Tundra Ecology Lab (Team Shrub)

Welcome to Team Shrub!


We are ecologists working to understand how global change alters plant communities and ecosystem processes. We work at focal research sites in Northern Canada and conduct data syntheses at tundra biome and global scales.

A key theme of our research is investigating climate change impacts in tundra ecosystems. There is strong evidence that tundra ecosystems are responding to a warming climate. However, we don’t yet know the mechanistic pathways leading to change that would allow for quantitative predictions. Vegetation change could restructure the tundra by influencing nutrient cycles, carbon storage, surface reflectance, thus creating feedbacks that can affect the planet as a whole. Our research group is addressing these major knowledge gaps to better understand the causes and consequences of vegetation change.

We conduct field research using a variety of tools including ecological monitoring, drones, dendroecology, decomposition experiments using tea bags, and more. We also lead data syntheses in collaboration with researchers working across the circumpolar Arctic and around the world.

Check out our research, publications, media, outreach and team. To find out more about our research check out our research blog: phenology, drones, biodiversity, northern collaborators, etc.

We also really love shrubs.



Recent Posts

One year of Coding Club

CodingClub_logo2This November, we are celebrating Coding Club’s first birthday – one year full of workshops, lots of code and many moments of joy as we finally figure out how to get our code to work and improve our quantitative skills together! It’s been such an exciting year, and we are thrilled to see many new faces joining us, as well as familiar faces returning workshop after workshop.

We have developed 19 tutorials for our website on topics such as mixed effects models, using Markdown, and following a coding etiquette. We went to Aberdeen to co-lead a workshop with Francesca from the University of Aberdeen, and we also made it to the University of Edinburgh Impact awards! But most of all, we are lucky to have many keen people, from different career stages and different disciplines, join us as we get better at coding by either coming to our workshops in Edinburgh or completing the tutorials online!


It’s wonderful to have a supportive community where we can ask all of the R questions that pop into our minds, a place where we can all be learners and teachers, and help each other learn how to organise data, run models, make beautiful graphs and more!

Coding Club’s 1st year highlights:

1. That time that famous statistician Ben Bolker said that our mixed model tutorial written by Gabi Hajduk was not bad.

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2. That time that Hadley Wickham liked our cookies on twitter!

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Twitter fame for our trending tweet!

3. The fact that our popularity has grown from Ecology and Environmental Science students at the University of Edinburgh to political economists in Denmark and beyond!


A map of the visitors to our website!

We’ve been handing out stickers after our various coding challenges at our workshops. Although of course the real prize is getting the training to be as quantitative as one wants, the hexagon-shaped stickers and cookies are a fun bonus! We celebrated Coding Club’s birthday with a jolly meal, where we handed out our new Coding Club t-shirts to the coordinating team, and the nerdiest merchandise we have so far, the Coding Club measuring tapes! Though of course we love code, we do also need to actually collect the data we analyse. Gergana broke all of the little measuring tapes we had out in the Arctic (lots of active layer depth measurements!), so we needed new ones, and what’s better than a measuring tape – a measuring tape with the Coding Club logo!

One of the best parts of our workshops is seeing students put their new skills into practice on their own data! It’s so nice to see people come back and show us the graphs they’ve made, the Markdown reports they’ve produced!

We were also very excited to be invited to present at the signing of the University of Edinburgh’s Student Partnership agreement. The event was a great chance for us to share our experience with Coding Club and learn about other student-staff collaboration initiatives within the university.

We are so happy that our team includes undergraduates, postgraduates and staff, and we are excited for what the next year will bring for Coding Club! You can check out the Coding Club tutorials on our website, and you can follow our coding adventures on Twitter or you could even join the team!

Effect Size

If you are only going to eat one coding cookie make it the effect size cookie, as the most important statistical result is always the effect size (and it’s error)!

By Gergana and Isla

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