Thursday 3 November 2011

research interests

* Biodiversity mapping & surveying
* Biodiversity monitoring
* Biodiversity Action Planning for farms
* Community Links To Land
* Releasing agriculture from fossil fuel dependence
* Comparison between organic, biodynamic and permaculture methods
* Effects of grazing on biodiversity of grassland habitats
* The efficiency of food production with or without livestock
* Use of farms as local education catalysts for the arts and sciences

Wednesday 2 November 2011

The Conservation Conversation

I am interested in conversations around molecular ecology, environment and evolution.

Where to start? Well how about the molecular reality we are living in! Each one of us consist of about 200 billion cells living in metazoan community. Each cell contains millions of macro-molecules recognised as part of the biochemical cyctoplasmic metabolism. Each protein may chaperone or direct the reactions of thousands of much smaller molecules which form part of the earth's natural atmospheric, aqueous and mineral environment. These small molecules criss cross between the dynamic context of membranes between cells, tissues, individuals, populations and the abiotic and biotic factors of our planet. Due to counterbalancing positive and negative feedback effects, subtle changes to the concentrations of any of these components can effect large or micro changes to the overall balance of these systems - at vastly differing scales. Understanding how these processes have contributed to evolution may enable us to better conserve the diversity of species we share our beautiful planet with.

Monday 8 August 2011

Ecology as a branch of biological science

Here is a link to a document I once wrote for some Masters Students who had all done Arts degrees but were interested to find out more about the scientific method.
It has occurred to me that my training as a field biologist has given me a particularly science focused idea of what the word 'ecology' actually means. To me it is simply the science (by which I mean nothing more sinister than the study of) relationship. And since it is living organisms which relate in the most complex ways, ecology is therefore about answering fundamental questions about the nature of relationship, and complex relationships at that - for example between species in a food web, or between sources and sinks within an elemental cycle such as the Carbon or Nitrogen cycle. Equally it could be a greater or lesser scales, from living molecules and their interactions within the complex ecosystem of a single cell, or cycles of energy, nutrient and mineral flux between habitats, ecosystems and biomes.