Biodiversity, Crops and Agro-ecosystems Research Division

BCAResearch in the Biodiversity, Crops and Agro-ecosystems (BCA) Division is primarily focussed on crop production systems and their interactions with the wider environment. A major focus is the identification of sustainable food production systems and the provision of ecosystem services by agro-ecosystems, especially in the face of environmental change. Our wide range of expertise includes plant physiology, crop modelling, crop agronomy, horticulture, plant breeding and molecular genetics, seed science, plant pathology, entomology, ecology, population biology and biodiversity conservation.

We are key contributors to the Centre for Food Security (CfS) and the Walker Institute for Climate Systems Research. Resilience and adaptation of crop production to challenges of climate change through tolerance, escape and diversity is studied at molecular genetic, plant, crop, crop-pathogen, crop-pollinator and cropping system levels. We aim to mitigate environmental impacts of production by improving resource-use efficiencies and the precision of crop protection measures.

The Division contains the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research (CAER), which works on the linkages between land use, biodiversity, the provision of ecosystem services (for example food production, pest regulation, nutrient cycling, pollination, carbon storage, etc.) and the values/benefits people derive from these services. This work underpins the development of management strategies designed to improve the sustainability of land-use and food production.

The Division has comprehensive facilities housed in several University locations. Five laboratories in the Agriculture Building provide support for research in crop protection, molecular biology, seed science, ecology and entomology. Experimental grounds on the Whiteknights campus are extensive, with 2500 m2 of heated glasshouses, including climate controlled and factorial houses, controlled environment growth cabinets, a protected field plot experimental area and 5.5 ha of research and amenity gardens. Facilities at Shinfield comprise plant growth cabinets, glasshouses, enclosed polytunnels and the Cocoa quarantine facility. The Crops Research Unit at Sonning has facilities to support field plot experiments on all temperate arable and forage crops within a dedicated 12 ha, irrigable field site, pollinator flight cages and supporting laboratory and teaching facilities.

Members of the Division organise and teach on undergraduate degree programmes in Agriculture, Agricultural Business Management and Environmental Management, Masters degree programmes in Agriculture and Development and Environmental Management, as well as the supervision of students undertaking Higher Degrees by Research.

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The University holds the European Commission's HR Excellence in Research Award. Follow the link below for more information


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