My research interests focuses upon plant community ecology. I am specifically interested in African woodland and savanna ecology and managing vegetation change on these landscapes in terms of both ecological and socioeconomic impacts.

Areas of Expertise:

Savanna ecology
Fire ecology
Miombo woodlands
Community ecology
Environmental resources and poverty alleviation


  1. Devine, A. Woody cover in wet and dry African savannas after six decades of experimental fires Journal of Ecology 103 2 473 478
  2. Devine, A., McDonald, R., Quaife, T., Maclean, I. Determinants of woody encroachment and cover in African savannas Oecologia


  • BIO232 Plant Ecology

    This module provides a holistic approach to plant ecology, including both classical ecological theory and practical surveying techniques. Students will become familiar with six major themes; plant formations and biomes, synecology, autecology, plant geography, paleoecology and modern plant ecology. Students will also be trained in plant taxonomy, field surveying techniques, data analysis and report writing that complement a future career in ecology, conservation or consultancy

  • BIO249 Introduction to field ecology

    This residential field course comprises practical work employing ecological techniques appropriate to sample biodiversity and environmental parameters from a range of terrestrial and freshwater habitats (freshwater systems, woodlands, sand dunes). You will learn techniques for the identification of species, practice recording accurate field notes, and gain experience in the analysis and presentation of ecological data. Furthermore, you will be able to recognise different temperate habitats and indicator species associated with them.

  • BIO341 Plant Conservation and Ecology

    "Without plants, there is no life. The functioning of the planet, and our survival, depends on plants.┬┐ (Global Plant Conservation strategy 2012). This module gives an overview of the importance of plant communities to conservation goals and the threats to plant habitats. We will explore core concepts of conservation biology, examining both in-situ and ex-situ conservation and discuss global conservation policies and conventions. Students will also have the opportunity to conduct their own plant conservation assessments in line with the IUCN framework.

  • BIO347 Tropical Ecology and Conservation - Borneo Field Trip

    Borneo is a hot spot for biodiversity both in regards to terrestrial and marine ecosystems. This module is a residential field course which will explore ecological and conservation principles in tropical rainforests and marine ecosystems.

  • BIOM51 Reviews in Biosciences

    As rapid human population expansion, mass species extinction and climate change challenge sustainability, scientific research plays a critical role in developing the policies, practice and technologies at strategic and operational levels that are essential for environmental security. Understanding the different vectors of scientific communications and assessing their rigour is essential if the information is to be utilised effectively and ethically to influence practice. Reviewing research has an important place in the scienti┬┐c progress, providing a means by which advances in scientific research can be collated, assessed and evaluated to inform policy and drive future innovations. Three general approaches to reviewing literature have evolved in recent decades encompassing expert driven narratives, systematic reviews and meta-analysis. Each approach differs in rigour, comprehension and methodology. Understanding the function and utility of each style is critical if the information is to be used to effectively drive practice and further research. Within this module students undertake two of the three approaches to reviewing literature; a 3,000 word narrative and a 6,000 word group-based systematic review. A key expectation in graduate skills is the ability to synthesise information, critically evaluate its content and create new innovative knowledge on the topic that enhances the discipline. This module allows students to study and develop these post-graduate skills by undertaking the reviews. In addition, in order to enhance essential reflective practice and interpersonal skills a key theme within the module is on individual and collective goal setting, self- and peer reviewing professional practice and key skills development.