Areas of expertise

  • Agrifood Systems
  • Carbon, Climate and Risk
  • Computing, Simulation & Modelling
  • Monitoring and Environmental Informatics
  • Soil
  • Soil Resources


Alice is an ecologist with expertise in soil ecology, ecological modelling, ecosystem functioning, and environmental change. Alice’s first degree was in Environmental Science at Newcastle University, followed by a PhD in ecology at University of Reading. After her PhD, Alice consulted for industry as an expert ecological modeller, held a postdoc with Bayer CropScience in ecological modelling for chemical risk assessment, and an independent research fellowship with the NERC Soil Security Programme, before joining Cranfield University in 2020 as Lecturer in Environmental Data Science. 

Current activities

Dr Alice Johnston’s research focuses on gaining a mechanistic understanding of how organisms interact with their environment to determine population-, community- and ecosystem-level responses to environmental change. These mechanisms can be represented using different modelling approaches relevant to the spatio-temporal scales in question. At the field scale, for instance, Individual-based models (IBMs) allow for interactions between individual animals and spatially explicit environmental variables (e.g. temperature, food availability) and stressors (e.g. tillage, pesticides) to drive population responses. Alice is particularly interested in the development of a standardised mechanistic population modelling approach, in which representation of individual-level mechanisms (physiology, behaviour and evolution) are extensively tested across species and scenarios, to improve forecasts of animal responses to environmental change in the uncertain future. At the community and ecosystem level, Alice is interested in testing central ecological principles using large datasets to explore the links between soil communities and ecosystem functions (e.g. carbon cycling), and the ability of ecological theories to describe complex phenomena such as the temperature sensitivity of ecosystem respiration. 


  • Syngenta Ltd & Bayer CropScience (population models for ecological risk assessment)
  • NERC (Soil Security Programme)


Articles In Journals