I'm an ecologist interested in understanding the interactions between soil microbiota, plants and herbivores. In particular, a major theme of my research is understanding the ecology of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, and how they affect plant defences.
Impacts of elevated CO₂ on mycorrhizal fungal communities
Global atmospheric CO₂ concentrations are predicted to continue to increase. This research investigates the impacts on mycorrhizal fungal communities, on the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis and the consequences for plant growth and nutrient uptake.
When it comes to plant defence, it matters who you know, down below. . . .
Explainer video (Frew & Wilson, 2021)
Mars: Our Second Home?
Mycorrhizal-mediated plant-herbivore interactions
In addition to impacting the nutrient status of their host plant(s), AM fungi can impact plant physiology and defence chemistry. The outcome of the AM symbiosis for plants and insect herbivores is highly variable and context dependent, while the mechanisms underpinning these responses are not clear. The main focus of this research is to understand these interactions, the variability across different environments, and the mediating mechanisms.
Impacts of silicon on plant defences against insect herbivores
How different plant traits determine plant-herbivore interactions has been a focus for researchers for many years. This research investigates how soil silicon availability impacts plant nutrient uptake, secondary metabolites and the effects on insect herbivores.
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
[2019 - present] Lecturer (Environment and Sustainability), University of Southern Queensland, QLD
[2017 - 2019] Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Charles Sturt University, NSW
[2012- 2017] PhD Ecology, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, NSW
[2006-2011] BSc (Hons) Behavioural Biology, University of St Andrews, Scotland