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Alison Karley

Staff picture: Alison Karley
Ecological Sciences
Ecological Sciences
Research Leader
alison.karley@hutton.ac.uk
+44 (0)1382 568820

The James Hutton Institute
Invergowrie
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK

 

Since 2004, I have been a researcher in Agroecology at the James Hutton Institute. After reading Natural Sciences at Cambridge, I studied for a D Phil in plant membrane nutrient transport at the University of York and IACR-Rothamsted. Subsequently, I have applied my training in plant nutrient physiology to study plant-insect interactions at scales of the organism and system. Postdoctoral research at the University of York on the nutritional physiology of aphids led to my current post.

I am an Associate Editor for Ecological Entomology, an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Dundee and a Guest Lecturer at the University of St Andrews. I am a member of the British Ecological Society, the Society for Experimental Biology, the Association of Applied Biologists and the Royal Entomological Society.

I am a key staff member leading Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPM) research at the Institute. For details of ongoing IPM research areas and projects, please visit the IPM@hutton website.

Current research interests

As pressure mounts to reduce dependence on agri-inputs, accompanied by uncertainty about the effects of climate change on crop production, the importance of diversifying agroecosystems for future sustainability is increasingly being realised. Ali’s research tests alternative cropping practices and pest control strategies to reduce reliance on external inputs and increase resilience to environmental stress. Her recent research has shaped current concepts about, and provided supporting evidence for, the design, management and ecological benefits of diversified agricultural systems and how to select crop types that optimise system functions. As co-ordinator of DIVERSify (EU Horizon 2020: 2017-2021), she led a consortium of 25 EU and international partner organisations to understand and demonstrate the benefits of mixed species cropping and identify crop species and cultivars that perform optimally when intercropped. Ali was one of the founding members of the ‘Crop Diversification Cluster’ of six EU projects (www.cropdiversification.eu/), aiming to increase research impact through sustained uptake of diversification measures by farmers in Europe.

Ali’s research includes identifying traits that allow crops to perform optimally with reduced nutrient and pesticide inputs. This area is developed though co-innovation projects with industry partners to identify desirable crop traits and to apply new imaging tools to phenotype plant responses to biotic and abiotic stress. For crop mixtures, Ali collaborates with crop scientists and breeders to pioneer an ‘ecological approach’ for crop improvement, focusing on trait combinations that optimize the benefits of intercropping. Ali uses participatory research to trial agroecological practices with farmers and other agricultural stakeholders, and she works closely with knowledge transfer organisations to develop open science methods and tools for making results accessible to different end users.

  • Darwin Partnership Award ‘Malawi-AgroBio’ 2021-2022 (£10K) (PI)
  • Scottish Government ‘EndoScot’ 2020-2023 (£66.5K) (Co-I)
  • EU Horizon 2020 ‘FRAMEwork’ 2020-2025 (€1.4M) (Co-I)
  • AHDB ‘Soft Fruit IPM’ 2020-2022 (£444K) (Co-I)
  • GCRF ‘ClimateSmart’ 2020-2022 (£50K) (Co-I)
  • Mains of Loirston ‘NOVELLA’ 2019-2023 (£47K) (Co-I)
  • Esmée Fairburn Foundation ‘SEAMS’ 2019-2023 (£400K) (Co-I)
  • Innovate UK ‘CherryBerry’ 2018-2021 (£734K) (Co-I)
  • EU Horizon 2020 ‘MiRA’ 2017-2021 (€3.65M) (Co-I) 

Bibliography

  • Vasconcelos, M.W.; Grusak, M.A.; Pinto, E.; Gomes, A.; Ferreira, H.; Balázs, B.; Centofanti, T.; Ntatsi, G.; Savvas, D.; Karkanis, A.; Williams, M.; Vandenberg, A.; Toma, L.; Shrestha, S.; Akaichi, F.; Barrios, C.O.; Gruber, S.; James, E.K.; Maluk, M.; Karkey, A.J.; Iannetta, P.P.M. (2020) The biology of legumes and their agronomic, economic, and social impact., In: Hasanuzzaman, M., Araújo, S. & Singh Gill, S. (eds.). The Plant Family Fabaceae: The Biology and Physiological Responses to Environmental Issues. Springer Nature, Singapre, Chapter 1, pp3-25.
  • Vasconcelos, M. W.; Grusak, M. A.; Pinto, E.; Gomes, A.; Ferreira, H.; Balázs, B.; Centofanti, T.; Ntatsi, G.; Savvas, D.; Karkanis, A.; Williams, M.; Vandenberg, A.; Toma, L.; Shrestha, S.; Akaichi, F.; Oré Barrios, C.; Gruber, S.; James, E. K.; Maluk, M.; Karley, A. J.; Iannetta, P. P. M. (2020) The Biology of Legumes and Their Agronomic, Economic, and Social Impact, In: Hasanuzzaman, M., Araújo, S., Gill, S. (eds) The Plant Family Fabaceae: Biology and Physiological Responses to Environmental Stresses, Springer, pp. 3-25
  • Graham, J.; Karley, A.J.; Dolan, A.; Williams, D.; Jennings, N. (2019) Advances and challenges in sustainable raspberry/blackberry cultivation., In: Lang, G. (ed.). Achieving Sustainable Cultivation of Temperate Zone Tree Fruits and Berries. Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, Volume 2: Case Studies, Chapter 13, pp397-422.
  • Williams, D.; Aitkenhead, M.; Karley, A.J.; Graham, J.; Jones, H.G. (2018) Use of imaging technologies for high throughput phenotyping., In: Graham, J. & Brennan, R. (eds.). Raspberry: Breeding, Challenges and Advances. Springer International Publishing, Cham, Chapter 9, pp145-158.
  • Mitchell, C.; Hawes, C.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; Birch, A.N.E.; Begg, G.; Karley, A. (2018) An agroecological approach for weed, pest and disease management in Rubus plantations., In: Graham, J. & Brennan, R. (eds.). Raspberry: Breeding, Challenges and Advances. Springer International Publishing, Cham, Chapter 5, pp63-81.
  • Squire, G.R.; Hawes, C.; Ianetta, P.P.M.; Karley, A.J.; Begg, G. (2016) Ecosystem services from croplands., In: Brooker, R., Hester, A. & Pakeman, R. (eds.). Ecosystem Services. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, pp24-25.
  • Brooker, R.; Karley, A.; Pakeman, R.J.; Newton, A.; Schob, C.; Morcillo, L. (2016) Biodiversity and function., In: Brooker, R., Hester, A. & Pakeman, R.J.(eds.). Ecosystem Services. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, pp6-7.
  • White, P.J.; Karley, A.J. (2010) Potassium., In: Hell, R. & Mendel, R. (eds.). Plant Cell Monographs, 17, Cell Biology of Metals and Nutrients. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp199-224.
  • White, P.J.; Bengough, A.G.; Bingham, I.J.; George, T.S.; Karley, A.J.; Valentine, T.A. (2009) Induced mutations affecting root architecture and mineral acquisition in barley., In: Shu, Q.Y. (ed.). Induced Plant Mutations in the Genomics Era. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome, Italy, pp381-384
  • Karley, A.J.; Marshall, B. (2007) Functional-structural modelling as a potential tool to assess the impact of resource competition on arable communities., In: Vos, J., Marcelis, L.F.M., de Visser, P.H.B., Struik, P.C. & Evers, J.B. (eds.). Functional-Structural Plant Modelling in Crop Production. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp231-241.

  • Lozada, L.M; Karley, A. (2022) The adoption of agroecological principles in Scottish farming and their contribution towards agricultural sustainability and resilience, SEFARI webpage. (Appendices: https://sefari.scot/document/appendices-to-the-sefari-report-on-%E2%80%98the-adoption-of-agroecological-principles-in-scottish)
  • Iannetta, P.P.M.; Begg, G.; Black, K.; Hawes, C.; Karley, A.j.; James, E.K.; Maluk, M.; Newton, A.; Squire, G.R.; Walker, G.; White, P. (2017) Teaming up for good: intercropping and farming-science partnership at the James Hutton Institute., NGO Report for www.LEAF.org, 8 November 2017.
  • Iannetta, P.P.M.; Begg, G.; Black, K.; Hawes, C.; Karley, A.J.; James, E.K.; Maluk, M.; Newton, A.C.; Squire, G.R.; Walker, G.; White, P.J. (2017) Sustainable legume systems for improved primary produce., SAB Annual Report, May 2017.
  • Brooker, R.; Iannetta, P.; Karley, A.; Newton, A.; Pakeman, R. (2017) Crop mixtures in the Strategic Research Programme., Workshop Report, James Hutton Institute, Dundee, 27 July 2017. Report circulated to workshop attendees.
  • Greenland, A.G.; Bentley, S.; Jones, H.; Karley, A.; Lee, D.; Sherlock, D.; Valentine, T.; White, C.; Young. P. (2017) New wheat root ideotypes for improved resource use efficiency and yield performance in reduced input agriculture., AHDB Project Report, Reference No. RD-2008-3575.
  • 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.
  • Squire, G.R.; Begg, G.S.; Hawes, C.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; James, E.K.; Karley, A.J.; Young, M.W. (2011) Scotland's wild arable plants., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2010, pp21-23.
  • Karley, A.J.; Johnson, S.N.; Clark, E.; McMenemy, L.S. (2010) Insect herbivore-microbe interactions: impacts on insect fitness and behaviour., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2009, pp23-24.
  • Johnson, S.N.; Karley, A.J.; Hawes, C.; Mitchell, C. (2008) Aboveground-belowground trophic linkages., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2007, pp40-41.
  • Iannetta, P.P.M.; Begg, G.S.; Wishart, J.; Young, M.W.; Karley, A.J.; Valentine, T.A.; Hawes, C.; Squire, G.R. (2006) Common wild plants as biodiversity indicators., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2006, pp42-43.
  • Karley, A.J.; Marshall, B.; Young, M.W.; Holroyde, S.; Wright, G.M.; Squire, G.R. (2004) Plant archtecture and structural-functioning modelling., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2003/2004, pp157-159.

  • Brooker, R.; Newton, A.; Pakeman, R.; Mitchell, C.; Hewison, R.; Karley, A. (2022) Identifying challenges and developing solutions lessons from participatory approaches to improving and promoting crop mixtures, Crop Protection in Northern Britain, 1-2 March 2022
  • Karley, A.J.; Newton, A. (2022) Intercropping with barley to support winter pea cropping, Presentation at the Crop Production Northern Britain conference held online on 1-2 March 2022
  • Sumner-Kalkun, J.C.; Madden, S.; Highet, F.; Karley, A.; Arnsdorf, Y.M.; Kenyon, D. (2020) Potential impacts of "Candidatus Liberibacter Solancearum" (LSO) and its pysllid vectors in the UK., Proceedings, The Dundee Conference: Crop Production Northern Britain, Apex City Quay Hotel, Dundee, 25-26 February 2020.
  • Karley, A.J.; Mitchell, C.; Hawes, C.; Young, M.W.; Brooker, R.W.; Pakeman, R.J.; Iannetta, P.P.M.I.; Newton, A.C. (2020) Crop species mixtures as part of integrated farm management., Proceedings, The Dundee Conference: Crop Production Northern Britain, Apex City Quay Hotel, Dundee, 25-26 February 2020, pp143-147.
  • Brooker, R.W.; Newton, A.C.; Pakeman, R.J.; Schoeb, C.; Karley, A.J. (2020) Linking ecological theory to sustainable crop production., World Biodiversity Forum, Davos, Switzerland, 23-28 February 2020. PowerPoint presentation.
  • Brooker, R.W.; Karley, A.J.; Mitchell, C.; Newton, A.C.; Pakeman, R.J. (2020) Do we need weeds? The place of non-crop plants in arable systems., Proceedings, The Dundee Conference: Crop Protection in Northern Britain, Apex City Quay Hotel, Dundee, 25-26 February 2020, pp149-154.
  • Karley, A.J.; Banfield-Zanin, J.A.; Bickler, C.; Bliss, K.; Brooker, R.W.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; Midmer, A.; Mitchell, C.; Newton, A.C.; Pakeman, R.J.; Pearce, B.; Tippin, L.; George, D.R. (2019) Knowledge Exchange in ‘Plant Team’ Cropping with on-farm participatory research., European Conference on Crop Diversification, Budapest, Hungary, 18-20 September 2019. Book of Abstracts, pp56-57.
  • Karley, A.J.; Bickler, C.; Brooker, R.W.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; Kiær, L.; Newton, A.C.; Pakeman, R.J.; Scherber, C.; Weih, M.; Pearce, B.; Schöb, C. (2018) Harnessing innovations in Plant Team cropping through science-practitioner information exchange., XV European Society for Agronomy Congress (ESA), Geneva, Switzerland, 27-31 August 2018. PS-6-01, p38 (Presentation)
  • Karley, A.J.; Newton, A.C.; Brooker, R.W.; Pakeman, R.J.; Guy, D.; Mitchell, C.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; Weih, M.; Scherber, C.; Klaer, L. (2018) DIVERSify-ing for sustainability using cereal-legume "plant teams"., Association of Applied Biologists Meeting, Advances in Legume Science, Glasgow, UK, 21-22 March 2018. Aspects of Applied Biology, 138, 57-62.
  • Karley, A.J.; Graham, J.; Mitchell, C.; Williams, C.; Mitchell, D.; Jennings, N.; Dolan, A.; McFarlane, S.; Prashar, A.; Begg, G.; Birch, A.N.E. (2018) IPM tools for pest and disease management in raspberry plantations., Crop Protection in Northern Britain 2018: The Dundee Conference, Environmental Management and Crop Production, Apex City Quay Hotel, Dundee, 27-28 February 2018. Conference Proceedings, pp55-58.
  • Karley, A.J.; Mitchell, C.; Hawes, C.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; Banks, G.; Ford, L.; Young, M.; Quesada, N.; Begg, G. (2017) Aphid infestations and biocontrol in cereal crops in Scotland: effects of winter cropping across three regions., 7th Meeting of the IOBC/WPRS Working Group Landscape Management for Functional Biodiversity in Conjunction with a British Ecological Society Agricultural Ecology Special Interest Group Meeting, Dundee, 29-31 March 2017. Landscape management for functional biodiversity IOBC-WPRS Bulletin, 122, 90-93.
  • Black, K.; Walker, G.; White, P.J.; Karley, A.; Ramsay, L.; Ramsay, G.; James, E.K.; Squire, G.R.; Iannetta, P.P.M. (2016) Mainstream pulses: exploring local solutions to supply chain limitations., 2nd Conference of the International Legume Society, Legumes for a Sustainable World, Tróia, Portugal, 11-14 October 2016. Conference paper and presentation.
  • Iannetta, P.P.M.; Karley, A.; Ramsay, L.; Ramsay, G.; James, E.K.; Squire, G.R. (2016) Sustainable and profitable protein production using faba bean., 14th Congress of the European Society of Agronomy, in association with Association of Applied Biologists, Edinburgh, Scotland, 5-9 September 2016. Conference paper and presentation.
  • Slater, J.M.; Gilbert, L.; Karley, A.J.; Johnson, D. (2016) Managing soil to promote plant defence against pests., The Dundee Conference: Crop Protection in Northern Britain 2016, Dundee, 23-24 February 2016, pp 59-64.
  • Gilbert, L.; Slater, J.; Karley, A.; Johnson, D. (2016) Can underground fungal networks aid crop pest control?, The Dundee Conference: Crop Protection in Northern Britain 2016, Dundee, 23-24 February 2016, pp 49-54.
  • Newton, A.C.; Karley, A.J.; Schob, C.; Brooker, R.W.; Pakeman, R.J.; Iannetta, P.; Guy, D.C.; Black, K. (2016) How diverse can crop mixtures be in an integrated pest management context?, The Dundee Conference: Crop Protection in Northern Britain 2016, Dundee, 23-24 February 2016, pp 73-80.
  • Valentine, T.A.; Upton, C.; Binnie, K.; Dupuy, L.X.; Karley, A.J.; Schmidt, S.; White, P.; Bengough, G. (2015) Tools and techniques for phenotyping plant:soil interactions., Integrated Plant and Algal Phenomics (IPAP) Meeting, Prague, Czech Republic, 27-30 June 2015.
  • Valentine, T.A.; Upton, C.; Bentley, S.; Greenland, A.; Otten, W.; Schmidt, S.; Squire, G.; Dupuy, L.X.; Karley, A.J. (2015) Recent developments in root phenotyping pipelines of cereal crops: transparent soil and rhizotubes., ISSR 2015. 9th International Symposium of the ISRR. "Roots down under - Belowground solutions to global challenges", Canberra, Australia, 6-9 October 2015. Paper O-23.
  • Valentine, T.A.; Bengough, A.G.; Dupuy, L.X.; Hallett, P.; Karley, A.J.; McKenzie, B.M.; Newton, A.; Schmidt, S.; Stobart, R.; Squire, G.; Young, M.; Hawes, C. (2015) Evaluating interactions at the plant:soil interface., UK-India Initiative in Agroecology, Centre for Pollination Studies, Calcutta University, Kolkata, India, 21-23 February 2015.
  • Valentine, T.A.; Karley, A.J.; Binnie, K.; Skiba, A.K.; Squire, G.R.; Bentley, S.; Jones, H.; Greenland, A. (2015) Root phenotyping systems: contrasting controlled environment ex situ and in the field systems., 2015 Monogram Network Meeting, Rothamsted, Harpenden, 29 April - 1 May 2015. PowerPoint presentation.
  • Valentine, T.A.; Karley, A.J.; Squire, G.R.; Bentley, S.; Jones, H.; Greenland, A. (2015) Root phenotyping systems: contrasting controlled environment ex situ and in the field systems., MonoGram, Rothamsted Research, 29 April - 1 May 2015.
  • Valentine, T.A.; Upton, C.; Binnie, K.; Dupuy, L.X.; Karley, A.K.; Schmidt, S.; White, P.; Bengough, A.G. (2015) Tools and techniques for phenotyping plant:soil interactions. , International Plant and Algal Phenomics Meeting, Prague, Czech Republic, 27-30 June 2015.
  • Valentine, T.A.; Upton, C.M.; Bentley, S.; Greenland, A.; Otten, W.; Schmidt, S.; Squire, G.; Dupuy, L.X.; Karley, A.J. (2015) Recent developments in root phenotyping pipelines of cereal crops: Transparent soil and rhizotubes., 9th International Symposium of the International Society of Root Research, Roots Down Under - Belowground Solutions to Global Chanllenges, Canberra, Australia 6-9 October 2015.
  • Valentine, T.A.; Karley, A.J.; Squire, G.R.; Bentley, S.; Lee, D.; Morreale, G.; Greenland, A. (2014) New wheat root ideotypes for reduced input systems: ex situ root characterisation., Wheat Breeding 2014, 'Tools, Targets and Progress', Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, 29-30 January 2014.
  • Iannetta, P.P.M.; Begg, G.; James, E.K.; Smith, B.; Davies, C.; Karley, A.J.; Lopez del Egido, L.; Hawes, C.; Young, M.; Ramsay, G.; Birch, A.N.E.; Valentine, T.A.; Warburton-Brown, C.; Goldring, A.; Hughes, T.; Sprent, J.; Wolfe, M.; Rees, R.M. (2013) Sustainable intensification: a pivotal role for legume supported cropped systems., AAB/BeS-AeG Rethinking Farmed Systems in the UK, St. Catherine’s College University of Oxford, 18-19 December 2013. Co-organiser/Invited speaker. Aspects Applied Biology 121, 73-82.
  • George, T.S.; French, A.; Brown, L.K.; Daniell, T.J.; Karley, A.J.; Ramsay, L.; White, P.J. (2013) Genotypic variation in the ability of plants to tolerate manganese deficiency in cereals grown in calcareous systems: the role of root phytases., XVII International Plant Nutrition Colloquium and Boron Satellite Meeting, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey, 19-22 August 2013.
  • George, T.S.; French, A.; Brown, L.K.; Daniell, T.; Karley, A;. Ramsay, L.; White, P.J. (2013) Genotypic variation in the ability of plants to tolerate manganese deficiency in cereals grown in calcareous systems: the role of root phytases., In: XVII International Plant Nutrition Colloquium and Boron Satellite Meeting, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey, 19-22 August 2013. Proceedings, pp39-40.
  • Valentine, T.A.; Karley, A.J.; Squire, G.R.; Hawes, C.; Hallett, P.D.; Bengough, A.G. (2012) How does variation in root traits affect barley cultivar responses to agriculturally relevant soil physical constraints?., 8th Symposium of the International Society for Root Research, Dundee, 26-29 June 2012 (Invited talk).
  • Mitchell, C.; Graham, J.; Johnson, S.N.; Karley, A.J.; Woodhead, M.; Brennan, R.M.; Cooke, D.E.L.; (2012) How root traits of soft fruit help resist pest and pathogen attack., SSCR/Bulrush Event, Dundee.
  • Squire, G.R.; Begg, G.S.; Hawes, C.; Iannetta, P.; Karley, A.J. (2012) Impacts of GMHT crops on biodiversity and ecosystem services., MEACB Meeting of the European Advisory Committee on Biosafety, Paris, France, 13-14 December 2012.

Scientific Posters / Conferences


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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.