Miss Sarah Watts

Tutor

Biological and Environmental Sciences Stirling

Miss Sarah Watts

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About me

I am a plant ecologist with a strong focus on upland vegetation, restoration ecology and applied science. My work combines population and community dynamics, conservation management and habitat restoration underpinned and informed by academic research. I am highly experienced in fieldwork, botany and biological recording, but also incorporate tools from a range of spatial and temporal scales from molecular genetics through to remote sensing.

My research features the following:

• The development and implementation of pioneering techniques for upland habitat restoration, including revegetation of eroded bare peat

• Understanding the effects of landscape-scale large herbivore management on the restoration and natural regeneration of degraded plant communities, such as tall herbs, woodland and scrub

• Long-term population monitoring of nationally rare high-altitude arctic-alpine plants, particularly those at the edge of their global range in Britain which are vulnerable to climate change effects

• Investigating the relationship between spectra (light reflectance) and plant species richness and diversity

I am working as the Conservation Manager at Corrour, a 23,000 ha highland estate, and am also researching my PhD “Improving outcomes in montane woodland restoration”. This project aims to aid the development of conservation management techniques to restore healthy and sustainable upland tree populations in Britain. It investigates the influence of abiotic and biotic environmental variables, habitat type and mycorrhizal associations on the survival, growth rates and natural regeneration of two major component species of montane woodland and scrub in Scotland; downy willow (Salix lapponum) and dwarf birch (Betula nana). This will form part of ongoing work to facilitate the long-term resilience and expansion of the treeline ecotone. Outputs will include recommendations to be incorporated into management plans and Best Practice guidelines for landowners undertaking woodland restoration in the uplands.

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