I am a PhD student working on afforested peatlands in Scotland, specifically the creation of low density native woodland or ‘Peatland Edge Woodland’. I have an ecological background and a particular interest in botany.
Before starting my PhD, I studied for a BA in Biological Science at the University of Oxford. My Dissertation was on the palaeoecology of an enigmatic sponge group, the Archaeocyatha – a group which makes up some of the oldest known animal fossils and went extinct over half a billion years ago. During my undergraduate degree my interests shifted to modern ecology and I completed an MSc at the University of Edinburgh in the Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants. My MSc dissertation investigated the extent of hybridisation of the Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris) with the non-native domesticated apple (Malus domestica) in Scotland and Northern England.
I was drawn to my PhD due to its applied nature and the need for the project to take a comparatively broad and holistic approach.
I am carrying out a NERC funded PhD entitled “Creating Sustainably Wooded Peatlands”, it is focused on the concept of Peatland Edge Woodland, this is a term coin in 2014 by the Forestry Commission and it is seen as a low density predominately native woodland that could be created on some deep peat sites after commercial trees are cleared. Please see the Project webpage for more information
Payne, R. J.; Anderson, A. R.; Sloan, T.; Gilbert, P.; Newton, A.; Ratcliffe, J.; Mauquoy, D.; Jessop W.; and Andersen, R. (2018). The future of peatland forestry in Scotland: balancing economics, carbon and biodiversity. Scottish Forestry, 72(1), 34–40.
Ruhsam, M.; Jessop, W.; Cornille, A.; Renny, J. & Worrell, R (2018). Crop-to-wild introgression in the European wild apple Malus sylvestris in Northern Britain. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research.
Worrell, R.; Renny, J.; Ruhsam, M.; Jessop, W. & Findlay, G. (2017). The search for Scotland’s native forest apple: Malus sylvestris. Reforesting Scotland, 56, 32-34.