I am a tropical forest ecologist, primarily focusing on the plants and habitat of South East Asia. These diverse and highly threatened forests are fascinating in their complexity and they provide the ideal location to conduct new and exciting research with a true impact on current conservation efforts.
I am currently studying for my PhD in ecology at the University of Stirling. My focus is on the effects of repeated logging efforts in Borneo and how these may alter recruitment into the tree community. By studying sapling and seedling communities, I hope to discover more about the long term sustainability and carbon storage potential of logged forests in South East Asia. I will be posting updates throughout the study, both here and on my twitter account.
Yesterday, my mum messaged me to ask a question that had just occurred to her:
“Are red greens healthier than green greens?”
She’d just bought a red cabbage instead of green to go with her dinner and was wondering if there was any nutritional difference between them or whether it was all about the colours. As someone who knows a little bit about plants, I was her first port of call but, as someone who has absolutely no expertise in nutrition, I also knew I was out of my depth…
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Tropical rain forests have been a source of boundless fascination and discovery for as long as people have been exploring them. From Victorian naturalists like Wallace and Darwin who found their inspiration for theories of natural selection, to the latest advances in medicines and climate change mitigation, rain forests have revealed countless key insights to the workings of our natural world. Despite this however, there remain vast ecosystems that we have yet to study in depth and the largest of these is surely the canopy.
Aside from the deep ocean, the rainforest canopy is probably the least studied natural ecosystem on the planet and the reason why is obvious: those trees can be over one hundred metres tall! Because of this, getting to the top of them is understandably tricky and it wasn’t until fairly recently that the skills of climbing and academia came together and the field of canopy research took off. Before that, most studies of canopy species relied on either smoking them out of the tree or shooting them down with a rifle.