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Organisms and Environment

The Organisms and Environment research division focuses on the biology of whole organisms and their roles and interactions in changing ecosystems, in infection and health and at the genetic level. Our aim is to understand the ecological, health and genetic consequences of environmental change on biological diversity. Our approach is to focus on processes and prediction, combining ecological, experimental and molecular approaches, in contrasting groups of organisms. All the major groups are studied, including animals, plants, and microorganisms, including bacteria, archaea, protozoa, and fungi. Research areas are broadly divided into three areas: 

  1. Genomes, Diversity and Adaptation
  2. Individuals, Ecosystems and Global Change
  3. Microbes, Infection and Communities
Organisms and Environment logo

PhD projects tend to be multidisciplinary in nature, and range from field ecology to experimental microbiology to population genomics. The group has a field centre in Sabah, Malaysia and O&E faculty are also responsible for maintaining the School’s Molecular Biology and Analytical support facilities. In this large and lively research division, many projects are run in collaboration with Universities and Research Institutes elsewhere in the UK and abroad as well as with other departments (such as Earth and Ocean Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, Social Sciences, City and Regional Planning) within the University.

Professor Michael W. Bruford (Head of Division)
Molecular ecology, conservation biology, adaptation

Professor Andy Weightman (Deputy Head of Division)
Genetic adaptation of microbes to environmental challenges, sub-surface molecular microbiology, molecular systematics and metagenomics

Dr Hefin Jones (Acting Deputy Head of Division)
Community ecology, climate change, entomology, microbial/soil ecology

Dr Colin Berry
Enzyme targets for antiparasitic drugs. Insecticidal protein toxins from Bacillus species

Dr Kelly BéruBé
Toxicogenomics of airborne pollutants 

Professor Lynne Boddy
Fungal community ecology, forest pathology, use of neural networks in species identification

Professor Jo Cable (Divisional Postgraduate Tutor)
Host-parasite interactions, molecular and behavioural ecology

Dr Elizabeth Chadwick
Cardiff University Otter Project

Dr Tom Connor
Population genomics of bacterial pathogens, bioinformatics and translational microbiology

Dr Isabelle Durance
Ecosystem ecology, landscape ecology, sustainability

Dr Marianne Gabirot
Chemical communication in seabirds and reptiles

Dr Benoit Goossens
Molecular evolution, molecular ecology and behavioural ecology

Dr Sian Griffiths
Fish biology, behavioural ecology

Dr Rhys Jones

Professor Peter Kille
Heavy metal stress, metallobiology, eco-toxico-genomics

Dr Joanne Lello
Co-infection biology, host pathogen relationships, community ecology

Dr Alberto Maceda-Veiga

Professor David Lloyd
Eukaryotic microbiology, control of energy metabolism; oscillations, rhythms and clocks

Professor Esh Mahenthiralingam (Divisional Postgraduate Tutor)
Bacterial infectious diseases and molecular microbiology

Dr Julian Marchesi
Microbiology of the gut, bioactive agents from marine sponges

Dr Andy Morby
Microbes and metals, Cyclic di-GMP signalling and bacterial stress responses

Dr Carsten Müller 
Chemical ecology, environmental chemistry, waste management

Professor Steve Ormerod
River catchment ecology and avian biology

Dr Pablo Orozco ter Wengel
Genomics, adaptation, conservation

Dr Sarah Perkins
Ecology of wildlife diseases, network science, real-time dynamics of infections using reporters, invasive species of ecology

Dr Peter Randerson
Landscape ecology

Dr Julia Sanchez Vilas
Ecology and evolution of plant sexual systems, sexual dimorphism, cost of reproduction, plant responses to stress, plant ecophysiology, plant population dynamics

Professor Bill Symondson
Community ecology, predator prey relationships, pest management

Dr Rob Thomas
Avian behaviour, ecosystems and climate

Dr Ian Vaughan
River catchment ecology, biostatistics


Affiliated Teaching Staff

Research Areas

  • Microbial and soil ecology
  • Microbial communities in sediments and deep sub-seafloor
  • Endangered species research
  • Genomics, metagenomics, population and environmental genetics of plants, animals and microbes
  • Ecotoxicology in aquatic and terrestrial environments
  • Community ecology including pest management
  • Interactions between organisms and their food resources
  • Behavioural and evolutionary ecology
  • Chemical ecology, waste management and bioremediation
  • Population dynamics in freshwater and terrestrial systems
  • Predator-prey and host-parasite interactions
  • Epidemiology and pathogenesis, including medically important bacteria