Dr Emma Sayer


Research Overview

My research investigates how ecosystems respond to change. I’m happiest when working in forests but I also make the occasional foray into grasslands. My main research focus lies in determining how interactions between above- and belowground processes affect ecosystem function. I work in the UK, Panama and Borneo using a wide range of tools borrowed from biogeochemistry, plant-, soil, and microbial ecology. I’m also passionate about science communication and public engagement with science. For more details, take a look at my project website http://www.forestprime.com and at http://www.festivalbugs.org

Decomposition of coarse woody debris in a long‐term litter manipulation experiment: A focus on nutrient availability
Gora, E., Sayer, E.J., Turner, B.L., Tanner, E.V. 04/2018 In: Functional Ecology. 32, 4, p. 1128-1138. 11 p.
Journal article

Distinct responses of soil respiration to experimental litter manipulation in temperate woodland and tropical forest
Brechet, L.M., Lopez-Sangil, L., George, C., Birkett, A.J., Baxendale, C.L., Trujillo, B.C., Sayer, E.J. 04/2018 In: Ecology and Evolution. 8, 7, p. 3787-3796. 10 p.
Journal article

Effects of long-term inorganic and organic nutrient addition on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal abundance and community in a lowland tropical forest
Sayer, E.J. 18/03/2018 In: ISME Journal.
Journal article

Initial Soil Organic Matter Content Influences the Storage and Turnover of Litter, Root and Soil Carbon in Grasslands
Xu, S., Li, P., Sayer, E.J., Zhang, B., Wang, J., Qiao, C., Peng, Z., Diao, L., Chi, Y., Liu, W., Liu, L. 12/02/2018 In: Ecosystems. 13 p.
Journal article

Tropical forest restoration: Fast resilience of plant biomass contrasts with slow recovery of stable soil C stocks
Wang, F., Ding, Y., Sayer, E.J., Li, Q., Zou, B., Mo, Q., Li, Y., Lu, X., Tang, J., Zhu, W., Li, Z. 12/2017 In: Functional Ecology. 31, 12, p. 2344-2355. 12 p.
Journal article

Tree functional diversity affects litter decomposition and arthropod community composition in a tropical forest
Laird-Hopkins, B., Brechet, L.M., Trujillo, B.C., Sayer, E.J. 11/2017 In: Biotropica. 49, 6, p. 903-911. 9 p.
Journal article

Short- and long-term influence of litter quality and quantity on simulated heterotrophic soil respiration in a lowland tropical forest
Brechet, L.M., Le Dantec, V., Ponton, S., Goret, J., Sayer, E.J., Bonal, D., Freycon, V., Roy, J., Epron, D. 09/2017 In: Ecosystems. 20, 6, p. 1190-1204. 15 p.
Journal article

The Automated Root Exudate System (ARES): a method to apply solutes at regular intervals to soils in the field
Lopez-Sangil, L., George, C., Medina Barcenas, E., Birkett, A.J., Baxendale, C.L., Brechet, L.M., Estradera-Gumbau, E., Sayer, E.J. 09/2017 In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 8, 9, p. 1042-1050. 9 p.
Journal article

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal community composition is altered by long-term litter removal but not litter addition in a lowland tropical forest
Sheldrake, M., Rosenstock, N.P., Revillini, D., Olsson, P.A., Mangan, S., Sayer, E.J., Wallander, H., Turner, B.L., Tanner, E.V. 04/2017 In: New Phytologist. 214, 1, p. 455-467. 13 p.
Journal article

Links between soil microbial communities and plant traits in a species-rich grassland under long-term climate change
Sayer, E.J., Oliver, A.E., Fridley, J.D., Askew, A.P., Mills, R.T.E., Grime, J.P. 02/2017 In: Ecology and Evolution. 7, 3, p. 855-862. 8 p.
Journal article

Dung beetle community dynamics in undisturbed tropical forests: implications for ecological evaluations of land-use change
Da Silva, W., Slade, E.M., Barlow, B.J., Da Silveira, J.M., Louzada, J.N., Sayer, E.J. 01/2017 In: Insect Conservation and Diversity. 10, 1, p. 94-106. 13 p.
Journal article

Nutrient limitation of woody debris decomposition in a tropical forest: contrasting effects of N and P addition
Chen, Y., Sayer, E., Li, Z., Mo, Q., Li, Y., Ding, Y., Wang, J., Lu, X., Tang, J., Wang, F. 02/2016 In: Functional Ecology. 30, p. 295-304. 10 p.
Journal article

The functional ecology short guide to scientific writing
Sayer, E.J. 2016
Other contribution

The forest for the trees
Sayer, E. 19/09/2014 In: Frontiers of Biogeography. 6, 3
Book/Film/Article review

Sex & bugs & rock 'n roll: getting creative about public engagement
Sayer, E., Featherstone, H.C., Gosling, W.D. 02/2014 In: Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 29, 2, p. 65-67. 3 p.
Journal article

Leaf-cutting ants as ecosystem engineers: topsoil and litter perturbations around Atta cephalotes nests reduce nutrient availability
Meier, S., Neubauer, M., Sayer, E., Leal, I., Tabarelli, M., Wirth, R. 10/2013 In: Ecological Entomology. 38, 5, p. 497-504. 8 p.
Journal article

Litter manipulation and the soil arthropod community in a lowland tropical rainforest
Ashford, O.S., Foster, W.A., Turner, B.L., Sayer, E., Sutcliffe, L., Tanner, E.V. 07/2013 In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 62, p. 5-12. 8 p.
Journal article

Grassland management influences spatial patterns of soil microbial communities
Sayer, E.J., Wagner, M., Oliver, A.E., Pywell, R.F., James, P., Whiteley, A.S., Heard, M.S. 06/2013 In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 61, p. 61-68. 8 p.
Journal article

Variability of above-ground litter inputs alters soil physicochemical and biological processes: a meta-analysis of litterfall-manipulation experiments
Xu, S., Liu, L., Sayer, E.J. 2013 In: Biogeosciences. 10, 11, p. 7423-7433. 11 p.
Journal article

Variable responses of lowland tropical forest nutrient status to fertilization and litter manipulation
Sayer, E.J., Joseph Wright, S., Tanner, E.V.J., Yavitt, J.B., Harms, K.E., Powers, J.S., Kaspari, M., Garcia, M.N., Turner, B.L. 04/2012 In: Ecosystems. 15, 3, p. 387-400. 14 p.
Journal article

Soil carbon release enhanced by increased tropical forest litterfall
Sayer, E.J., Heard, M.S., Grant, H.K., Marthews, T.R., Tanner, E.V.J. 09/2011 In: Nature Climate Change. 1, 6, p. 304-307. 4 p.
Journal article

Potassium, phosphorus, or nitrogen limit root allocation, tree growth, or litter production in a lowland tropical forest
Wright, S.J., Yavitt, J.B., Wurzburger, N., Turner, B.L., Tanner, E.V.J., Sayer, E.J., Santiago, L.S., Kaspari, M., Hedin, L.O., Harms, K.E., Garcia, M.N., Corre, M.D. 1/08/2011 In: Ecology. 92, 8, p. 1616-1625. 10 p.
Journal article

Experimental investigation of the importance of litterfall in lowland semi-evergreen tropical forest nutrient cycling: tropical forest litterfall and nutrients
Sayer, E.J., Tanner, E.V.J. 09/2010 In: Journal of Ecology. 98, 5, p. 1052-1062. 11 p.
Journal article

Arthropod abundance and diversity in a lowland tropical forest floor in Panama: the role of habitat space vs. nutrient concentrations
Sayer, E.J., Sutcliffe, L.M.E., Ross, R.I.C., Tanner, E.V.J. 03/2010 In: Biotropica. 42, 2, p. 194-200. 7 p.
Journal article

A new approach to trenching experiments for measuring root–rhizosphere respiration in a lowland tropical forest
Sayer, E., Tanner, E.V.J. 02/2010 In: Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 42, 2, p. 347-352. 6 p.
Journal article

Increased litterfall in tropical forests boosts the transfer of soil CO2 to the atmosphere
Sayer, E.J., Powers, J.S., Tanner, E.V.J. 12/12/2007 In: PLoS ONE. 2, 12, 6 p.
Journal article

Effects of litter manipulation on early-stage decomposition and meso-arthropod abundance in a tropical moist forest
Sayer, E.J., Tanner, E.V.J., Lacey, A.L. 1/07/2006 In: Forest Ecology and Management. 229, 1-3, p. 285-293. 9 p.
Journal article

Increased litterfall changes fine root distribution in a moist tropical forest
Sayer, E.J., Tanner, E.V.J., Cheesman, A.W. 03/2006 In: Plant and Soil. 281, 1-2, p. 5-13. 9 p.
Journal article

Using experimental manipulation to assess the roles of leaf litter in the functioning of forest ecosystems
Sayer, E.J. 02/2006
Literature review

The role of tree size in the leafing phenology of a seasonally dry tropical forest in Belize, Central America
Sayer, E.J., Newbery, D.M. 09/2003 In: Journal of Tropical Ecology. 19, 5, p. 539-548. 10 p.
Journal article