I am a PGR based in School of Biology at the University of Leeds working with Dr Hassall, investigating ecosystem services and urban plant communities. I previously completed my Masters in Biodiversity and Conservation at the University of Leeds.
I am a keen botanist and naturalist and often spend my spare time roaming the Yorkshire area, if not I will be found knee deep in mud my allotment unsuccessfully growing vegetables but very successfully culturing a variety of different insect pests.
2017 – 2018: Masters in Biodiversity and Conservation from University of Leeds
2012 – 2015: Undergraduate in Ecology from University of Leeds
My research covers a broad spectrum of topics from urban ecology to the pedagogy of botany. I am particularly interested in human plant interactions, the uses of plants for the mitigation of the impacts of urbanisation, and the development of sustainable and equitable cities.
My teaching comes a variety of different topics, from the basic field skills required for ecological surveys through to plant identification for our master students. I also teach on a variety of different modules including insect ID, research skills, and a variety of fieldcourses. We are also currently developing an e-learning module for students of the built and design environment.
Ecosystem services associated with aquatic plants in urban landscapes.
Dr Chris Hassall, Dr Julie Peacock, Dr David Dawson
Panorama NERC DTP, 2019
Urban and cityscapes within the context of biodiversity are often likened to so-called biodiversity deserts, being depauperate, of little benefit to wildlife, and with limited ecological functionality. The flora and fauna of cities homogenise with increasing time and urbanisation, as only species tolerant of these intensely modified environments can establish. These urbanophiles become ubiquitous across cityscapes, as habitats are replaced by urban features, native species and their functionality from these areas are lost (McKinney., 2006).
Recent evidence, however, has shown that moderate levels of urbanisation support a greater diversity of plants, and that urban ponds sustain comparable numbers of invertebrate species and families compared to non-urban ponds, providing strong ecological evidence that these aquatic features may provide a promising avenue for supporting urban biodiversity (Hill et al., 2017). The majority of academic work focuses on terrestrial systems, considering habitat for pollinators and invertebrates, often by the creation of nectar resources. Considerably fewer resources are provided to the creation and study of aquatic habitats, due to the logistical difficulty and expenses associated with their management.
My PhD research proposes to examine the various mechanisms by which cities, and the urban environment influence aquatic plant distribution and function.