Dr Tom Pugh
Senior Lecturer (Lund University)
Reader in Biosphere-Atmosphere exchange (University of Birmingham)

Tom leads the Biosphere-Atmosphere exchange group. He splits his time between Lund University and the University of Birmingham (particularly BIFoR). His background is in computational modelling, particularly using global vegetation models. His research aims to improve understanding of the interactions between vegetation and environmental change at large scales. Tom is also the lead investigator on the TreeMort project.



Dr Daijun Liu
Postdoctoral researcher (University of Birmingham)
06.2018 – 

Daijun’s work has focused on global change effects on forest ecosystem structure and function, especially on ecophysiological and demographical changes. He has investigated climate change and nutrient availability on forest growth, tree mortality and species recruitment, richness and vegetation productivity. At Birmingham he works on the TreeMort project where his research focuses on drought-induced tree mortality.


Nezha Acil
PhD student (University of Birmingham)
10.2018 –

Nezha has a background in ecology and geoscience with experience in forest assessment, land surface monitoring and dynamics modelling. She is interested in the combination of field and satellite remote sensing methods to better understand how environmental changes affect forests across time, space and scales. Her PhD is part of the TreeMort project, during which focuses on storm-related tree mortality and its influence on global carbon cycling. She is co-supervised by Prof. Jon Sadler.


Aleksandra Kulawska
PhD student (University of Birmingham)
10.2018 –

Aleksandra is interested in the effects of climate change on permafrost-forest ecosystems across the boreal region. Her project combines data analysis and dynamic ecosystem modelling in order to (1) understand what governs forest responses to recent permafrost thaw, and (2) predict how different forest ecosystems will respond to future changes in soil thermal regimes. She is co-supervised by Prof. Nicholas Kettridge, Dr Sami Ullah and Professor Rob MacKenzie.

Hector Camargo Alvarez
PhD student (University of Birmingham)
01.2019 –

Hector is an agronomist engineer from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia focused in modelling the response of crops phenology, physiology and productivity to environmental factors. During his PhD research, he is investigating the deleterious effect of ozone pollution on cereal production and its economic consequences in China using crop modelling techniques. Hector is co-supervised by Prof. Robert Elliott.


Lavinia Georgescu
PhD student (University of Birmingham)
10.2019 –

Lavinia is interested links between tree mortality and drought. She is using machine learning to find patterns and rel ationships regarding droughts and forests at a biogeographical level. This scale is most relevant for understanding feedbacks of tree mortality on future climate change. Lavinia is co-supervised by Prof. Jon Sadler, Dr Adriane Esquivel Muelbert, Dr Tom Matthews and Dr Tom Martin.

asuk sijeh pic
Sijeh Asuk

PhD student (co-supervised) (University of Birmingham)
11.2018 –

Sijeh has a background in rainforest resources management and forest biometrics. He also has experience in silviculture, forest inventory, and mensuration. Sijeh is interested in combining field and remotely sensed data in investigating the impact of climate change on the reproductive phenology of tropical rainforest tree species as well as on the forest-dependent rural communities. Sijeh is a Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) Scholar and is co-supervised by Prof. Nicholas Kettridge, Prof. Jon Sadler and Dr Tom Matthews.

Joe Wayman

PhD student (co-supervised) (University of Birmingham)
11.2018 –

Joe is am interested broadly in biogeography and macroecology and the distribution of species in space and time, with a background in meta-analysis and systematic review. Utilising long term datasets from OPWALLS biodiversity monitoring programs, his PhD will look at the combined effects of multiple anthropogenic drivers over multiple spatial and temporal scales on biodiversity and community composition to see which drivers (in combination or individually) are driving change. Joe is co-supervised by Prof. Jon Sadler, Dr Tom Matthews and Dr Tom Martin.


Jordan Johnson
PhD student (co-supervised) (University of Birmingham)
10.2020 –

Jordan has a background in physical geography, with a particular focus on landscapes and terrain analysis, forestry, geographical information science and remote sensing. He has worked on projects ranging from geomorphometrics, to machine learning for tree canopy mapping. His current PhD project is focussing on the peripheral forests in the aftermath of the eruption of Chaitén (southern Chile) and their regrowth dynamics, examining recovery mechanisms in light of volcanic disturbances. He is co-supervised by Dr Sebb Watt, Dr Adriane Esquivel Muelbert and Dr Tom Matthews.


Klaske van Wijngaarden
PhD student (co-supervised) (University of Birmingham)
10.2020 –

Klaske has a diverse background in environmental biology, ranging from tropical forest ecology to grassland ecosystems and systematic reviewing to fieldwork methods. Her interests lie in researching the impact of human activities on any terrestrial environment. During her PhD she will take a detailed look at the woody carbon dynamics in mature trees under raised CO2 levels, while working at two FACE experiments: BiFoR (UK) and eucFACE (AUS). She is also co-supervised by Dr. Joshua Larsen, Prof Ben Smith and Prof Belinda Medlyn.


Julen Astigarraga
Visiting PhD student (from University of Alcalá)

Julen is a PhD student at the University of Alcalá (Madrid, Spain) in the Forest Ecology and Restoration Group. He focuses his work on studying spatio-temporal trends and underlying drivers of forest dynamics, and on better understanding the effects of management legacies as a modulator of forest vulnerability to climate change. To this end, his research relies primarily on forest inventories, climate and dendrochronological data, as well as historical information associated with past forest management. He is supervised by Dr Paloma Ruiz-Benito and Prof Miguel Zavala.

Associated researchers

Dr Adriane Esquivel Muelbert

Postdoctoral researcher (University of Birmingham)
01.2019 – 07.2020
Lecturer in Global Forest Ecology (University of Birmingham)
07.2020 –

Adriane is a forest ecologist with deep roots in the tropics. She has focused her work on Neotropical forests combining biogeography with forest dynamics to study the impacts of global change on tree communities and tree turnover across the Amazon. In TreeMort Adriane is expanding her research geographically and performing data analyses trying to answer how and why tree mortality varies globally. After joining the group as a postdoc, Adriane is now a lecturer in her own right, but is continuing her work on the TreeMort project.