, J.N., Pitcairn, C.E.R. & van Dijk, N. (2004) Functional Ecology, 18, 322-329
  • Regeneration failure in Atlantic oakwoods: the roles of ungulate grazing and invertebrates. Palmer, S.C.F., Mitchell R.J., Truscott AM & Welch D. (2004) Forest Ecology and Management, 192, 251-265
  • The expansion of native oakwoods into conifer cleared areas through planting.Truscott AM, Mitchell R.J., Palmer, S.C.F. & Welch D. (2004) Forest Ecology and Management, 193, 335-343
    Indirect effects of grazing and nutrient addition on the hemipteran community of heather moorland. Hartley, S.E., Gardner, S.M., Mitchell, R.J. (2003) Journal of Applied Ecology, 40, 793-803.
  • Ecosystem stability and resilience: a review of their relevance for the conservation management of lowland heaths. Mitchell, R.J., Auld, M.H.D., Le Duc, M.G. & Marrs, R.H. (2000) Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 3/2, 142-160.
  • Estimates of nutrient removal during heathland restoration on successional sites in Dorset, Southern England. Mitchell, R.J, Marrs, R.H., Le Duc, M.G. & Auld, M.H.D. (2000) Biological Conservation, 95, 233-246
    Long-term experiments in ecological restoration. Marrs, R.H, Le Duc M.G., Johnson, S.W & Mitchell, R.J. (2000) Proceedings IAVS Symposium, pp. 39-42.
  • The ecology of bracken: its role in succession and implications for control. Marrs, R.H, Le Duc, M.G., Mitchell, R.J., Goddard. D., Paterson, S. & Pakeman R.J. (2000) Annals of Botany, 85, 3-15
  • A study of the restoration of heathland on successional sites in Dorset, Southern England; changes in vegetation and soil chemical properties. Mitchell, R.J, Marrs, R.H., Le Duc, M.G. & Auld, M.H.D. (1999) Journal of Applied Ecology, 36, 770-783
  • A comparative study of the seedbanks of heathland and successional habitats in Dorset, Southern England. Mitchell, R.J, Marrs, R.H. & Auld, M.H.D. (1998) Journal of Ecology, 86, 588-596.
  • A study of succession on lowland heaths in Dorset, southern England: changes in vegetation and soil chemical properties. Mitchell, R.J, Marrs, R.H., Le Duc, M.G. & Auld, M.H.D. (1997) Journal of Applied Ecology, 34, 1426-1444.

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