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, their host plants and herbivory.
Impacts of elevated CO₂ on mycorrhizal fungal communities
Global atmospheric CO₂ concentrations are predicted to continue to increase. The impacts of these changes in our atmosphere on mycorrhizal fungal communities and on the mycorrhizal symbiosis are ambiguous. This research looks to understand what these changes mean for plant-herbivore interactions.
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 my 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), University of St Andrews, Scotland