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Rob Brooker

Staff picture: Rob Brooker
Ecological Sciences
Ecological Sciences
Head of Department
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Rob is a plant ecologist with over 25 years’ experience of ecological research. He has extensive experience of ecology in a wide range of environments, including arctic, montane, alpine, semi-arid and arable ecosystems, and currently undertakes research at sites across Scotland. Rob is Head of Ecological Sciences at James Hutton Institute.

Current research interests

A central focus of Rob’s research has been facilitative (i.e. beneficial) plant-plant interactions, and his work has contributed to current understanding that beneficial plant-plant interactions occur, and are often important, in virtually all ecosystems containing vascular plants. Underlying all Rob’s work is a strong focus on fundamental ecological theory. Building on initial studies in arctic and alpine environments, he has continued to pursue these fundamental questions through studies based in Scottish ecosystems including Scottish agricultural landscapes. This work has given him a broad understanding of the problems of food security, the challenges of biodiversity conservation in Scotland, and the potential to further link fundamental ecological knowledge to issues of sustainable food production and biodiversity conservation. Most recently Rob has coordinated the SEAMS (Sustainability in Education and Agriculture through Mixtures) project, a four-year project funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation which aimed to develop, promote and implement crop species mixtures as a sustainable crop production system for Scotland and as a resource for knowledge exchange on food production, agricultural ecology, and environmental sustainability to a wider audience including school groups.

Rob has also been heavily involved in linking ecological research to policy making. He has led substantial policy-driven research projects, including reviews of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity for both the Scottish Government and Defra. This work has benefited from his genuine interest in communicating the outcome of biodiversity research to relevant stakeholders, including in the policy arena. He is now a member of the Advisory Group to the Scottish Biodiversity Programme, and Honorary Secretary for the British Ecological Society.


Printed from /staff/rob-brooker on 04/06/23 09:52:05 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.