Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Tea and the Taste of Climate Change: A Socio-Ecological Framework to Assess Botanical Quality Seminar

15 June 2015
Building 44, Lecture Theatre B

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Nathaniel O'Grady at N.O' .

Event details

What is the impact of climate change on food and medicinal plant quality? How can innovative production and processing practices mitigate climatic risk in food systems?


In this seminar, Dr. Selena Ahmed, explores these questions using tea as a case study.

This talk starts with a socio-ecological framework to assess botanical quality in the context of global environmental change and than shares findings from collaborative research on climate effects on tea quality. Findings draw from interdisciplinary methods including: (1) field sampling in tea-producing areas of China, (2) controlled green house experiments that manipulate climate scenarios, (3) phytochemical analyses of major antioxidant compounds in tea, (4) sensory analyses of perceived tea quality and, (5) farmer surveys on ecological knowledge, management and livelihoods. The ultimate goal of this work is to facilitate societal actions towards enhanced sustainability of food systems. This project is supported by the NSF Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) Program in collaboration with investigators Albert Robbat, Tim Griffin, Colin Orians, Rick Stepp, Sean Cash and Corene Matyas. At the Tea Research Institute of China, we are collaborating with Professor Wenyan Han.

Chaired by Dr Ellie Biggs



Speaker information

Dr Selena Ahmed, Montana State University. Selena Ahmed is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Food Systems at Montana State University where she leads the Food and Health Lab. Basic and applied projects in this lab examine the socio-ecological, phytonutrient, behavioral, and sensory basis of food systems from farm to consumer. Selena has been studying the impact of environmental and management variation on tea quality in Yunnan Province since 2006. She is an author on two books on tea including the Tea Horse Road: China’s Ancient Trade Road to Tibet with photographer Michael Freeman and over one dozen scientific articles on the tea system. Selena’s research builds on her interdisciplinary training in Economics (BA from Barnard College), Ethnobotany (MSc from the University of Kent at Canterbury), Biology / Plant Sciences (PhD from the City University of New York and the New York Botanical Garden), biomedical sciences and chemical ecology (postdoctoral training from the NIH TEACRS program at Tufts University).

Privacy Settings