Dr Fred Slater

Honorary Senior Research Fellow (formerly Director of Llysdinam Field Centre)

School of Biosciences

Research overview

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 the Llysdinam Field Centre, then part of UWIST and now within the Cardiff School of Biosciences.

Over the years his research interests have broadened from the purely botanical of his Aberystwyth days to cover a wide spectrum of the natural history of mainly mid-Wales. However, while at Llysdinam he has been involved in the description of the only distinct species of native flowering plant to be discovered in 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 work in the 1970s made it clear how little was known of amphibian ecology and distribution and lead him via 5 PhD studies and numerous other postgraduate and post doctoral assistants, to explore this avenue of zoology, contributing over 50 publications to the literature in this field.

With the River Wye flowing almost at the Field Centre's door, the "charm" of two protected but threatened river species, the otter and our native white clawed crayfish have, through the work of 3 PhD studies, several post doctoral associates and many other students, been subject to considerable investigative attention and subsequent publication. His interests have also ranged from the impact of roads on wildlife, to environmental impact assessment, from river habitat restoration to Indus River Dolphins and from ecotourism to bio-filtration.

His current interests include the production and biodiversity of willow and perennial rhizomatous grasses produced as renewable energy crops; amphibian, otter and crayfish ecology and the ecology of ephemeral upland pools. 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.

Research division

Organisms and Environment

  • Member of the Directorate, Board and Council of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society
  • Represented professional interests on the Environment Agency (Wales) Fisheries, Ecology and Recreation Advisory Committee for over 10 years
  • Chartered Environmentalist
  • Fellow of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (FIEEM)
  • Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies (FRAgS)
  • Welsh Assembly Government's Biomass Strategy Group
  • Welsh Assembly Government Agriculture Research Advisory Group
  • Cardiff Foundation for Environmental Research
  • Member of WERC

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.