Research Group at Exeter

Dr. Jehova Lourenço Junior - Newton International Fellow

Univ. of Exeter - 2020-2022

Jehova is a Newton International Fellow on a project exploring how plant water transport systems interact with environmental conditions to control community composition across environmental gradients within the Restinga forests of Brazil. Jehova is particularly interested in plant hydraulic traits, linking plant hydraulic structure (xylem anatomy) to its functioning via physiological measurements (e.g. P50). He uses trait-based ecology to provide a better understanding of how plant hydraulic traits improve plant fitness and scale up to influence plant community structure and functioning.

Mateus Silva - WWF and alumni funded studenship

Univ. of Exeter - 2021-2024

Mateus is interested in improving restoration efforts in the Brazilian Cerrado to tackle biodiversity loss and build ecosystem resilience. He will mix field-based functional trait data with species distribution modelling to tailor restoration interventions to harbour species-rich communities today and in the future. Mateus' research aim support new technologies which aims to guide landowners in the Cerrado region to undertake efficient and climate-smart restoration projects.

Rosie Clegg - NERC Funded PhD student

Univ. of Exeter - 2020-2024

Rosie is studying the biodiversity, biogeography and conservation of inselberg and rock outcrop flora in the dry biomes of Latin America, focusing on the areas across Bolivia and Brazil.  The aim of the project is to document the flora and understand the evolutionary processes that shaped these environments. Rosie's research yield results on the global value of the plants in these areas to inform conservation management.

Kennedy Lewis - Shell Funded PhD student

Univ. of Exeter - 2020-2024

Kennedy is using a mixture of remote sensing and eddy covariance techniques to explore the carbon storage potential of restoration projects within the Cerrado biome in Brazil. At her study sites in the Chapada dos Veadeiros national park in Goias state, Brazil she is installing novel, low cost, eddy covariance towers on restored, native and pasture systems to determine how the fluxes of carbon, water and energy vary at seasonal and annual time-scales.

Dr. Fernanda Barros - NERC-FAPESP Funded Post Doctoral Fellow

Univ. of Exeter - 2019-2022

Fernanda is a biologist with background in plant ecology and ecophysiology, with a specific interest in understanding the connection of plant function with species evolution and geographic distribution. She is currently working on a NERC-FAPESP funded project to evaluate how information on functional diversity can be utilised to improve restoration techniques in cerrado and dry forest ecosystems and to make these systems more resilient to future changes in climate.

Dr. Paulo Bittencourt- NERC Researcher CoI

Univ. of Exeter - 2020-2023

Paulo is a researcher CoI on a NERC standard grant to study hydraulic scaling in some of the world's tallest tropical rainforest trees. He will be studying the how water transport in large trees is influenced by changes in hydraulic traits with tree height. His studies will take place across Malaysia and Brazil, two environments with very contrasting seasonality regimes, with the aim of understanding how climate and tree structure alters water transport efficiency and vulnerability to drought stress.

David Bartholomew – NERC funded PhD Student

Univ. of Exeter 2017-2021

David is studying the influence of changes in water and nutrient availability on photosynthesis and leaf respiration in tropical rainforest trees across different stages of ontogeny. He is working at two sites, a drought experiment site based in Para, north east Brazil and at Sepilok forest in Malaysia.

Links to personal websites:


Simon Jones - NERC Industry funded PhD Student

Univ. of Exeter 2017-2021

Simon is working on a new non-structural carbohydrate model for the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES). The aim of the model is to provide a new way to allow plant respiration fluxes to operate independently of plant growth rate, when plants experience environmental stress in JULES. This will allow improved simulation of vegetation responses to environmental stress, improving our capacity to predict future changes in climate.

Katie Journeaux - NERC funded PhD Student

Univ. of Exeter 2017-2021

Katie is studying the influence of temperature change on the effect of fungal decay of wood. In particular, Katie is exploring why the positive response of heterotrophic respiration of soils to temperature, which is primarily driven by fungal respiration, declines over time. To explore this Katie is performing microcosm experiments to test for thermal acclimation in wood-decomposing basidiomycete fungi.

Andre Giles - FAPESP funded PhD student

Univ. Estadual do Campinas 2016-2020

Andre is undertaking research in both Brazil's tropical rainforest and savanna biomes. At a a tropical rainforest drought experiment in Para, north east Brazil, Andre is exploring how the response of plant hydraulic traits to long-term drought in saplings varies from adult trees. In the Savanna Andre is explore how carbon stocks and plant traits vary in restored areas at different stages of succession.

Former post-doctoral fellow Dr. Cleiton Eller - Newton Funded Post Doctoral Fellow

Univ. of Exeter - 2016-2019

Cleiton has been working on a project developing a new plant hydraulic scheme for the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) vegetation model. This new hydraulic scheme, called Stomatal Optimisation of Xylem model (SOX), optimises stomatal opening by maximising carbon gain whilst minimising the risk of cavitation in the plants hydraulic system.