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Luci Corbett

Unknown
  • Post Graduate Research Student

Areas of interest

  • Soil biogeochemistry
  • Fluorometric soil enzyme activity assays
  • Acute Oak decline

Postgraduate supervision

Lead Supervisor

Professor Liz Shaw (University of Reading)

Co-supervisors

Professor Anne Verhoef (University of Reading)

Dr Elena Vanguelova (Forest Research)

Dr Sandra Denman (Forest Research) 

Research projects

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.

Background

I completed an MSc in Environmental Pollution from the University of Reading in 2020. For my MSc research project I looked at the chemistry of soils from trees with and without Acute Oak Decline symptoms.