Centre for Biological Sciences

Research Group: Environmental Biosciences

The thematic interests of this group cover the interactions of plants and animals with their environment, across scales from molecular and cellular levels to the whole organism, population and landscape. We combine expertise in ecological and evolutionary processes, genetics, and cellular and molecular biology, to address current and future problems of worldwide significance. Our projects include adaptation to changing environments, sustainable use of natural resources, sustainable bioenergy, food and water security, human health, and biodiversity conservation.

Currently Active: Yes

Group Overview

Microbial Biofilms. The University hosts the largest UK grouping of academics working on biofilms and microbial communities. Microbial research in Biological Sciences focuses on the physiology, development, evolution, genetics and molecular ecology of biofilms, together with their impact in environmental and clinical settings.

Plant Sciences. Our research in plant sciences has a strong focus in molecular and cellular plant biology that addresses environmental effects on plant physiology, development and function. This includes the use of plants for renewable energy, and crop science priorities such as responses to abiotic and biotic stresses (heavy metals, CO2 etc) and improved nutrition. The group has expertise in a range of plants including, Arabidopsis, poplar, wheat, barley, rice, and pea, and also in algae.

Ecology and Environment. Our research focuses on adaptations to changing environments. These include responses of organisms to stress factors brought about by environmental change at physiological, population and community levels, and human responses to change such as the exploitation of natural systems for sources of bioenergy and ecosystem services, and management of natural resources.

Environmental Biosciences Principle Investigators (PI)

Dr Mark Chapman: PI Evolutionary Genomics and Transcriptomics
Professor Patrick Doncaster: PI Population ecology
Dr Felix Eigenbrod: PI Spatial Ecology
Dr Thomas Ezard: PI Evolutionary Biology
Associate Professor Chris Jackson: PI Behaviour & pest control
Dr Lex Kraaijeveld: PI Insect-parasite interactions
Dr Bill Keevil: PI Microbiology & environmental health
Dr Alan Marchant: PI Plant cell walls and root development
Professor Philip Newland: PI Organisation of insect neural networks
Dr Kelvin Peh: PI Wildlife-human conflicts
Professor Guy Poppy: PI Insect/plant interactions
Professor Gail Taylor: PI Plants & Environment
Professor Matthew Terry: PI Chloroplast development and function
Professor Jeremy Webb: PI Microbial biofilms and their control
Dr Lorraine Williams: PI Membrane transporters


Members of staff associated with this group:

Research projects

Research projects associated with this group:


Role of electrostatics in entomology

Antimicrobial Tolerance in Bacterial Biofilms: An Inter-Disciplinary Approach

Mapping the supply and demand of bioenergy in Great Britain to 2050

Antimicrobial copper: Biocidal efficacy and killing mechanism of copper and copper alloy dry surfaces against bacterial and viral pathogens

Plastid-to-nucleus signalling in plants

WISER: Which Ecosystem Service Models best capture the needs of the rural poor?

Are GTGs a new class of plant anion channels regulating pH in the endomembrane system?

Prevention and minimisation of biofilms on urinary catheters and equipment

Vitacress Research Unit: Improving the quality and healthy-giving benefits of baby salad leaves

Evolutionary aspects of ant-fungus interactions in leaf-cutting ants

Multitrophic interactions - inducted plant resistance and plant S.O.S. signalling


Tsetse fly control

Wildlife corridors for large mammals in Belize

Environmental Healthcare Unit Consultancy

Development of novel methods to assess the viability and infectivity of pathogens in biofilms found in drinking water supply systems.

Harnessing the Genetic Diversity of Watercress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum) for Improved Morphology and Anti-cancer Benefits: Underpinning Data for Molecular Breeding.

In-Vivo Imaging of Soil, Roots and Root Hairs for Improved Understanding of Phosphate Uptake by Plants

A global framework for quantifying the ecosystem service impacts of oil and biofuel production - Dormant

Physiological function of the GTG/GPHRs, a highly conserved family of eukaryotic membrane proteins

Improving solar conversion efficiency in marine microalgae

Sustainable urban planning decision support for urban planning BRIDGE

Rapid assessment of surface contamination and decontamination efficacy

EuroChar: Development of technologies for long-term carbon sequestration

Improving the sustainability of water use in baby leaf salad crops

How does natural and anthropogenic disturbance change human population growth?

Development of endoscope decontamination procedures

Predictive Adaptive Responses in Drosophila

Control of fruitflies in Malaysian fruit crops

Diet and immune responses in Drosophila melanogaster

Evolution of cooperation in microbial biofilms

Developmental function of the RGII component of pectin in plants

Characterisation of glycosyltransferases functioning during the synthesis of the secondary cell wall hemicellulose glucuronoxylan

Microbial interactions in multi-species drinking water biofilm community

Biofouling control for in-situ lab-on-a-chip environmental sensors

Improving the quality of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) using a molecular breeding approach

Ecosystem Canaries: biodiversity measures as early warning signals

Bioenergy value chains: Whole systems analysis and optimisation

Immunity, neurodegeneration and ageing

ENERGYPOPLAR: Understanding traits for bioenergy in poplar


Adaptive differences in response to flooding in Populus alba and Populus tremula

Investigating Novel Genes in Poplar for Improved Cell Wall Disassembly

CleanWeb - the Web as an enabler of environmental sustainability

Using Next Generation Sequencing to understand acclimation and adaption of Plantago lanceolata to a changing environment

Implications of drought conditions for microbial soil ecology: a metagenomic approach

Conservation and adaptation in the landscape: A review of landscape scale approaches in Britain - Dormant

The regulatory mechanisms controlling zinc content in wheat

A genome-wide approach to understand domestication

Environmental impact of transgenic (GM) plants

Physiology, genetics and genomics of drought adaptation in Populus

Exploring the influence of the plant lateral root gravitropic set point angle on architecture in soils using X-Ray Computed Tomography

Origin and evolution of chess-like board games

An individual-based perspective on macroevolution

Safe operating spaces for regional rural development: a new conceptual tool for evaluating complex socio-ecological system dynamics - Dormant

Climate-proof habitat refugia - Dormant

Manganese homeostasis in higher plants

Nutrient stress in plants in relation to biofortification and phytoremediation

Relative importance of innate, conditioned and learnt behaviours

Mechanism for delayed senescence in Populus in a high CO2 world

Digital life

BioliSME II: Demonstration, validation and preliminary promotion of a commercial prototype speedy system for sampling and detecting Listeria monocytogenes

Global transcriptomic responses to parasitism

An ecosystem service approach to quantifying the role of freshwater biodiversity in supporting food security - Dormant

Identifying the regulating factors of biodiversity in deep time

Using transcriptomics to understand adaptation and speciation in an island radiation

SecurEau – Security and decontamination of drinking water distribution systems following a deliberate contamination event.

Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP) for the decontamination of reusable surgical instruments

The role of nitric oxide in the control of biofilm and zoonotic pathogen colonisation of the salad phylloplane

Parallel domestication as a model to understand the repeatability of phenotypic evolution

Postgraduate opportunities

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