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John Senior



My research interests reside in investigating how genetic variation within and among dominant tree species can not only influence the expression of traits within individual trees, but flow on to affect the responses of plant species to global change, communities of dependent organisms and ecosystem processes. With such knowledge, I aim to improve our understanding of how ecological communities are structured as well as inform forest management practices and restoration under a changing climate.

Current projects:  

  1. Does Norway spruce (Picea abies) exhibit genetic variation in the way it affects soil chemistry and soil microbial communities and can these effects influence the performance of future forest generations?

  2. Can selection and breeding for increased growth in Norway spruce affect the expression of other ecologically important traits and its interactions with communities and ecosystem processes?

  3. How do different forest management practices influence soil chemistry, fungal communities and the performance of future forest generations?

Selected publications

Refereed Publications

Senior JK, Potts BM, O’Reilly-Wapstra JM, Bissett A, Wooliver RC, Bailey JK, Glen M, Schweitzer JA (2018) Phylogenetic trait conservatism predicts patterns of plant-soil feedback. Ecosphere, 9:e02409.

Axelsson PE and Senior JK (2018) The extended consequences of genetic conductivity: Mating distance affects community phenotypes in Norway spruce. Ecology and Evolution, DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4616.

Wooliver RC, Senior JK, Potts BM, van Nuland ME, Bailey JK, Schweitzer JA (2018) Soil fungi underlie a phylogenetic pattern in plant growth responses to nitrogen enrichment. Journal of Ecology, 106: 2161-2175.

Senior JK, O’Reilly-Wapstra JM, Schweitzer JA, Bailey JK, Potts BM (2018) Forest fire may disrupt plant-soil feedbacks. Plant Ecology, 219: 497-504.

Wooliver RC, Marion ZH, Peterson CR, Potts BM, Senior JK, Bailey JK, Schweitzer JA (2017) Phylogeny is a powerful tool for predicting plant biomass responses to nitrogen enrichment. Ecology, 98: 2120-2132.

Senior JK, Potts BM, Davies NW, Wooliver RC, Schweitzer JA, Bailey JK, O’Reilly-Wapstra JM (2016) Phylogeny explains variation in the root chemistry of Eucalyptus species. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 42: 1086-1097.

Wooliver RC, Senior JK, Schweitzer JA, O’Reilly-Wapstra JM, Langley JA, Chapman SK, Bailey JK (2014) Evolutionary history and novel biotic interactions determine plant responses to elevated CO2 and nitrogen fertilization. PloS one 9: e114596.

Genung M, Schweitzer JA, Senior JK, O’Reilly-Wapstra JM, Chapman S, Langley, A and Bailey JK (2014) When ranges collide: Evolutionary history, phylogenetic community interactions, global change factors and range size differentially affect plant productivity. Invited to “Eco-evolutionary Dynamics” J Moya-Laraño, J Rowntree, G Woodward (eds), Advances in Ecological Research, 50, UK: Academic Press.

Senior JK, Schweitzer JA, O’Reilly-Wapstra JM, Chapman SK, Steane D, Langley A, Bailey JK (2013)Phylogenetic responses of forest trees to global change. PloS one 8:e60088