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 outcomes.
Dig Up Dirt
This is a national project that engages with farmers, land owners and managers to survey communities of AM fungi across Australian agricultural landscapes. People submit their soil samples and provide important information on how their land is managed to help us identify the drivers of AM fungal diversity and composition across Australia. See www.digupdirt.net for more info.
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.
Disturbance impacts on AM fungi
Understanding how particular pressures shape the composition and community assembly of AM fungi is a key question in my research. Importantly a large challenge is being able to link the assembly processes with plant outcomes from the symbiosis
EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION
[2022 - present] ARC DECRA Fellow, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, NSW
[2019 - 2022] 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