My main project aims to assess how diversification of agriculture, e.g. crop rotations vs monoculture, organic fertilizer vs mineral fertilizer, can impact crop yield and ecosystem services. I am using long-term agricultural experiments sourced from across Europe to gain a deeper understanding of the trends and dynamics that drive impacts of diversified agriculture. My main supervisor is Prof. Riccardo Bommarco and we work in close collaboration with Dr. Giulia Vico, Prof. Sara Hallin and Prof. Lorenzo Marini on this project.
I am also working with PhD candidate Janina Heinen to explore how combinations of local (field level) diversification measures affect the delivery of pest control and a number of other services. In particular, we wish to examine the combined effect of diversification with organic soil amendment (fertilisation with manure) and/or crop rotation on pest control and multiple ecosystem services at the field scale. Her main supervisor is also Prof. Riccardo Bommarco and her other co-advisor is Prof. Tomas Roslin.
I completed my PhD at the University of Adelaide in South Australia with Dr. Jose Facelli and Dr. Timothy Cavagnaro. I explored different aspects of restoring abandoned farmland into native grasslands. Topics included plant ecology, community ecology, invasion ecology, niche partitioning and plant-soil interactions.
I coadvise PhD candidate Janina Heinan.
Smith M. E., Facelli J. M., Cavagnaro T. R. (2018), Interactions between soil properties, soil microbes and plants in remnant and old-field soils: a reciprocal transplant approach, Plant and Soil, 433:1-2, 127–145
Smith M.E., Delean S., Cavagnaro T. R., Facelli J. M. (2018), Evidence for species-specific plant responses to soil microbial communities from remnant and degraded land provides promise for restoration, Austral Ecology, 43:3, 301-308