I lead a research group quantifying the structure, dynamics and functioning of ecological communities, and investigating how they respond to environmental change. I have a long-standing interest in transferring ecological theory into the field to test predictions about how ecological mechanisms, including density- and trait-mediated indirect interactions, structure networks. I use a range of empirical and quantitative approaches, particularly rigorous, large-scale manipulative experiments. Much of my work involves insects, primarily herbivorous insects and their parasitoids and host plants, and takes place in natural and human-modified tropical rainforests.
I am leading a socio-ecological collaboration promoting the resilience of subsistence farming to El Niño events in Papua New Guinea. I am also a principal investigator in the LOMBOK consortium, working at the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) Project Site in Borneo. We are combining surveys of biodiversity and biogeochemistry along a gradient of forest modification with in situ manipulative experiments, to gain a mechanistic understanding links between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
My research is funded by the Royal Society, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Department for International Development (DFID), through the NERC Human Modified Tropical Forest (HMTF) Research Programme and the NERC/DFID “Understanding the impacts of the current El Niño event” research programme.