The QMEE CDT Project proposal database

Welcome to the QMEE CDT Project proposal database. This is a live list of projects proposals put forward by PIs across the CDT partner institutions

PIs/Supervisors will continue to add projects to this list over the next few months, so do keep checking back! You can search the projects using the box below: simply enter some text and press Search to do a text search across all the database fields. If you want to search more finely, the search tool also allows you to search on particular details of the project descriptions: you will see these finer search options appear if you click on the search box.

Click on the view button next to a project to get the full proposal description. If you want to download project details, either for all projects, or for a subset you have searched for, then click on the 'Download details' button.

Surveillance of fungi for management and policy.
This project will combine cutting-edge ecological modelling, a large new continental-scale distribution dataset built from combined morphological and DNA analysis of plant-associated fungi, and an intensive long-term and in situ environmental monitoring dataset from the International Co-operative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests (ICP Forests, www.icp-forests.net) (CASE partner 1). In collaboration with the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC, www.jncc.gov.uk) (CASE partner 2), we will use these models to transform our understanding of the current and future spatial and environmental patterns of fungal-plant associations and develop improved surveillance, management and conservation strategies. The project addresses critical skill gaps in numeracy and translating research into practice and policy. Currently, our lack of knowledge about the geographic ranges of fungi is a widely-acknowledged significant barrier to both research and management that this project is designed to overcome. By making a leap in our understanding of fungal distribution and status, the proposed research project addresses a major weakness in our evidence base. The project builds on previous and current NERC standard grants to the supervisors. Specifically, we ask what are the likely responses of dominant fungi to environmental change and how will they affect the long-term spatial cohesion of communities? Environmental change has modified the distributions of many animals and plants and it is likely that fungal distributions also respond. The few studies on climate envelope modelling and predictive mapping of fungi have used observations of fruit bodies which provide only a limited view. However, as far as we know, no study has mapped the geographic distribution of species using below-ground data. Equally, no study has used distribution data to predict the future ranges of tree-associated fungi as a result of global change despite many expected declines (eg Tricholoma, Suillus, Cantharellus, Boletus, Cortinarius spp.) and expansions (eg Thelephora, Paxillus, Lactarius, Laccaria spp.). Due to the now widely acknowledged keystone role of fungi for tree nutrient uptake, global C and N cycling, and below-ground food webs and processes, changes in the distributions of fungi may have profound functional consequences at the ecosystem level. Given the observed sensitivity of fungi to for example temperature and nitrogen pollution, and recent alarming reports of deteriorating tree nutritional status in Europe, it is therefore urgent to establish the potential responses of dominant plant-associated fungi to major components of global change.
Martin Bidartondo
David Orme
Paul Woodcock, JNCC, paul.woodcock@jncc.gov.uk; Walter Seidling, ICP Forests, walter.seidling@thuenen.de
Computing, Quantitative data analysis, Ecological observations / data collection, Evolutionary observations / data collection
David Orme
Combine data from intensively-monitored plots with GIS data. Ensemble approach to distribution modelling; MAXENT, regression (eg GAMs), machine learning (eg GBMs; random forest). K-fold cross-validation on training and test partitions; receiver operating curve statistics (eg AUC). Hurdle models on relative abundance. Re-project models on projected TYN SC 1.0 at a number of time steps.
So far, no study has mapped the geographic distribution of fungi using below-ground data or used below-ground distribution data to predict the future of plant-fungal interactions as a result of global change. We move beyond the soil black box, where our limited understanding of taxonomic and functional diversity responses generates uncertainty and leads to problems in management.
Development of new methods required to analyse spatial, environmental and phylogenetic data. This proposal presents an unusual opportunity to combine macro-ecological and macro-evolutionary perspectives with the more explicitly process-driven understanding of diversity arising from functional ecology.
We will generate fundamental data that we usually take for granted with animals and plants. The project aims to directly inform spatial conservation planning, evaluating soil health, reporting under international biodiversity agreements, and the development and evaluation of policy and management recommendations through national and international CASE partners.
As a UK-scale body, JNCC will ensure relevance of the project to each of the country conservation agencies (ie Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Natural Resources Wales, Northern Ireland Environment Agency). Through ICP Forests, the project reaches out to relevant European forest management agencies.
We connect spatial variation in distribution, environmental attributes determining distribution, and predicted future changes in distribution. For the first time, we take advantage of one of the largest monitoring networks to address a knowledge gap in biogeography by carrying out research on distributions under pressing threats: soil eutrophication, organic matter decline and climate change.
Climate and climate change, Conservation ecology, Ecological/Evolutionary tools, technology & methods
Training in monitoring databases, statistics, modelling, bioinformatics, phylogenetics, management and conservation policy will be offered.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Richmond), Imperial College London (Silwood Park), Joint Nature Conservation Committee (Peterborough), Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries (Braunschweig)
Yes
2017-09-29 10:36:11