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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.

Current research project

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 experiential learning. My teaching style includes field trips, 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 as 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

Higher Education Academy, UK

Award Date: 14 Nov 2017

PhD, University of Brighton

Award Date: 15 Nov 2009

Bachelor, Université de Bordeaux

Award Date: 15 Jul 2002

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

External positions

Member, Adur and Ouse Catchment Partnership

14 Mar 2017 → …

Member, Biosphere Research & Monitoring Working Group

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

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Research Output

  • 8 Article
  • 2 Other contribution
  • 1 Doctoral Thesis

Spatial distribution of sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei) in urban foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in Great Britain as determined by citizen science

Scott, D., Baker, R., Tomlinson, A., Berg, M., Charman, N. & Tolhurst, B., 24 Mar 2020, In : Urban Ecosystems. 23, 5, p. 1127-1140 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
File
  • Immediate and lag effects of hydrological change on floodplain grassland plants

    Brotherton, S. J., Joyce, C., Berg, M. & Awcock, G., 20 Feb 2019, In : Plant Ecology. 220, 3, p. 345-359 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    File
  • Offensive waste valorisation in the UK: Assessment of the potentials for absorbent hygiene product (AHP) recycling

    Takaya, C., Cooper, I., Berg, M., Brittle, S., Muir, R. & Sarker, D., 20 Mar 2019, In : Waste Management. 88, p. 56-70 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Resilience to extreme flooding shown by both hydric and mesic wetland plant species

    Brotherton, S., Joyce, C., Berg, M. & Awcock, G., 10 Oct 2019, In : Ecohydrology. 12, 8, 13 p., e2158.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Activities

    Predicting land-use of white rhino using an agent-based model: implications for conservation planning and reserve management

    Maureen Berg (Supervisor), Angelo Pernetta (Supervisor) & Rachel White (Supervisor)

    1 Oct 201930 Sep 2023

    Activity: External examination and supervisionResearch degree

    Tackling nappy waste: Decontamination and recycling of absorbent hygiene wastes from the healthcare sector.

    Dipak Sarker (Presenter), Chibi Takaya (Presenter), Ian Cooper (Presenter) & Maureen Berg (Presenter)

    3 May 2019

    Activity: External talk or presentationOral presentation

    Royal Society of Biology (External organisation)

    Maureen Berg (Member)

    2019 → …

    Activity: External boards and professional/academic bodiesMembership of professional body

    Higher Education Academy, UK (External organisation)

    Maureen Berg (Fellow)

    2018

    Activity: External boards and professional/academic bodiesMembership of professional body

    BES Review College member

    Maureen Berg (Reviewer)

    2018 → …

    Activity: External funding peer-review