My MRes gave me the freedom to explore my own ideas

Tilly sitting outside in front of mountains
Tilly Dixon
Degree: MRes Ecology and Environment
Research project: exploring the relationship between climate change and agricultural intensification
As part of her MRes Ecology and Environment research project, Tilly is investigating how the declining microbe content of soils will affect the resistance and resilience of grasses to extreme drought. Important research in response to the major challenge of climate change.
Tilly sitting outside in front of mountains

“For my research project I am exploring the relationship between two great challenges in the 21st century: climate change and agricultural intensification. I aim to investigate the relationship between the decline in soil microbe content of soils due to agriculture and how this will affect the resistance and resilience of grasses to extreme drought events predicted to increase with climate change.


I get to work at the Arthur Willis Environmental Centre, where I can simulate plant growth conditions from different parts of the world, as well as introduce possible, future climate conditions. I also get to work with other cool pieces of technology, such as the respirometer machine, which measures the level of respiration from soil microbes, from which I can estimate microbial biomass.

Tilly Dixon

MRes Ecology and Environment


“I get to work at the Arthur Willis Environmental Centre, where I can simulate plant growth conditions from different parts of the world, as well as introduce possible, future climate conditions. I also get to work with other cool pieces of technology, such as the respirometer machine, which measures the level of respiration from soil microbes, from which I can estimate microbial biomass.

“The course is fantastic as it gives you the freedom to follow your curiosity and explore your own ideas at great depths. My ability to think independently has improved massively, and I’ve developed a variety of new skills in science communication, research, and have even been taught how to apply for grants. Because of this, I feel more prepared for the future, as these skills are transferable and can be applied to real-world situations.”

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