Areas of expertise
- Agrifood Systems
- Carbon, Climate and Risk
- Computing, Simulation & Modelling
- Monitoring and Environmental Informatics
- 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.
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
- Johnston ASA, Meade A, Ardö J, Arriga N, Black A, Blanken PD, Bonal D, Brümmer C, Cescatti A, Dušek J, Graf A, Gioli B, Goded I, Gough CM, Ikawa H, Jassal R, Kobayashi H, Magliulo V, Manca G, Montagnani L, Moyano FE, Olesen JE, Sachs T, Shao C, Tagesson T, Wohlfahrt G, Wolf S, Woodgate W, Varlagin A & Venditti CD (2021) Temperature thresholds of ecosystem respiration at a global scale, Nature Ecology and Evolution, 5 (April) 487-494.
- Forbes VE, Agatz A, Ashauer R, Butt KR, Capowiez Y, Duquesne S, Ernst G, Focks A, Gergs A, Hodson ME, Holmstrup M, Johnston ASA, Meli M, Nickisch D, Pieper S, Rakel KJ, Reed M, Roembke J, Schäfer RB, Thorbek P, Spurgeon DJ, Van den Berg E, Van Gestel CAM, Zorn MI & Roeben V (2021) Mechanistic effect modeling of earthworms in the context of pesticide risk assessment: synthesis of the FORESEE workshop, Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 17 (2) 352-363.
- Johnston ASA & Sibly RM (2020) Multiple environmental controls explain global patterns in soil animal communities, Oecologia, 192 (4) 1047-1056.
- KS Mintram, SK Maynard, AR Brown, R Boyd, ASA Johnston, RM Sibly, P Thorbek & CR Tyler (2020) Applying a mechanistic model to predict interacting effects of chemical exposure and food availability on fish populations, Aquatic Toxicology, 224 (July) Article No. 105483.
- Grimm V, Johnston ASA, Thulke H-H, Forbes VE & Thorbek P. (2020) Three questions to ask before using model outputs for decision support, Nature Communications, 11 (1) Article No. 4959.
- Grimm V, Railsback SF, Vincenot CE, Berger U, Gallagher C, DeAngelis DL, Edmonds B, Ge J, Giske J, Groeneveld J, Johnston ASA, Milles A, Nabe-Nielsen J, Polhill JG, Radchuk V, Rohwader M, Stillman RA, Thiele JC & Ayllon D (2020) The odd protocol for describing agent-based and other simulation models: A second update to improve clarity, replication, and structural realism, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 23 (2) Article No. 7.
- Johnston ASA. (2019) Land management modulates the environmental controls on global earthworm communities, Global Ecology and Biogeography, 28 (12) 1787-1795.
- Johnston ASA, Boyd RJ, Watson JW, Paul A, Evans LC, Gardner EL & Boult VL (2019) Predicting population responses to environmental change from individual-level mechanisms: towards a standardized mechanistic approach, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286 (1913) Article No. 20191916.
- Johnston ASA, Sibly RM & Thorbek P (2018) Forecasting tillage and soil warming effects on earthworm populations, Journal of Applied Ecology, 55 (3) 1498-1509.
- Johnston ASA & Sibly RM (2018) The influence of soil communities on the temperature sensitivity of soil respiration., Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2 (10) 1597-1602.
- Reed M, Alvarez T, Chelinho S, Forbes V, Johnston ASA, Meli M, Voss F & Pastorok R (2016) A risk assessment example for soil invertebrates using spatially explicit agent‐based models, Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 12 (1) 58-66.
- van der Vaart E, Johnston ASA & Sibly RM (2016) Predicting how many animals will be where: how to build, calibrate and evaluate individual-based models, Ecological Modelling, 326 (April) 113-123.
- Johnston ASA, Sibly RM, Hodson ME, Alvarez T & Thorbek P (2015) Effects of agricultural management practices on earthworm populations and crop yield: validation and application of a mechanistic modelling approach, Journal of Applied Ecology, 52 (5) 1334-1342.
- van der Vaart E, Beaumont MA, Johnston ASA & Sibly RM. (2015) Calibration and evaluation of individual-based models using Approximate Bayesian Computation, Ecological Modelling, 312 (September) 182-190.
- Johnston ASA, Hodson ME, Thorbek P, Alvarez T & Sibly RM (2014) An energy budget agent-based model of earthworm populations and its application to study the effects of pesticides, Ecological Modelling, 280 (May) 5-17.
- Grimm V, Augusiak J, Focks A, Frank BM, Gabsi F, Johnston ASA, Liu C, Martin BT, Meli M, Radchuk V, Thorbek P & Railsback SF (2014) Towards better modelling and decision support: documenting model development, testing, and analysis using TRACE, Ecological Modelling, 280 (May) 129-139.
- Johnston ASA, Holmstrup M, Hodson ME, Thorbek P, Alvarez T & Sibly RM (2014) Earthworm distribution and abundance predicted by a process-based model, Applied Soil Ecology, 84 (December) 112-123.
- Sibly RM, Grimm V, Martin BT, Johnston ASA, Kułakowska K, Topping CJ, Calow P, Nabe‐Nielsen J, Thorbek P & DeAngelis DL (2013) Representing the acquisition and use of energy by individuals in agent‐based models of animal populations, Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 4 (2) 151-161.