The research activities in Animal and Plant Sciences fall into three broad groupings below. However, whilst these themes are particular strengths of the department, there is a great deal of crossover and collaboration between researchers from different groupings, and it is partly this interaction that brings fresh ideas and insights, and the ability to tackle novel research problems. We also have many collaborations with other Departments across the University, including Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Civil and Structural Engineering, Geography, Mathematics, and Sociological Studies.
The work of this group is at the forefront of addressing some of the key environmental challenges facing humankind at the present time. These include ensuring provision of the ecosystem goods and services that the growing human population requires; maintaining biodiversity in the face of global environmental change and controlling the spread both of established and emerging diseases.
The focus of this research group is on the evolutionary, genetic and functional bases of behaviour, adaptation and speciation. Research topics include sexual selection and sexual conflict, ecological immunity, cooperative behaviour, evolutionary genomics of adaptation and evolutionary developmental biology. Study systems range from humans, birds and fish to insects and snails.
Our research covers a broad spectrum of topics on plant and microbial biology covering levels of organisation from the molecule, through the whole organism, to ecosystem and global-scale events. We have particular strengths in the areas of photosynthesis, plant-mycorrhiza and plant parasite interactions, the effects of climate and atmospheric change on plants, and how plants influence global change.