Brittany Pugh Bio

12 Oct 2021

2021 Undergraduate Dissertation Prize Joint Winner

Brittany Pugh, University of Nottingham – “Partitioning taxonomic and functional beta-diversity into their relative turnover and nestedness components between disturbed engineered and undisturbed towpath plant communities on the Basingstoke Canal, UK”

Brittany Pugh

In 2021 I graduated with a BSc in Geography from the University of Nottingham. I have always loved spending time outdoors being amazed by the complexity of the natural world around us and over the course of my degree I was particularly inspired by the interdisciplinary work of Alexander Von Humboldt. Humboldt primarily investigated the relationships between biotic and abiotic variables which he explored by conducting extensive and systematic data collection in the field at a range of scales during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today in the age of ‘big data’, we are able to use novel quantitative techniques to quantify relationships between observational variables in ways which provide a deeper understanding of underlying ecological processes. This thinking led to primary and secondary data collection in my own dissertation to try to better understand not only how post-disturbance plant biodiversity is organised at a species-level, but also at the level of species-characteristics (functional ecology). Studying organisms at taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic levels is a growing field of ecological science, paving the way to a better understanding of the processes which structure biodiversity on our planet, and how best to conserve it under an uncertain future.

Following on from my degree I am conducting an MSc in Remote Sensing and Environmental Mapping at UCL in 2022, as well as working on a range of projects with colleagues from the University of Nottingham to improve my research skills.