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Workshop on culturomics

I attended a workshop on using culturomics to gather information on the social dimensions of plant invasions. The workshop was held at the Institute of Botany, Pruhonice, Czech Republic, April 2022. It was great to see colleagues old and new again!

First Lab Group meal out

Last night we had our first Lab Group social, March 2022. As the team has grown over the last year so too will the socials, I hope!

First large grant as PI awarded

Just found out that our bid for Natural Environment Research Council funded has been awarded!! This is my first large grant (£100K) as Principal Investigator, Dec 2021. This work will focus on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the field. More updates soon!

Mangrove Resilience Workshop

At the end of Nov 2021 we welcomed 25 participants to our ‘Building Ecological Resilience in Vulnerable Mangroves of the Indian Sundarbans: Sustainable and Equitable Management of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the era of Climate Change’ workshop funded by British Council Newton-Bhabha Fund and led by Dr Marion Pfiefer and Dr Krishna Ray.

Scotland Horizon Scan

I am delighted to be a part of the expert panel for aquatic plant invasions and contribute to the Scottish Horizon Scan work led by CEH in Oct 2021.

Viva examination

At the end of Sep 2021 I examined another PhD thesis as an external examiner. This was for Eithne Davis at Sligo. Eithne’s work was SO interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed this! Sad to have missed out on in person celebrations.

THREE new PhD students

I am excited to welcome three new PhD students to the group! Lizzie Keen starts this month, Sep 2021, to work on managing plant invasions in Ancient Woodlands. Jack Morris starts in Jan 2022 working on riverbank erosion in invaded rivers, alongside Salome Ojunga who is moving from Kenya to Newcastle to work on land use change impacts on freshwater habitats.

In July 2021 I finally nailed down some lab space for our group. It was an old wet lab storage cupboard but we have made it home. It has an old retro lab feel and I am starting to build up our equipment when money is available. This feels like a huge deal for me. Excited to get to work in it!

External examiner for PhD thesis

In June 2021 I examined my first PhD thesis for the fantastic Dr Sophie Hocking at Swansea University, Wales. This was an amazing experience!

European Pond Conference

In May 2021 I presented, virtually, some of my postdoctoral work on hotspots of pollution in urban lakes and ponds at the European Plant Conference. Lots of great talks!

IPBES Invasive alien species assessment

I have been contributing evidence for the IPBES IAS assessment during March 2021 – focused on spread of aquatic invasive plants. Thrilled to have some small part in this fantastic policy initiative.

Online teaching preparation

Currently spending time creating online teaching material due to the covid pandemic. We have been filming content for a virtual online undergraduate field course in Gosforth Nature Reserve, Feb 2021.

Invited research talk at Swansea Uni, Wales

I gave a research talk at Swansea University in Jan 2021. Was good to meet new and familiar faces! I wish it had been in person.

New PhD student

September 2020: Ava Waine started her PhD in the group! Ava’s research is focused on bulk water transfer schemes and the risk these pose to invasive species spread.

Permanent academic appointment

On the 30th of July 2020, I was offered an open ended research and teaching contract at Newcastle University, in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences!


Well….we all know this story…all research trips are currently on hold and hopefully not cancelled. Spending time with students working on their dissertation projects and developing online teaching material as part of the Flexible Learning Group working group. Also, trying to write papers!

MISSE research project

We have been awarded funding to look at changes in soil biota with climate change in Finland in August 2020. This work is in collaboration with Portsmouth University.

Pump prime funding awarded

March 2020: I have been awarded some funding to pump prime a project in Malawi- this will be looking at the impacts of invasive alien plants on food security and I am so excited about building collaborations both in the UK and abroad! The money will also enable me to buy a water quality meter woop!!

Business engagement funding awarded

November 2019: I have been awarded some funding to collaborate with the Woodland trust on a project assessing alternative management strategies of Himalayan balsam in ancient woodlands in the North East of England. Watch this space!

RENKEI workshop, Newcastle University

I was offered a place at a workshop which aims to build collaborations between Japanese and UK universities. I will be presenting a funding pitch to the British Council too. A first!

UPDATE: Our project was not funded this time but it was a good experience pitching live for funding…and nerve wrecking!

Women writing groups, Newcastle University

For the next 3 months, starting in October 2019 I will be attending the Women Writing Groups. The groups support academic women with their writing and research. The groups are based on a model developed by the Indiana University Women Faculty Writing Group and Texas Tech University’s Women Faculty Writing Programme.

Policy Fellows Programme 2020, Newcastle University

From January 2020 I will be learning about policy in research. The programme is targeted at early career researchers involved in or new to policy, who are keen to develop their own toolkits and networks; and to examine how their work might inform policy.

UPDATE: I am now a Policy Academy Fellow as of Sept 2021!

InvaCost workshop, Paris

In November I will be attending the InvaCost workshop in Paris, using a new dataset to look at the economic costs associated with invasive alien species globally.


New job: Lecturer, Newcastle University

In June I start my first Lectureship at Newcastle University with a focus on Masters teaching and postgraduate mentorship, as well as developing my research.

EMAPi Invasive alien plant conference, Prague

I will be presenting our latest work on global patterns of aquatic invasive alien plants at EMAPi in September 2019.

Research trip to China

Heading to Wuhan Botanical Gardens in China, in March 2019, on a research visit to collaborate with colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and develop new projects.

Research trip to South Africa

Off to Rhodes University in Grahams Town, Eastern Cape in September 2018, to meet researchers at the Centre for Biological Control.

TWO successful grants bids

We have just been awarded two grant bids from the University of Stirling and Carnegie to start work on determining drivers of global invasion hotspots of aquatic plants. This work will be in collaboration with Durham University.

Top 20 most downloaded paper

Our paper in Weed Research was in the top 20 most downloaded between 2016 and 2017. Feeling chuffed!

Editors’ Award 2018

Our paper in Applied Vegetation Science was shortlisted for the Editors’ award!

Aquatic Plants Conference: Queenstown, New Zealand

I will be presenting my PhD research on rivers as battlefields at the international symposium of aquatic plants in New Zealand alongside some past and present lab members, Feb 2018.

Structural Equation Modelling for Ecologists

Myself and a few other Hydroscape researchers will be honing our SEM skills in October 2017, Wales.

BES Symposium 2017: The Macroecology of Alien Species

I will be attending the BES symposium on the 25th and 26th of July in Durham. Looking forward to meeting fellow invasion biologists.

Summer Hydroscape fieldwork

Summer 2017 fieldwork is starting soon! Excited to get back out sampling lakes in Cumbria and Glasgow.

Graduation 2017

I will finally be able to call myself Dr. on the 28th June 2017!

Powerboat License

June 2017 sees myself and fellow Hydroscape researchers learning how to use a powerboat for sampling…and pleasure!

Real Scientists

From the 4th June 2017 I will be tweeting about all things invasive and bacterial in UK freshwater systems on @realscientists, including progress on the Hydroscape project.

Scottish Ecology, Environment & Conservation Conference 2017

Our lab group will be attending the Scottish Ecology, Environment & Conservation Conference at Aberdeen University on the 3/4 April. I will be presenting an essence poster of the recent Hydroscape work undertaken over the Scottish winter.

Guest lecture

I will be giving a guest lecture to plant ecology undergrads on the perils and misfortunes of invasive alien plant species, March 27th, venue TBC.

Science fair

The Science Grrl Science Fair will be taking place on March 18th 2017 in the Atrium of Stirling University. Science outreach aimed to entice kids into STEM subjects.

Seminar: PhD results

On February 21st 2017 I will be giving a seminar on the key findings of my PhD work in 4U5 Cottrell building, Stirling University.

January Hydroscape fieldwork

Winter 2017 fieldwork has ended, for now. Tales from the frozen field found here.

PhD viva

The dreaded viva is looming…December 2016…

UPDATE: Viva passed!

I’m a scientist get me out of here!

I will be a contestant on “I’m a scientist get me out of here!” in November. Between the 7th-18th of November 2016 I will be answering questions from kids across the UK on all things plant based. Nervous!

UPDATE: I won in the plant zone and now have £500 to spend on excited!


From the 24th October 2016 I will be tweeting all things invasive and disease in freshwater systems throughout the UK for @Biotweeps, including progress on the Hydroscape project.

Glasgow Hydroscape fieldwork

Sediment coring and water sampling in lochs across Glasgow will start in October 2016. Looking forward to getting muddy in a boat for 2 months.

Norfolk Hydroscape fieldwork

Winter sampling in Norfolk will be starting on the 2nd of October 2016. Looking forward to a bit of frost rather than horseflies!

PhD submission …

…is looming..aiming for September 2016.

UPDATE: PhD thesis submitted on the 29th September 2016..Phew!

Biology field course

In September 2016 I will be running the plant ID section of an undergraduate biology field course in Lochearnhead. Secretly hoping for the odd invasive along Ogle Burn.

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