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Palaeoecology

Lead by Prof Fraser Mitchell a palaeoecologist with research interest in long term environmental change as well as contemporary ecosystems. This has included investigating the impacts of human activity, grazing and climate on temperate forest succession and the drivers of contemporary forest biodiversity as well as investigation of long term climate impacts on peatland ecosystems. The results of this research feed into contemporary conservation management, restoration ecology and climate modelling. Principal funding sources have been EU and Irish government agencies. This has funded research throughout Ireland but also in UK, Spain, Poland, USA, Australia and Thailand. I have supervised 23 PhD students and mentored thirteen postdoctoral research fellows.

Current research focuses on reconstructing interglacial climates in Ireland 120,000 years ago when temperatures were up to 2 degrees centigrade warmer than today and hence a useful model for future climate. I am also engaged with ongoing research into the paleoecology of Scots pine in Ireland with particular focus on its native status. I am currently supervising PhD projects on the biodiversity of constructed wetlands and the ecosystem functioning of river floodplain forests in Thailand.

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