My current project aims to address how diversification of agriculture, e.g. crop rotations, organic inputs etc., can influence crop yields and/or ecosystem services. I will be using long-term agricultural experiments sourced from across Europe to gain a deeper understanding of the trends and dynamics involved in diversified agriculture. My supervisor is Prof. Riccardo Bommarco and we work in collaboration with Dr. Giulia Vico, Prof. Sara Hallin and Prof. Lorenzo Marini.
I completed my PhD at the University of Adelaide in South Australia with supervisors Assoc. Prof. José Facelli and Assoc. Prof. Timothy Cavagnaro. My thesis explored different aspects of restoring abandoned farmland into native grasslands with a main focus of amending soil conditions to favour native plants. Topics included community ecology, invasion ecology, niche partitioning and plant-soil interactions.
I coadvise PhD candidate Janina Heinen. Her project will examine the combined effect of diversification with organic soil amendment (fertilisation with manure) and/or crop rotation on pest control and multiple ecosystem services at the field scale.
Smith M. E., Facelli J. M., Cavagnaro T. R. (2018), Interactions between soil properties, soil microbes and plants in remnant and old-field soils: a reciprocal transplant approach, Plant and Soil, 433:1-2, 127–145
Smith M.E., Delean S., Cavagnaro T. R., Facelli J. M. (2018), Evidence for species-specific plant responses to soil microbial communities from remnant and degraded land provides promise for restoration, Austral Ecology, 43:3, 301-308