Welcome to the blog of the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Northampton. This will keep you up to date with both student and staff activities.

The Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences includes staff with interests in biological sciences, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental statistics, geography and waste management. We offer a range of degree programmes and have a number of postgraduate research students. For more information about studying with us please visit http://www.northampton.ac.uk/.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Professor of Biodiversity visits Brazil for teaching, National Botanical Congress and research field work

Jeff Ollerton, Professor of Biodiversity within the Department, spent the last two weeks of November 2013 the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil undertaking field work on the ecology of plants and their pollinators.​

The field work is the final stage of Professor Ollerton's month long visit to Brazil, a trip which has seen him travel over 2,500km, speak at the National Botanical Congress, and present lectures at institutions throughout the country. Professor Ollerton has also taught a one-week long pollination biology course to a group of postgrads and professors at the University of Campinas, which included the students undertaking field work on their own campus.

In the field, Professor Ollerton collected data on the proportion of animal versus wind pollinated plants across different Brazilian plant communities.  His data collection will compare plants in dry tropical vegetation (in the Serra do Cipó National Park), to those growing in the mountain ranges of Serro do Mar in the South East of the country. The plant species are given scores based on the type of flowers, pollen release and flower visitors that they have. The research undertaken so far fits with predictions made in Professor Ollerton's 2011 study, published in the journal Oikos, suggesting that 90 per cent of plants within tropical communities are pollinated by animals, compared to 70-80 per cent on average in the temperate zone.

The trip is part of an ongoing collaboration with PhD student André Rodrigo Rech and his Brazilian supervisor Professor Marlies Sazima as part of the "Science Without Borders" scheme.  Staff and students were able keep up to date with Professor Ollerton's adventures as he blogged each week from Brazil, beginning here:  http://jeffollerton.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/brazil-diary-1/