Sean Tuck

winter beech trees

I am a NERC-funded PhD student supervised by Lindsay Turnbull, Andy Hector and Stephen Harris and I’m based in the Department of Plant Sciences, Oxford.

I am currently working on a broad range of plant ecology projects but there are several PlantEcol_ProfilePic_SeanTuckcommon threads to this research. I am often working at the interface between population and community ecology, using experimental systems to understand the effects of species interactions on the populations of constituent species in a community and the impact that these population-level responses have on aggregate community-level properties. I am interested in studying interspecific interactions, their effects on vital rates of population dynamics, and learning what this can tell us about the stable coexistence of diverse mixtures of species. By studying the individual populations in a community I also aim to understand how the contributions of each population in a community build up to produce interesting community-level patterns, such as a positive effect of species diversity on community productivity. This approach can help give us a process-based understanding of how species diversity can be important for the functioning of ecosystems. The experiments I work with are based in a variety of ecological systems to assess the generality of the ideas.

I have also worked on side projects to pursue my interest in global monitoring of biodiversity change and the role of 21st century conservation in mitigating the biological impacts of human development. I am interested in biodiversity effects of management decisions in industries such as agriculture and forestry. I have developed an R package, MODISTools, that helps researchers to access and use remotely-sensed data recorded from the MODIS instruments and made available by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory; these data have many applications including monitoring global change in biodiversity.


Mehrabi, Z. & Tuck, S.L. (2014) Relatedness is a poor predictor of negative plant-soil feedbacks. New Phytologist, 205, 1071–1075. [link]
Tuck, S.L., Phillips, H.R.P., Hintzen, R.E., Scharlemann, J.P.W., Purvis, A. & Hudson, L.N. (2014) MODISTools – downloading and processing MODIS remotely-sensed data in R. Ecology and Evolution, 4, 4658–4668. [link]
Tuck, S.L., Winqvist, C., Mota, F., Ahnström, J., Turnbull, L.A. & Bengtsson, J. (2014) Land-use intensity and the effects of organic farming on biodiversity: a hierarchical meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology, 51, 746–755. [link]