Research and information

© Mike Dodd

Research and information

Our Meadow research group started at Silsoe College (Cranfield University) in 1992, moved to the Open University in 2000 and has formed part of the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences since 2011.

To understand the composition, structure and function of floodplain meadows, we have investigated the effect of hydrological regime on their soils, plants and nutrient cycles. Long-term monitoring of soil characteristics, water-table elevation and plant-community composition in precisely known locations has allowed us to model ecosystem responses to a range of scenarios. Whilst much of our output is focussed on applied ecology, we have also advanced some of the most fundamental research fronts in this field, particularly the concept of the ecological niche and the evolution of α--diversity in vegetation.

Research projects on floodplain meadows are often initiated as applied environmental studies to produce evidence for nature-conservation management and habitat restoration. Data analysis and modelling has fed information into policies of statutory environmental bodies and government.

Laptop being used in a field
© Mike Dodd