Post Graduate Research Student
Areas of interest
- Soil biogeochemistry
- Fluorometric soil enzyme activity assays
- Acute Oak decline
Professor Liz Shaw (University of Reading)
Professor Anne Verhoef (University of Reading)
Dr Elena Vanguelova (Forest Research)
Dr Sandra Denman (Forest Research)
Acute Oak Decline (AOD): Detecting and understanding thresholds and feedback through soil microbial process indicators
Acute oak decline (AOD) is a relatively new and specific decline syndrome threatening the
native oak species (Quercus robur and Quercus petraea) in Britain. Opportunistic pathogenic
bacteria that are likely widespread in the oak microbiome are widely accepted causal factors
for the best-known symptoms, dark bleeds on oak stems, which can lead to crown dieback
and tree death, causing much concern among land-owners regarding tree survival.
Forest soils are notoriously heterogenous and it has been shown that soil nutrient status differs between trees with AOD symptoms compared to those without, suggesting that changes in the controlling microbial biogeochemical process rates may either contribute to, or result from, the progression of oak decline and AOD opportunistic infection.
The main project aims are to understand
- the process-level soil microbial biogeochemistry of trees with the AOD condition, and
- the relationships between soil biogeochemical processes and tree physiological and environmental drivers with a focus on extracellular enzymes as sensitive indicators of soil biogeochemical change.