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Cathy Hawes

Staff picture: Cathy Hawes
Ecological Sciences
Ecological Sciences
Research Scientist
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK


Current research interests

My current research focuses on developing functional approaches for assessing the plant and invertebrate biodiversity of arable ecosystems. Arable weeds, including many of the rare species, are increasingly seen as an important source of biological diversity, and are crucial to the functioning of arable systems. The severe depletion of arable biodiversity through agricultural intensification has important implications for system function. My research includes the development and application of monitoring protocols for characterising arable seedbank, plant and invertebrate communities. These are used to assess the impact of changes in arable management and cropping patterns on functional diversity which is essential for sustainable crop production.

My other main role at the Institute is co-ordinator for the Centre for Sustainable Cropping: a long-term platform for arable sustainability research. The overall goals are to test whether potential solutions for sustainable agriculture actually result in improved arable biodiversity, resilience, crop productivity and yield stability at a field-scale and over at least four rotation cycles.  To do this, we are designing a sustainable cropping system that optimises inputs, yield, biodiversity and ecosystem processes. This ‘sustainable’ system is tested by comparison with current commercial practice. The platform will provide a resource for inter-disciplinary collaboration, and a demonstration site for knowledge transfer and education activities.

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.

Past research

  • April 2011 - present: The James Hutton Institute, Dundee. Senior Research Scientist Ecological Sciences group.
  • 2005 - April 2011: Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee. Senior Research Scientist Environment-Plant Interactions Programme.
  • 2002-2005: Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee. Associate Programme Leader, Environmental Management and Biotechnology Programme.
  • 1999-2002: Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee. Ecologist and Site Coordinator for the Farm-Scale Evaluations of GMHT crops.
  • 1996-1999: PhD Factors Influencing Communities of Ground Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in Plantation Forests. Forestry Commission and University of Sussex
  • 1992-1995: BSc (Hons) Ecology and Conservation, University of Sussex

Research Career
I am an ecologist in the Ecological Sciences Programme at The James Hutton Institute, studying arable management impacts on plant and invertebrate biodiversity and agro-ecosystem function. Apart from ecological research, my other main role is Co-ordinator for JHI's Centre for Sustainable Cropping at Balruddery Farm. Prior to this, I was the Associate Programme Leader for SCRI's Environmental Management and Biotechnology program (2002-2005) and Co-ordinator on the Defra funded Farm-Scale Evaluations of Genetically Modified Herbicide Tolerant Crops (2000-2003). Before that, I conducted a PhD between Forest Research and the University of Sussex on the community ecology of predatory insects which followed from the Forestry Commission’s Biodiversity Research Programme.


  • 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.
  • Parish, D.M.B.; Hawes, C.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; Squire, G.R. (2009) The contribution of arable weeds to biodiversity., In: Kingely, R. (ed.). Weeds: Management, Economic Impacts and Biology. Nova Publishing, New York, USA, pp61-76.
  • Hawes, C.; Boevink, P.; Moore, I. (2000) GFP in plants., In: Fluorescence Microscopy of Proteins: A Practical Approach (ed. V. Allen). Irl Press, pp163-177

Printed from /staff/cathy-hawes on 09/06/23 08:33:53 AM

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.