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Dr Helaina Black appointed Ecological Sciences group leader

Dr Black’s research in soil ecology and soil science spans over 28 years
"Helaina is highly respected in her own field and has influential national and international networks, very relevant experience in leading science and a broad range of understanding of the breadth of ecological sciences we do

Senior soil ecologist Dr Helaina Black has been appointed to the leadership of the Ecological Sciences group at the James Hutton Institute, following the retirement of Dr Pete Goddard.

The Ecological Sciences Group of the James Hutton Institute carries out research around the world on the ecology of organisms and ecosystems. The group is well known for its multidisciplinary approach with ecologists working closely with social scientists, economists, mathematical modellers and others. With long term research sites in a range of ecosystems, the group is studying the consequences of direct and indirect drivers of change on our environment. Understanding the ecological implications of these changes is helping is to devise management options to halt biodiversity losses and restore valuable ecosystem goods and services.

Dr Black’s research in soil ecology and soil science spans over 28 years with extensive practical experience in agricultural and semi-natural ecosystems of UK and Africa. Her research projects typically involve multi- to trans-disciplinary approaches and engage stakeholders from farmers, regulators, policy-makers to governments at local to international levels. She is a member of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soil, supported by the UN FAO.

Following the announcement of her appointment, Dr Black said: “The ecology of organisms, small and large, and the ecosystems in which they live are essential sciences for today’s interlinked global challenges around food, water, energy, biodiversity conservation and climate.

“To have any hope of achieving sustainable use and management of our natural capital assets, we must have sound knowledge of the role and behaviour of organisms, the state of our ecosystems and how both are responding to different drivers of change from management, climate to policy.

“This research is at the heart of the Ecological Sciences group and I am extremely honoured to be taking up this position and look forward to carrying on the long standing reputation of the Group for excellent and ground-breaking science.”

Professor Colin Campbell, Director of Science Excellence at the James Hutton Institute, commented: “I am delighted to have Helaina take this role. She is highly respected in her own field and has influential national and international networks, very relevant experience in leading science and a broad range of understanding of the breadth of ecological sciences we do and how it matters to people.”

Notes to editors: 

Since 2011, Dr Helaina Black has won more than £2.5m in research funding from Research Council UK, Natural England, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, the European Union and the Scottish government. Her current research centres on improving the measurement, monitoring, management and prediction of the contribution of soils to social, economic and environmental benefits. This embraces the significance of soil biodiversity in ecosystems; the multi-functionality of soils; opportunities to improve soil functions and implications of drivers of change on soils and soil biodiversity.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

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Printed from /news/dr-helaina-black-appointed-ecological-sciences-group-leader on 17/10/19 09:23:39 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.