I am currently visiting my Formas mobility hosts Tim Machline and Ian Clark at Rothamsted Research, UK, looking at the effects of wheat dwarfing on the root microbiome. We are particularly interested in how changes in fungi or bacteria, due to this domestication event, has impacted modern wheat's ability to whithstand stress. I will be returning to Sweden in July 2023 to continue the project with my collaborator Mohammad Bahram and others at the Soil Ecology Unit.
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 then took a postdoc at SLU that looked at how diversification of agriculture, e.g. crop rotations, organic inputs etc., can influence crop yields and/or ecosystem services, such as nitrogen cycling. I used long-term agricultural experiments sourced from across Europe and the US to gain a deeper understanding of the trends and dynamics involved in diversified agriculture. My supervisor was Prof. Riccardo Bommarco and we worked in collaboration with Dr. Giulia Vico, Prof. Sara Hallin among others.
I coadvise PhD candidates Janina Heinen and Alessio Costa. Janina's project examines 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. Alessio is exploring how crop diversification can buffer crop yields from extreme weather events.
Smith M. E., Pound L. M. , Facelli J. M. (2021), Resource pre‐emption, rather than extending the growing season of native grass assemblages, reduces invasion by exotic species, Applied Vegetation Science 24 (4), e12613
Smith M. E., Cavagnaro T. R., Christmas M. J., Pound L. M., Facelli J. M. (2021), Site preparation impacts on soil biotic and abiotic properties, weed control, and native grass establishment, Restoration Ecology 29 (1), e13297
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