Our mission is to understand the ecological mechanisms that deliver sustainable crop production. We have expertise in movement and spatial ecology of pests and pollinators, above and below-ground functional biodiversity and weed ecology.
The Department specialises in experimental and quantitative ecology and produces high impact research from plot to continental scales. Our science is supported by a unique combination of facilities including the Rothamsted Insect Survey (National Capability), eight 'Classical' experiments as well as a 330 ha research farm, unique Vertical Looking and Harmonic Radars and insect behaviour and field labs.
Over 30 staff and students are clustered into five research groups.
Head of Department: Dr Angela Karp
Departmental Secretary: Karen Wright
Globally, weeds are a major constraint to crop production and food security. Research within the weed ecology and evolution group at Rothamsted is focused on understanding the ecological and evolutionary forces that underpin the establishment, persistence and spread of weedy (and invasive) plant populations in agro-ecosystems.
Department Press Releases
Soils are teeming with bacteria whose effects we are just beginning to understand. One of the most abundant and active groups of bacteria in soils is called Bradyrhizobium. For the first time from European soils, scientists have sequenced the genome of Bradyrhizobium, giving a glimpse into their activity and revealing differences with strains from other parts of the world.
Running continuously since 1856, Park Grass is the world’s oldest ecological experiment and this year marks its 160th anniversary. To celebrate the anniversary and recent findings from the experiment, Rothamsted Research hosted an event on Tuesday 18th May for the public to discuss the global importance of the Park Grass Experiment and to visit the site.
Willows (Salix spp.) are among the fastest growing trees in temperate latitudes and many species are amenable to growth in highly productive short rotation coppice (SRC) cycles. Rothamsted Research, which receives strategic funding from BBSRC, breeds willows a perennial non-food crop, as a source of renewable woody feedstock for bioenergy and the emerging bioeconomy.
Air pollution is a human health issue that also impacts negatively on natural ecosystems. In excessive quantities, forms of nitrogen (N) released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels and from agriculture are a pollutant.
Non-food, perennial biomass, crops such as willows and miscanthus, can contribute to the reduction of CO2 and play a role in mitigation against climate change. Rothamsted Research scientists and colleagues in France, examined the potential of these crops to enhance biodiversity at the landscape level. The researchers used biodiversity datasets collected throughout the UK from commercial arable and biomass bioenergy crops and demonstrate for the first time that the biomass crops enhance farmland biodiversity at the landscape -level.
Scientists at Rothamsted Research have used a fast and easily achieved method for multiplying a wide range of willows. The method, a form of micro-propagation, produced more plants which were free of disease, in a shorter time, with less labour compared to traditional willow breeding methods. The disease-free plants were exported to, and grown in, Canada; a country, like many others, where the risk of the spread of willow borne diseases often causes a ban on importation.
The use of cover and catch crops is becoming more common place in UK agriculture. There are many potential benefits of such practices including prevention of soil erosion and leaching of nitrate, improvement of infiltration and adding carbon to the soil. Cover crops have the potential to promote a range of ecosystem services, however, at present there has been very little investigation of which crops do this best. Cover and catch crops must display specific traits to be of benefit to the grower in different rotational positions and thereby justify seed and planting costs; compatibility with cash crops, strong root penetration, growth in low temperature and light conditions and zero seed return. This project will work towards providing an evidence base for growers to make decisions on which cover crops to use.
|title||First Name||Last Name||Department||Location|
|View||Miss||Madeleine||Berger||Biological Chemistry and Crop Protection, Agroecology||Harpenden|
|View||Mr||March||Castle||Agroecology, Plant Biology and Crop Science||Harpenden|
|View||Mrs||Imogen||Durenkamp||Plant Biology and Crop Science, Agroecology||Harpenden|
|View||Mr||Nick||Evens||Plant Biology and Crop Science, Agroecology||Harpenden|
|View||Mr||Steve||Freeman||Agroecology, Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems||Harpenden|
|View||Mr||Alex||Greenslade||Biological Chemistry and Crop Protection, Agroecology||Harpenden|
|View||Mr||Mike||Hall||Agroecology, Plant Biology and Crop Science||Harpenden|
|View||Mrs||Tracey||Kruger||Plant Biology and Crop Science, Agroecology||Harpenden|
|View||Mr||Andrew||Moss||Computational & Systems Biology, Plant Biology and Crop Science, Agroecology, Business Information Services, Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems, Biological Chemistry and Crop Protection|
|View||Ms||Vanessa||Nessner Kavamura Noguchi||Agroecology|
|View||Dr||Donald||Reynolds||Agroecology, Computational & Systems Biology|
|View||Mr||David||Steele||Plant Biology and Crop Science, Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems, Agroecology||Harpenden|