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University of Birmingham

Dr Estrella Luna-Diez

MEMBRA EXPERTISE: Plant transgenerational priming in the context of the defence response. Tree health.


Dr Adriane Esquivel Muelbert

MEMBRA EXPERTISE: Harmonisation of global forest dynamics. Forest ecology.


Dr Marco Catoni

MEMBRA EXPERTISE: Plant epigenetics and phenotypic plasticity.


Dr Scott Hayward

MEMBRA EXPERTISE: Molecular ecophysiology and entomology.



Professor Rob Mackenzie

MEMBRA EXPERTISE: Director of BIFoR. Biosphere-atmospheric interactions, interdisciplinary collaborations.


Dr Rodrigo Scarton Bergamin:

MEMBRA EXPERTISE: Forest dynamics and climate change



Dr Bruno Cintra:

MEMBRA EXPERTISE: Tree rings and stable isotopes


Rosa_Dr Rosa Sanchez-Lucas:

MEMBRA EXPERTISE: Molecular analysis of stress response in trees.


MEMBRA photo 2Rachel Mailes:

MEMBRA EXPERTISE: Forest Ecology and Community Analysis.



Joe He

MEMBRA EXPERTISE: Bioinformatic Analysis


Objectives of research at Birmingham

To measure the effects of stresses on forest dynamics.

The MEMBRA team led by Adriane will use long-term monitoring sites across the UK to track the life and growth of trees over time within a permanent sampling plot. This will involve collecting data on the existing treescapes alongside past information on changing forest types, environmental and diseases conditions. This will inform as to the impact of past stressful events on the current health of these monitoring sites. More information about our sampling sites can be found here.

To measure the extent to which stressful experiences result in changes in DNA methylation in exemplar UK tree species.

Epigenetic imprinting of memory of stress is mostly based on changes in certain DNA cytosine methylation patterns. Changes in DNA methylation will be analysed for all genomes at single cytosine resolution. Estrella and Marco will quantify changes in DNA methylation both at the level of single cytosines and for larger DNA regions

To detect memory imprinting of stressful experiences transmitted to following generations in exemplar UK tree species.

Estrella and Scott objective will test whether drought, eCO2, insect herbivory and disease stress experienced in the parental generation result in a memory that is transmitted to following generations. Seeds from trees exposed to the different stresses will be collected from four trees per treatment and the progeny tested in a series of greenhouse-based experiments.