PhD Researcher in Botany in Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences, Alwynne McGeever, was recently chosen as one of the top five Irish postgraduates whose research is making a great impact on society. She presented her work – which focuses on tree populations and their importance for us all – at the HEA-Irish Independent ‘Making An Impact’ awards.
These awards provided a much-needed opportunity for important scientific news to be disseminated to a wider audience (in this case secondary school students).
Alwynne McGeever said: “I was delighted to be chosen as one of the top five researchers. I think accessible and accurate communication of research is key in promoting public and political discussion, which is needed to find sustainable solutions to the environmental challenges faced by this generation and the next.”
Alwynne’s research seeks to understand why tree populations declined in the past, to describe how these declines spread through Europe, and to identify tree populations that survived the decline events.
She added: “Trees have a hugely positive impact on society. From making the oxygen we breathe to the paper of the books we read, the direct and indirect benefits of sharing our planet with them are invaluable.”
With challenges like climate change, air pollution and deforestation threatening global tree populations, further work is needed to understand how these slow-growing, stationary organisms respond to rapid environmental changes.
Alwynne’s research quantifies the long-term dynamics of tree populations on timescales much greater than those observed in our lifetime. This contributes to the knowledge needed to justify and implement realistic conservation strategies, protecting tree populations from these negative impacts, and preserving their positive impacts for current and future societies.