Organisms and environment

We focus on the biology of whole organisms and their roles and interactions in changing ecosystems, in infection and health and at the genetic level.

Our aim is to understand the ecological, health and genetic consequences of environmental change on biological diversity. Our approach is to focus on processes and prediction, combining ecological, experimental and molecular approaches, in contrasting groups of organisms. PhD projects tend to be multidisciplinary in nature, and range from field ecology to experimental microbiology to population genomics.

We have a field centre in Sabah, Malaysia and we are also responsible for maintaining the School's Molecular Biology and Analytical support facilities. Many projects are run in collaboration with Universities and Research Institutes elsewhere in the UK and abroad as well as with other departments within Cardiff University (such as Earth and Ocean Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, Social Sciences, City and Regional Planning).

Research areas

All the major groups are studied, including animals, plants, and microorganisms; bacteria, archaea, protozoa, and fungi. Research is broadly divided into three groups:

  • Genomes, Diversity and Adaptation
  • Individuals, Ecosystems and Global Change
  • Microbes, Infection and Communities

Our research areas include:

  • Microbial and soil ecology
  • Microbial communities in sediments and deep sub-seafloor
  • Endangered species research
  • Genomics, metagenomics, population and environmental genetics of plants, animals and microbes
  • Ecotoxicology in aquatic and terrestrial environments
  • Community ecology including pest management
  • Interactions between organisms and their food resources
  • Behavioural and evolutionary ecology
  • Chemical ecology, waste management and bioremediation
  • Population dynamics in freshwater and terrestrial systems
  • Predator-prey and host-parasite interactions
  • Epidemiology and pathogenesis, including medically important bacteria

Staff members

NameArea of interest
Professor Andy Weightman - Head of DivisionGenetic adaptation of microbes to environmental challenges, sub-surface molecular microbiology, molecular systematics and metagenomics.
Dr Hefin Jones - Deputy Head of DivisionCommunity ecology, climate change, entomology, microbial/soil ecology.
Dr Colin BerryEnzyme targets for antiparasitic drugs. Insecticidal protein toxins from Bacillus species.
Dr Kelly BéruBéToxicogenomics of airborne pollutants.
Professor Lynne BoddyFungal community ecology, forest pathology, use of neural networks in species identification.
Professor Michael W. Bruford Molecular ecology, conservation biology, adaptation.
Professor Jo Cable - Divisional Postgraduate TutorHost-parasite interactions, molecular and behavioural ecology.
Dr Elizabeth ChadwickCardiff University Otter Project.
Dr Tom ConnorPopulation genomics of bacterial pathogens, bioinformatics and translational microbiology.
Dr Isabelle DuranceEcosystem ecology, landscape ecology, sustainability.
Dr Beatrix FahnertAcademic CPD including PRLT, academic culture, change management, individual / institutional recognition / accreditation, employability, internationalisation, virulence, pathogenesis, prevention and therapy of infections.
Dr Benoit GoossensMolecular evolution, molecular ecology and behavioural ecology.
Dr Sian GriffithsFish biology, behavioural ecology.
Dr Frank HailerMolecular ecology. Evolutionary genetics. Conservation biology. Phylogeography. Hybridization. Mammals, birds.
Dr Rhys JonesHerpetology.
Professor Peter KilleHeavy metal stress, metallobiology, eco-toxico-genomics.
Dr Joanne LelloCo-infection biology, host pathogen relationships, community ecology.
Professor David LloydEukaryotic microbiology, control of energy metabolism; oscillations, rhythms and clocks.
Professor Esh Mahenthiralingam Bacterial infectious diseases and molecular microbiology.
Professor Julian MarchesiMicrobiology of the gut, bioactive agents from marine sponges.
Dr Renata Medeiros-MirraSeabird ecology and climate change.
Dr Andy MorbyMicrobes and metals, Cyclic di-GMP signalling and bacterial stress responses.
Dr Carsten MüllerChemical ecology, environmental chemistry, waste management.
Professor Steve OrmerodRiver catchment ecology and avian biology.
Dr Pablo Orozco ter WengelGenomics, adaptation, conservation.
Dr Sarah PerkinsEcology of wildlife diseases, network science, real-time dynamics of infections using reporters, invasive species of ecology.
Dr Peter RandersonLandscape ecology.
Dr Julia Sanchez VilasEcology and evolution of plant sexual systems, sexual dimorphism, cost of reproduction, plant responses to stress, plant ecophysiology, plant population dynamics.
Dr Natalia Sevane Fernandez 
Professor Bill SymondsonCommunity ecology, predator prey relationships, pest management.
Dr Rob ThomasAvian behaviour, ecosystems and climate.
Dr Ian VaughanRiver catchment ecology, biostatistics.