Understanding environmental change
Understanding environmental change is a key aim for a number of staff across research groups. Activities cover terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. We use a range of approaches, including analysis of long-term data sets, experimentation under simulated conditions and mathematical modelling, to understand the impacts of land use and climate change on communities and ecosystem processes. Results are feeding into predictions of future trends in environmental change and ecosystem functioning, and plans for mitigating the potential negative impacts.
Investigations revealing the impact of winter warming events on Arctic vegetation have led to a major shift in research focus and climate change politics towards tackling global warming as a priority.
Atmospheric nitrogen deposition poses a great threat to global biodiversity, and research into the impacts of nitrogen pollution on grasslands is influencing and supporting Defra policy.
Long-running climate manipulation experiments at the Buxton Climate Change Impacts Laboratory continue to contribute significantly to our understanding of whole ecosystem responses to environmental change.
Studying conditions on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago is adding to our understanding of the role of plants in shaping the Earth’s history, and informing predictions for current and future global change.