School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

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 past President of the British Lichen Society.

As well as teaching part-time for Newcastle University, Janet teaches adult education classes in Botany and Ecology 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

  • ecological study and survey (plants, bryophytes and lichens) of lead mines and alluvial gravels in the North Pennines and South Tyne catchment, investigating successional changes and the potential for conservation management and habitat creation
  • survey (plants, bryophytes and lichens) and habitat analysis of lead mines and alluvial gravels in mid-Wales
  • ecological studies 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

         (with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Tyne Rivers Trust, North Pennines AONB, Environment Agency, Coal Authority and others)

Whin grassland

  • ecological study and survey (plants, bryophytes and lichens) of whin grassland and crag vegetation in Northumberland, investigating successional changes and the potential for conservation management and habitat creation
  • habitat creation trials
  • creation of a whin grassland green roof for The Sill, the new Northumberland National Park visitor centre at Once Brewed

         (with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Northumberland National Park)

Brownfield sites

  • botanical support to the Newcastle University SUCCESS project

Lichens

  • Use of lichen distribution data from the British Lichen Society database to study the effects of environmental changes, particularly atmospheric pollution and changes to land management

        (with CEH and others)

Peatland restoration

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

        (with North Pennines AONB)


Note: all this work is independent of Newcastle University, and any views expressed are my own.


Teaching

Postgraduate teaching including:

  • Vascular plant Identification
  • Forest Ecology
  • Habitat Assessment (Phase 1 survey, Phase 2 NVC and soil survey)
  • Soil and Land Resources
  • Ecosystem Management
  • Biodiversity Conservation Policy and Practice
  • MSc dissertation projects on various aspects of plant ecology

Undergraduate teaching:

  • Vascular plant identification
  • Lower plants
  • Habitat management
  • UG dissertation projects on plant survey and ecology

Supervision of staff MPhil and PhD projects



Publications