Dr Fred Slater
From 1970 Fred Slater worked in the then Department of Botany and Microbiology at what is now Aberystwyth University where he investigated the surface ecology of mid-Wales peatlands. In 1974 he crossed the Cambrian Mountains to take up his present position as Director of Llysdinam Field Centre, now an integral part of the Cardiff School of Biosciences.
Over the years his research interests have broadened from the purely botanical of his Aberystwyth days but he has been involved in the description of the only distinct species of native flower plant to be added to the flora of England and Wales in the twentieth century; the description of a new plant association from ephemeral upland pools, and more recently research into biomass crops so retaining his botanical credentials.
Some opportunistic research in the 1970’s made it clear how little was known of amphibian distribution and ecology and lead him, with numerous postgraduate and post doc assistants, to explore this avenue of zoology contributing significantly to the literature in this field. With the River Wye flowing almost at the Field Centres’ door the “charm” of two both threatened and protected creatures of the river, the otter and the native white-clawed crayfish have, with the aid of several postgraduates and post docs., been subject to considerable investigative attention. His interests have also ranged from wildlife road casualties, to environmental impact assessment, from river habitat restoration to Indus River Dolphins and from ecotourism to biofiltration.
His current research interests include the production and biodiversity of willow and perennial rhizomatous grasses for biomass; amphibian, otter and crayfish ecology and conflicts between biodiversity and ecotourism. He is the author of over 150 reports and publications mainly about the ecology of mid-Wales, including two books and chapters in several more.