My research integrates expertise in bryophyte systematics, evolution, anatomy and in-vitro culturing to tackle major questions on the origin and evolution of key innovations of land plants including stomata, cuticles, desiccation-tolerance and fungal symbioses.
I specialise in the biology of bryophytes including their anatomy, development, physiology, systematics, evolution and conservation. My research focuses on the evolution, diversity and significance, past and present, of major adaptations that drove plant terrestrialisation, underpin ecosystem functioning today and will play a key role in vegetation responses to future change, with current emphasis on plant fungal symbioses, microbiomes, desiccation tolerance, and stomata. Bryophytes (mosses, liverworts, hornworts) are key contributors to the functioning and biodiversity of many terrestrial ecosystems and, with a long evolutionary history, include some of the best modern analogues for the first plants that colonized land surfaces 500 million years ago, a transformative event in Earth’s history. By investigating the diversity, development, structures, and functional significance of key land plant adaptations in bryophytes, I aim to shed light on the origin and evolution of plant life on land as well as increasing understanding of bryophyte biology and diversity.