School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

Staff Profile

Dr Janet Simkin

Teaching Fellow

Background

Janet is a plant ecologist with a particular interest in species-rich grasslands and anthropogenic sites such as churchyards and lead mines. She is also a lichenologist and is currently President of the British Lichen Society.

As well as teaching part-time for Newcastle University, Janet teaches adult education classes in Botany for the Natural History Society of Northumbria at the Great North Museum: Hancock, and is involved in a number of research projects.

Research

Current and recent projects include:

Calaminarian grassland

  • survey (plants, bryophytes and lichens) and analysis of lead mines and alluvial gravels in the North Pennines and South Tyne catchment
  • survey (plants, bryophytes and lichens) and habitat analysis of lead mines and alluvial gravels in mid-Wales
  • detailed study of selected metallophyte plants and lichens, including Minuartia verna, Viola lutea and Peltigera venosa
  • long term field trial of calaminarian grassland management methods (running since 2002)
  • long term field trial of spoil heap stabilisation methods, including propagation and reintroduction of Minuartia verna
  • management of calaminarian grassland for biodiversity, and habitat creation schemes on alluvial gravels

(working with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Tyne Rivers Trust, North Pennines AONB, Environment Agency)


Whin grassland

  • survey (plants, bryophytes and lichens) and analysis of whin grassland and crag vegetation in Northumberland
  • management of whin grassland for biodiversity
  • habitat creation trials
  • creation of a whin grassland green roof for The Sill visitor centre at Once Brewed

(working with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Natural England)


Brownfield sites

  • support of the Newcastle University SUCCESS project


Lichens

  • Use of lichen distribution data from the British Lichen Society database to study environmental and habitat changes


Peatland restoration

  • cotton-grass propagation and reintroduction as part of the Flow Moss peatland restoration scheme

(Working with North Pennines AONB)


Teaching

Newcastle University teaching includes:

  • ACE8024 Forest Ecology
  • ACE8041 Ecosystem Management
  • ACE8042 Conservation in practice
  • ACE8030 Vegetation and Soil Survey field course
  • BIO2003/8006 Field Identification Skills - vascular plants



Publications