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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Marie Henniges

PhD student



Project title: Uncovering how interactions between genome size, macronutrients and land use change contribution to shaping species distributions and ecoology of the UK flora

Summary: Genome size (GS) has been shown to impact almost every aspect of a plant's life, from physiology to niche requirements and entire life-history strategies. These associations have spakred a growing interest in GS as a predictive value in questions relation to changing climate and biodiversity loss. The emergence of tachniques for precise evaluation of genome structure along with a wealth of comprehensive databases on plant traits and niche requirements, biodiversity and species distributions over time, especially for the UK, offer an exciting framework for the integration of GS into advanced ecological models. In this project, we will attempt this integrtive endeavour using a threefold approach: (1) Worldwide biodiversity data (PREDICTS) will be used to assess the relevance of correlation between niche requirements, life strategy and GS for future diversity developments in the UK. (2) Documented historic changes in land use, climate and plant distributions across the UK will be evaluated for the predictive potential of GS on this context with the ultimate aim of GS  inclusion in powerful predictive vegtation models. (3) The relevance of plant GS in networks of nutrient flow, biomass production and mocrobial community assembly will be explored in experimentalls controlled and natural systems.



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