PhD in Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology (Wageningen University, the Netherlands; 2007)
Ecological interest: to understand the role of plant community (functional) assembly on ecosystem processes –such as carbon and nutrient cycling. I am fascinated by plant controls on ecosystem processes, and how these are mediated through multitrophic interactions.
If I would not be an ecologist, I would be: walking and running the Alps
When not at work, I love: the outdoors. I am passionate about trail-running and camping, and love to read thrillers.
Went to school/university in: Kerkrade & Landgraaf (NL), Utrecht (NL), Leeds (UK) and Lausanne (CH).
Magda Steele IfLS PhD student
Co-supervisors: Prof Paul Hughes (UoS, Geography) and Prof Pete Langdon (UoS, Geography)
Ecological interest: Plant-microbe interactions and their role in maintaining the carbon balance of peatland ecosystems.
If I would not be an ecologist, I would be: a beekeeper
When not at work, I love: Reading science fiction
Went to University in: University of East Anglia, Norwich (UK)
Najam e Sahar SPITFIRE PhD student
Co-supervisors: Dr Marc Dumont (UoS, Biological Sciences / Co-financed by Länsstyrelsen i Jönköpings län, Sweden)
Ecological interest: My research interest focuses on exploring the functional connection between plant species and below ground microbiome at a molecular level in order to understand the functional identity of peatland microbial communities and how these specific plant-microbe relationships can restore/rehabilitate the stability of the peat carbon stock.
If I would not be an ecologist, I would be: a Photographer.
When not at work, I love: cooking and baking.
Went to university in: Quaid E Azam University, Islamabad (Pakistan)
Harry Shepherd SPITFIRE PhD student
Co-supervisors: Dr Jane Catford (Kings College London) and Dr Rob Griffith (CEH Wallingford)
Ecological interest: I am keen to understand and explore the interactions between plants and soil, the feedback mechanisms that work between them and how we can use these to enhance restoration projects, conserving biodiversity and maintaining ecosystem services.
If I would not be an ecologist, I would be: Travelling the world as a musician
When not at work, I love: Watching football or a good film.
Went to University in: Durham University (UK)
Dan Turner UoS PhD student
Main-supervisor: Dr Becky Morris
Ecological interest: focus on above and belowground linkages across land-use intensities. I am interested in how and why these systems change in response to anthropogenic pressures and how this may relate to ecosystem function. I take a food-web approach to these problems since interaction frequency and energy transfer between trophic levels is an important structuring force in ecological communities, which facilitate ecosystem-level processes such as nutrient cycling and decomposition.
If I would not be an ecologist, I would be: A professional coffee taster.
When not at work, I love: Watching live music. Exercising to offset excess food and wine consumption (nothing over 10km though please!). Partial to a cosy pub with friends and family.I love exploring the natural world anyway I can (scuba diving, hiking and kayaking will do nicely).
Went to University in: University of Sussex (BSc), University of Southampton (MRes).