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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a plant ecologist with specific interests in plant-plant and plant-animal interactions at the community and population level. My research focuses on determining the key factors involved in these relationships and assessing how resilient are these links in changing environmental conditions.

Wetland plant community

I am particularly interested in dynamic ecosystems such as wet grasslands, riparian and coastal habitats. I have experience with wet grassland habitat management and assessing changes in response to different practices. Much of the focus of previous work has been on management and restoration of these habitats and  this has expanded to wetlands and across taxa through collaborative work.

Invasive Ecology

I am also interested in invasion ecology, focusing on Invasive Non-Native plant species and understanding their influence and impacts on associated habitat and speceis. INNS copmpetitive strategy and succes could be casued by the range of allelochemic released by the leaves or roots affecting neighbouring plants. I have started research projects examining the effects of sub-lethal exposure to allelochemical compounds released by Impatiens glandulifera on freshwater invertebrate and fish larvae development and behaviour. Similarly, I am interesting on the long-term impacts of Rhododendron ponticum allelopathy on soil microbial community.

Approach to teaching

I teach a range of topics related to plants, from plant physiology to plant community ecology. Understanding how plants interact with their environment and other species is important to inform management decision and practices. I am a strong believer in research-informed teaching and the experiential learning. My teaching style includes lectures, problem-based and data-interpretation exercises as well as group discussion. In addition, I support most of my teaching with practical lab and field classes to help consolidate the material covered in class. I value the time allocated for residential field trips and this allows student to have an immersive experience with ecology.

I expect students to be motivated, engaging and inquisitive and willing to get muddy and wet at times.

Supervisory Interests

I am keen to supervise projects that examine the effects of management and changing abiotic and biotic conditions on plant community, functional traits, physiology and multitrophic diversity. I am keen to use a range of novel approaches such as genomics, remote sensing, drones and red edge sensor camera.  Projects that I have supervised include 

  • Extreme climate events and floodplain grassland plant communities: linking resilience to functional diversity (PhD)
  • Understanding the demographics and genetic patterns of water voles in human modified landscapes (PhD)
  • Influence of the distribution of green urban spaces on the cooling effect (MRes)

Scholarly biography

I undertook my university studies in France at the University of Bordeaux, followed by a DESS in aquatic ecosystems. During my university years I had to take part in two internships, one of which was at the Charles Darwin Research centre in the Galapagos where I spent three months on Santa Cruz Island. During this placement I studied the impact of tourist boats on inter-island insect dispersal as my main project. This was an eye-opening experience and I loved every minute of it, I even had the opportunity to meet Lonesome George - the last Pinta island tortoise. More importantly this was an important pilot study as it informed the management of tourism as well as invasive species. My second placement was six months at the Conseil general des Landes in the Environment department, where I surveyed riparian habitats and provided baseline information for the management plan of these Natura 2000 areas. 

After graduating from my DESS (equivalent to MSc) I worked as a plant ecologist for six months at the Federation de chasse des Landes, mapping and recording habitats on their nature reserves and developing management plans. This field experience allowed me to expand my botanical knowledge, and further my understanding of plant communities, which turned out to be key experience for obtaining my PhD.

In 2004, I started a PhD at the University of Brighton with Professor Chris Joyce and Dr Niall Burnside on the Restoration of Estonian Coastal wet grasslands. My research aimed to assess the success of restoration practices (i.e. grazing, cutting) on abandoned coastal wet grasslands. After my PhD I worked as a research assistant on Water-related recreation (Southern and Thames, Midlands and North-East regions) with Professors Andrew Church and Neil Ravenscroft for the Environment Agency, using GIS to identify areas of good or poor provision for water-related activities.

I have integrated the Ecology teaching team in 2010 and I have been the Ecology course leader since 2014.

Education/Academic qualification

Bachelor, Universite de Bordeaux

Master, Universite de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour

PhD, University of Brighton

External positions

Member

14 Mar 2017 → …

Member

2016 → …

Keywords

  • QH301 Biology
  • Ecology
  • Wetlands
  • Plant
  • Community
  • Interaction
  • Allelopathy
  • Biodiversity
  • Invasive species
  • GE Environmental Sciences
  • Climate change
  • Green roofs
  • Sustainability
  • Extreme Climatic Event
  • Flooding
  • saltmarsh
  • GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
  • Urban
  • Green roofs
  • Hay based
  • Sedum

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2012 2016

Lizard diversity in response to human-induced disturbance in Andean Ecuador

Tolhurst, B., Aguirre Penafiel, V., Mafla-Endara, P., Berg, M., Peck, M. & Maddock, S. T. 1 Jan 2016 26, p. 33-39 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
File
primary forests
secondary forests
Ecuador
agroforestry
lizards

Changes in the Distribution of Red Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Urban Areas in Great Britain: Findings and Limitations of a Media-Driven Nationwide Survey

Scott, D., Berg, M., Tolhurst, B., Chauvenet, A. L. M., Smith, G., Neaves, K., Lochhead, J. & Baker, P. J. 11 Jun 2014 9, 6

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
File

Differential responses of abandoned wet grassland plant communities to reinstated cutting management

Berg, M., Joyce, C. & Burnside, N. 19 Aug 2012 692, 1, p. 83-97 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Activities 2016 2017

  • 1 Representation of University on boards and bodies
  • 1 Invited talk

Adur and Ouse Catchment Partnership (External organisation)

Berg, M. (Member)
2017 → …

Activity: Representation of University on boards and bodies

Science with Impact, Biodiversity matters:here, there and everywhere

Berg, M. (Presenter)
3 Jul 20166 Jul 2016

Activity: Invited talk