Team Shrub

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To join “Team Shrub”, contact Isla Myers-Smith! Check out PhD opportunities here.

 Isla.jpgIsla H. Myers-Smith

Chancellor’s Fellow
Global Change Research Group
School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh
113 Crew Building, The King’s Buildings
West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JN
phone: +44 (0) 131 650 7251
e-mail: isla.myers-smith (at)

I study the influence of warming climate on tundra vegetation in northern ecosystems. In particular, I investigate the spread of willows and other shrub species into arctic and alpine tundra.

AnneBAnne Bjorkman

German Synthesis Centre for Biodiversity Science (sDiv)
e-mail: annebj (at)

Anne is working with the sTUNDRA Working Group to explore climate as a driver of tundra shrub expansion by combining vegetation surveys, dendroecological data, plant species traits and climate data with ‘greeness’ trends in satellite imagery. In particular, Anne is exploring biogeographic patterns in plant traits and community-weighted trait change over time in tundra plant communities.

SAB-1024Sandra Angers-Blondin

School of GeoSciences
University of Edinburgh
E-mail: S.Angers-Blondin (at)

Sandra is exploring the influence of competition on the growth of shrubs at tundra sites across Canada. She is using a canopy removal experiment and mapping shrub plots to look at the influence of neighbours on the climate sensitivity of individuals, using growth-ring analyses.

photoHaydn Thomas

NERC E3 DTP PhD Student
School of GeoSciences
University of Edinburgh
E-mail: haydn.thomas (at)

Haydn is studying the drivers and and rates of tundra vegetation change, and the impacts this will have on decomposition rates and carbon cycling. He is combining long-term vegetation monitoring, plant trait data, a litter experiment and a common garden experiment.

jakobhandstand (1)Jakob Assmann

NERC E3 DTP PhD Student
School of Biological Science
The University of Edinburgh
Co-Supervison with Richard Ennos and Ally Phillimore
E-mail: j.assmann (at)

Jakob is studying the controls of plant phenology change and tundra greening across spatial scales and the potential importance of local adaptation on plant phenology across latitudinal gradients.

DamienDamien Georges

Programmer/Data scientist
School of GeoSciences
University of Edinburgh

Damien is working with satellite imagery (NDVI), climate and species occurrence, abundance and growth data to test the correspondence between on-the-ground and remotely-sensed measures of tundra productivity.

MeaganMeagan Grabowski

MSc Student (committee member)
Biodiversity Research Centre
University of British Columbia
6270 University Blvd.
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada

Meagan uses dendroecology of boreal shrub species to test the relative importance of three factors in controlling shrub growth: 1) fertilization, 2) hare herbivory, and 3) growing season temperatures.

BenjaminBenjamin Marquis

MSc Student (committee member)
Département de biologie
Université de Sherbrooke
2500, boulevard de l’Université
Sherbrooke, Québec, J1K 2R1, Canada

Benjamin is studying the climate sensitivity of tree growth at treeline in Southern Quebec.

SanteriSanteri Lehtonen

Honours Dissertation Student 2015
University of Edinburgh
Ecology and Environmental Science Programme

Santeri explored phenology change and tundra greening on Herschel Island for his dissertation, and is a field assistant for 2015

Version 2Joe Boyle

Pre-Honours Student
University of Edinburgh
Ecology and Environmental Science Programme

Joe is the team shrub field assistant for the 2015 field season, he enjoys reading and long walks on the beach (and herbivory protocols…)

Version 2Clara Flintrop

Field Research Assistant 2014

Clara was the team shrub field assistant for the 2014 field season in the Yukon Territory.

Version 2Louise Beveridge

Field Research Assistant 2013
Research Assistant, Open Data Project

Louise was the team shrub field assistant for the 2013 field season.  In addition, she explored the prevalence of publicly accessible data in the global change ecology literature.

JennyLoweJenny Lowe

Honours Dissertation Student
University of Edinburgh
Ecology and Environmental Science Programme

Jenny explored community-weighted specific leaf area change on Herschel Island and sites around the Western Arctic.

Field Research Blog – Summer 2014
Field Research Blog – Summer 2013
Shrub Hub – I am involved with international collaborations with researchers working at sites around the tundra biome. We work to synthesize tundra vegetation change and in particular to quantify tundra shrub dynamics.
Sarah Elmendorf, NEON – Sarah and I are co-coordinators of the Tundra Scaling Working Group funded by the German Synthesis Centre for Biodiversity Science (sDiv). The goal of the working group is to integrate on-the-ground vegetation surveys and dendroecological data with satellite imagery to ask whether wide-spread ‘greening’ observed in climatically sensitive tundra ecosystems reflects increased shrub growth caused by warming.
Hugues Lantuit, AWI – Hugues, his research group and I work together in the field and are exploring permafrost-vegetation dynamics on Herschel Island, Yukon.
Mark Vellend, Université de Sherbrooke – Mark, his research group and I are collaborating to look at the climate sensitivity of tree species along elevational gradients in Southern Quebec and with a group of collaborators to explore local-scale changes in plant species richness at sites around the world.
Virve Ravolainen, Norwegian Polar Institute – Virve and I are working with others to develop shrub monitoring protocols for tundra ecosystems.
Sonja Wipf and Christian Rixen, WSL-SLF – Sonja, Christian and I and other collaborators are interested in investigating biodiversity changes in species richness, composition and plant traits in tundra ecosystems.