Working at a range of scales – from landscape to plant to microbe

The Ecological Sciences department operate across scales and studies ecology at the resolution of populations, communities, ecosystems and their associated processes and functions. Increasingly we also explore how ecology and people interact, how these interactions impact sustainable land management, and how this then affects wider processes such as sustainable supply chains.

Our work covers a wide range of above- and below-ground biodiversity and systems from microorganisms, fungi, plants and animals to landscape-scale processes covering multiple land uses ranging from lowland arable and upland agriculture to arctic-alpine mountain tops. Our expertise in these different areas covers the spectrum of eco-physiological responses, using a wide range of methods (chemical, molecular, soil physics, remote sensing, and “classic” field ecology approaches) to characterise the diversity and functional state of agricultural, semi-natural and natural systems. We also use mathematical modelling and numerical ecology, and develop innovative techniques to deliver our high quality research.

Underlying all our work is a desire to address the impacts and mitigate the drivers of the nature and climate crisis, increasing the overall long-term sustainability of global ecosystems.

AgroecologyExamines how plants, invertebrates and microbes interact with people and land management practices, forming a dynamic ecosystem to support long term economic off take in many types of land uses and crops. 

Biodiversity and EcosystemsUses molecular, chemical and a range of field methods to understand how the physical environment and biotic interactions structure communities, and to develop approaches for sustainable management of natural resources and the conservation of species and habitats.


Plant-Soil Ecologyfocusses on the mechanistic understanding of the interactions between plants, soils, and biota generating knowledge on the ecosystem functions that underpin plant productivity, sustainable soil health and greenhouse gas fluxes to build resilience against land use and climate change.