Robin Hayward is a tropical plant ecologist and PhD researcher based at the University Of Stirling in Scotland. They study the dynamics of seedling community recovery in selectively logged Malaysian rain forests, working with the South East Asian Rainforest Research Partnership to collect data in the field. As part of their research, Robin has established a set of permanent seedling plots around the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Borneo, providing a long term baseline for the dynamic processes of trees in their youngest age class, which will continue to provide data for years to come.
Robin graduated from the University of York in 2016 with a Masters degree in Environmental Science and a keen interest in tropical ecology. Since discovering this passion, Robin has worked at sites in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Dominica to uncover the ways in which plants are able to shape their environments and support complex and diverse ecosystems. Robin is an enthusiast of professional tree climbing and exploration of the canopy ecosystem, both at home in Scotland and in the dizzying heights of tropical forests. This led to their first publication on the relationship between epiphytes and host trees in Indonesia, and to a life of hanging out in the branches of some of the biggest organisms alive today.
As well as conducting academic research, Robin is heavily involved with science communication activities both online and in person. Having previously worked for a scientific expedition company, catering primarily for 16-18 year olds, Robin has enjoyed guiding young scientists through their first experiences of field work and passing on some ecological expertise to the general public. They now look for opportunities wherever they can to put a little more environmental enthusiasm out in to the world.
Post-doctoral Research Associate
Tom is an ecosystem ecologist investigating the changing carbon cycle in the Arctic. Tom studied his BSc in Biology at the University of Sheffield, followed by his Research Masters in Ecology and Environmental Management at the University of York in 2010/11. Tom went onto do complete his PhD at Stirling in 2015 looking at the ecological controls of rhizosphere processes and soil organic matter dynamics at a sub-arctic treeline, followed by a position as a post-doctoral research associate at The Ecosystem Centre, in Massachusetts, USA from 2015-2017 and currently works as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Stirling.
Tom’s previous work in the tundra of Alaska focused on the ecology and adaptation of arctic plants. The climate in the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on earth and his group’s research indicates that arctic plants may struggle to keep up with this change.
As the arctic climate warms, tall shrubs are expanding north into the tundra. Tom’s research aims to understand how these changes in tundra plant community will impact carbon cycling in the soil. Artic soils represent one of the largest global stores of carbon and a major question Tom aims to answer is how the increasing plant activity in the tundra will affect this soil carbon store.