Associate Professor Sally Power

Sally PowerAssociate Professor Sally Power is an ecosystems ecologist and currently the deputy leader of the Ecosystem Function and Integration research theme.

Sally employs a variety of empirical approaches - from mesocosm experiments to field-scale manipulations and surveys – to study the direct and indirect effects of anthropogenic changes in atmospheric composition and climate. Her research explores how human activities affect processes at the leaf, plant and community level, and how these effects influence ecosystem function and sustainability.

Sally has established several long-term field experiments manipulating levels of nitrogen deposition, tropspheric ozone and rainfall. These large experimental platforms enable integrative research into above- and below-ground responses to realistic global change scenarios.

Recently, her research has focused on the interactive effects of multiple, co-occurring drivers of global change, including air pollution, climate, habitat management and biodiversity loss.

By characterising physiological, biogeochemical and productivity responses to multiple drivers we can improve our mechanistic understanding of, and thus our ability to predict, ecological responses to a changing world.

Sally is also passionate about public engagement with science and has led a wide range of outreach activities involving members of local communities and schools in "hands on" scientific research.

Areas of research/teaching expertise

Ecosystems ecology, biogeochemical cycling, ecological responses to air pollution and climate change, plant-soil interactions, heathland ecology

Awards and recognition

  • Elsie Widdowson Research Fellowship, 2005
  • President, European Heathlands Network, 2007-2011
  • Steering Committee member, Ecological Continuity Trust, 2007 - present
  • Steering Committee member, Committee on Air Pollution Effects Research, 2009-present
  • Council member, British Ecological Society, 2004-7

Grants/current research projects

  • Drought, deluge and diversity decline - How do root herbivores affect grassland resilience to predicted changes in rainfall patterns?
    Partner/Funding Body: Hermon Slade Foundation
    Period: 2013-2016
  • Accounting for Biodiversity and Carbon in golf courses within the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment area (ABC-golf)
    Co-researchers: Catriona Macdonald, Brajesh Singh and James Cook
    Partner/Funding Body: Greater Sydney Local Land Services (formerly Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority)
    Period: 2013-2015
  • Open Air Laboratories (OPAL): Ozone and climate change impacts on the structure and functioning of grassland ecosystems
    Partner/Funding body: UK Big Lottery Fund
    Period: 2007-2012
  • Effects of eutrophication on terrestrial ecosystems
    Partner/Funding body: Natural Environment Research Council
    Period: 2004-2007 and 2007- 2012
  • International Cooperative Programme (ICP) – Vegetation: Characterising plant response to ozone
    Partner/Funding body: Natural Environment Research Council
    Period: 2006-2010 and 2010-2013
  • Linking above- and below-ground responses of grassland ecosystems to climate change
    Partner/Funding body: Grantham Institute for Climate Change
    Period: 2011-2014
  • DIRECT: Diversity, rainfall and elemental cycling in a terrestrial ecosystem
    Co-researcher: Dr Pete Manning
    Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Natural Environment Research Council
    Period: 2007-2011
  • Effects of fire on below-ground heathland processes
    Co-researcher: Dr Richard Ellis
     Partner/Funding body: Natural Environment Research Council
    Period: 2006-2007
  • Summer fire effects on heathland response to nitrogen deposition
    Partner/Funding body: British Ecological Society
    Period: 2006-2007

Selected publications

Fry EL, Manning P, Macdonald C, Hasegawa S, De Palma A, Power SA, Singh BK, (2016) 'Shifts in microbial communities do not explain the response of grassland ecosystem function to plant functional composition and rainfall change', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.92, pp 199-210

Gibson-Forty EVJ, Barnett KL, Tissue DT, Power SA, (2016) 'Reducing rainfall amount has a greater negative effect on the productivity of grassland plant species than reducing rainfall frequency', Functional Plant Biology, vol.43, no.4, pp 380-391

Hasegawa S, Macdonald CA, Power SA, (2016) 'Elevated carbon dioxide increases soil nitrogen and phosphorus availability in a phosphorus-limited Eucalyptus woodland', Global Change Biology, vol.22, no.4, pp 1628-1643

Medlyn BE, De Kauwe MG, Zaehle S, Walker AP, Duursma RA, Luus K, Mishurov M, Pak B, Smith B, Wang Y-P, Yang X, Crous KY, Drake JE, Gimeno TE, Macdonald CA, Norby RJ, Power SA, Tjoelker MG, Ellsworth DS, (2016) 'Using models to guide field experiments: a priori predictions for the CO2 response of a nutrient- and water-limited native Eucalypt woodland', Global Change Biology, vol.22, no.8, pp 2834-2851

Jones AG, Power SA, (2015) 'Functional Relationships with N Deposition Differ According to Stand Maturity in Calluna-Dominated Heathland', AMBIO, vol.44, no.2, pp 131-141

Thakur MP, Milcu A, Manning P, Niklaus PA, Roscher C, Power S, Reich PB, Scheu S, Tilman D, Ai F, Guo H, Ji R, Pierce S, Ramirez NG, Richter AN, Steinauer K, Strecker T, Vogel A, Eisenhauer N, (2015) 'Plant diversity drives soil microbial biomass carbon in grasslands irrespective of global environmental change factors', Global Change Biology, vol.21, no.11, pp 4076-4085

Field CD, Dise NB, Payne RJ, Britton AJ, Emmett BA, Helliwell RC, Hughes S, Jones L, Lees S, Leake JR, Leith ID, Phoenix GK, Power SA, Sheppard LJ, Southon GE, Stevens CJ, Caporn SJM, (2014) 'The Role of Nitrogen Deposition in Widespread Plant Community Change Across Semi-natural Habitats', Ecosystems, vol.17, no.5, pp 864-877

Fry EL, Manning P, Power SA, (2014) 'Ecosystem functions are resistant to extreme changes to rainfall regimes in a mesotrophic grassland', Plant and Soil, vol.381, no.1-2, pp 351-365 

Fry EL, Power SA, Manning P, (2014) 'Trait-based classification and manipulation of plant functional groups for biodiversity-ecosystem function experiments', Journal of Vegetation Science, vol.25, no.1, pp 248-261

Lee MA, Manning P, Walker CS, Power SA, (2014) 'Plant and arthropod community sensitivity to rainfall manipulation but not nitrogen enrichment in a successional grassland ecosystem', Oecologia, vol.176, no.4, pp 1173-1185 

Ahmad MN, Büker P, Khalid S, Van Den Berg L, Shah HU, Wahid A, Emberson L, Power SA, Ashmore M, (2013) 'Effects of ozone on crops in north-west Pakistan', Environmental Pollution, vol.174, pp 244-249

Bertuzzi S, Davies L, Power SA, Tretiach M, (2013) 'Why lichens are bad biomonitors of ozone pollution?', Ecological Indicators, vol.34, pp 391-397

Fry EL, Manning P, Allen DGP, Hurst A, Everwand G, Rimmler M, Power SA, (2013) 'Plant Functional Group Composition Modifies the Effects of Precipitation Change on Grassland Ecosystem Function', PLoS ONE, vol.8, no.2, Article no.e57027

Green ER, Ellis RJ, Gadsdon SRM, Milcu A, Power SA, (2013) 'How does N deposition affect belowground heathland recovery following wildfire?', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.57, pp 775-783

Lee MA, Power SA, (2013) 'Direct and indirect effects of roads and road vehicles on the plant community composition of calcareous grasslands', Environmental Pollution, vol.176, pp 106-113  

Seed L, Wolseley P, Gosling L, Davies L, Power SA, (2013) 'Modelling relationships between lichen bioindicators, air quality and climate on a national scale: Results from the UK OPAL air survey', Environmental Pollution, vol.182, pp 437-447

Southon GE, Field C, Caporn SJM, Britton AJ, Power SA, (2013) 'Nitrogen Deposition Reduces Plant Diversity and Alters Ecosystem Functioning: Field-Scale Evidence from a Nationwide Survey of UK Heathlands', PLoS ONE, vol.8, no.4, Article no.e59031

Al-Beidh S, Dunn DW, Power SA, Cook JM, (2012) 'Parasites and mutualism function: Measuring enemy-free space in a fig-pollinator symbiosis', Oikos, vol.121, no.11, pp 1833-1839

Jones AG, Power SA, (2012) 'Field-scale evaluation of effects of nitrogen deposition on the functioning of heathland ecosystems', Journal of Ecology, vol.100, no.2, pp 331-342

Lee MA, Davies L, Power SA, (2012) 'Effects of roads on adjacent plant community composition and ecosystem function: An example from three calcareous ecosystems', Environmental Pollution, vol. 163, pp 273-280

Phoenix GK, Emmett BA, Britton AJ, Caporn SJM, Dise NB, Helliwell R, Jones L, Leake J, Leith ID, Sheppard LJ, Sowerby A, Pilkington MG, Rowe EC, Ashmore MR, Power SA, (2012) 'Impacts of atmospheric nitrogen deposition: responses of multiple plant and soil parameters across contrasting ecosystems in long-term field experiments', Global Change Biology, vol.18, no.4, pp 1197-1215

Southon GE, Green ER, Jones AG, Barker CG, Power SA, (2012) 'Long-term nitrogen additions increase likelihood of climate stress and affect recovery from wildfire in a lowland heath', Global Change Biology, vol.18, no.9, pp 2824-2837

Davies L, Bell JNB, Bone J,  Head M, Hill L, Howard C, Hobbs SJ, Jones DT, Power SA, Rose N, Ryder C, Seed L, Stevens G, Toumi R, Voulvoulis N, White PCL, (2011) 'Open Air Laboratories (OPAL): A community-driven research programme', Environmental Pollution, vol.159, pp 2203-2210

Bell JNB, Honour SC,  Power SA, (2011) 'Effects of vehicle exhaust emissions on urban wild plant species', Environmental Pollution, vol.159, pp 1984-1990

Zhao Y, Bell JNB, Wahid A, Power SA, (2010) 'Inter- and intra-specific differences in the response of leafy Chinese vegetables to ozone', Water, Air and Soil Pollution, vol.216, pp 451-462

Gadsdon SR, Dagley JR, Wolsley PA, Power SA, (2010) 'Relationships between lichen community composition and concentrations of NO2 and NH3', Environmental Pollution, vol.158, pp 2553-2560

Power SA, Collins CM, (2010) 'Biochemical signals of nitrogen deposition across an urban-rural gradient', Atmospheric Environment, vol.44, pp 1772-1780

Silvertown J, Tallowin J, Stevens C, Power SA, Morgan V, Emmett B, Hester A, Grime PJ, Morecroft M, Buxton R, Poulton P, Jinks R, Bardgett R, (2010) 'Environmental myopia: a diagnosis and a remedy', Trends in Ecology & Evolution, vol.25, pp 556-561

Lee M, Manning P, Rist J, Power SA, Marsh C, (2010) 'A meta-analysis of climate dependency in grassland biomass response to CO2 and nitrogen deposition', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol.365, pp 2047-2056

von Oheimb G, Power SA, Falk K, Mohamed A, Krug A, Härdtle W, (2010) 'N:P ratios and the nature of nutrient limitation in Calluna-dominated heathlands', Ecosystems, vol.13, pp 317-327

Kailiakatsou E, Bell JNB, Thirtle C, Rose D, Power SA, (2010) 'The impact of tropospheric ozone pollution on trial plot winter wheat yields - an econometric approach', Environmental Pollution, vol.158, pp 1948-1954

Gadsdon SR, Power SA, (2009) 'Quantifying local traffic contributions to NO2 and NH3 concentrations in natural habitats', Environmental Pollution, vol.157, pp 2845-2852

Honour SL, Bell JNB, Ashenden TW, Cape JN, Power SA, (2009) 'Responses of herbaceous plants to urban air pollution: Effects on growth, phenology and leaf surface characteristics', Environmental Pollution, vol.157, pp 1279-1286

Gove B, Power SA, Buckley GP, Ghazoul J, (2007) 'Effects of herbicide spray drift and fertiliser over-spread on selected species of woodland ground flora: Comparison between short-term and long-term impact assessments and field surveys', Journal of Applied Ecology, vol.44, pp 374-384

Krauss J, Härri S, Bush L, Husi R, Bigler L, Power SA, Müller CB, (2007) 'Effects of fertiliser, fungal endophytes and plant cultivar on the performance of insect herbivores and their natural enemies', Functional Ecology, vol.21, pp 107-116

Power SA, Green ER, Barker CG, Bell JNB, Ashmore MR, (2006) 'Ecosystem recovery: heathland response to a reduction in nitrogen deposition', Global Change Biology, vol.12, pp 1241-1252

Power SA, Ashmore MR, Terry AC, Caporn SJM, Pilkington MG, Wilson DB, Barker CG, Carroll JA, Cresswell N, Green ER, Heil GW, (2004) 'Linking field experiments to long-term simulation of impacts of nitrogen deposition on heathlands and moorlands', Water, Air and Soil Pollution Focus, vol.4, pp 259-267

Barker CG, Power SA, Bell JNB, Orme CDL, (2004) 'Effects of habitat management on heathland response to atmospheric nitrogen deposition', Biological Conservation, vol.120, pp 41-52

Terry AC, Ashmore MR, Power SA, Allchin EA, Heil GW, (2004) 'Modelling the impacts of atmospheric nitrogen deposition on Calluna-dominated ecosystems in the UK',  Journal of Applied Ecology, vol.41, pp 987-909

Cook JM, Bean D, Power SA, Dixon DJ, (2004) 'Evolution of a complex coevolved trait: active pollination in a genus of fig wasps', Journal of Evolutionary Biology, vol.17, pp 238-246

Kim C-G, Power SA, Bell JNB, (2003) 'Effects of cadmium and soil type on mineral nutrition and carbon partitioning in seedlings of Pinus sylvestris',  Water, Air and Soil Pollution, vol.145, pp 253-266

Kim C-G, Power SA, Bell JNB, (2003) 'Effects of Cd on growth and glucose utilisation of ectomycorrhizal fungi in vitro', Mycorrhiza, vol.13, pp 223-226

Power SA, Ashmore MR, (2002) 'Responses of fen and fen meadow communities to ozone', New Phytologist, vol.156, pp 399-408

Bell, JNB, Power, SA, Davies, L, Honour, S. 2002. Air Pollution, plants and ecosystems. Clean Air and Environmental Protection, vol.32, pp 54-58

Power SA, Barker CG, Allchin EA, Ashmore MR, Bell JNB, (2001) 'Habitat management - a tool to modify ecosystem impacts of nitrogen deposition?', The Scientific World, vol.1, pp 741-721

Cook JM, Bean D, Power S, (1991) 'Fatal fighting in fig wasps - GBH in time and space', Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol.14, pp 257-259

Power SA, Ashmore MR, Cousins DA, (1998) 'Impacts and fate of experimentally enhanced nitrogen deposition on a British lowland heath', Environmental Pollution, vol.102, pp 27-34

Power SA, Ashmore MR, Cousins DA, Sheppard LJ, (1998) 'Effects of nitrogen addition on the stress sensitivity of Calluna vulgaris', New Phytologist, vol.13, pp 663-673