ProjectResilience and Regime Shifts in Peatland Communities

Professor Richard Bardgett
University of Manchester

Co-PIs & Co-Is

Co-PIs and co-Is
Professor Nick Ostle, Lancaster University
Dr. Franciska de Vries, University of Manchester
Project Researcher

Aims & Objectives

This project will use a unique warming vegetation manipulation experiment on blanket peat at Moor House National Nature Reserve.  This has been running since 2008 so long term effects of warming can be seen.  This project will use these field experiments to investigate if:

  • Long term climate warming makes soils and their microbial communities more vulnerable to, and less able to recover from extreme climate events
  • Long-term effects of climate on soils and their microbial communities make them more vulnerable to transitions, or regime shifts from one state to another
  • These regime shifts degrade the functions that soils perform, for example their ability to store carbon
  • The effects of climate change on soil functioning can be dampened, for instance through changing the management of vegetation


Richard was appointed Professor of Ecology at Manchester in 2013 and his main research interest is the study of plant-soil interactions and their impact on nutrient cycling and plant community dynamics in natural and managed ecosystems.  You can find out more about Richard here.


Ellen Fry

Grassland ecologist

Ellen Fry is a grassland ecologist whose research focuses on the effects of community manipulation and drought upon carbon stocks and fluxes, water use efficiency and soil fertility. Specifically she has experience of how plant functional effects traits interact with global change drivers to impact ecosystem function in grasslands. She is familiar with a range of broad range of techniques including statistics, gas flux measurements, gas chromatography, PLFA analysis, DNA extraction and processing.