Heather Viles

Research Interests

Interactions between plants, animals and microorganisms and earth surface processes (especially weathering and erosion) are important and under-studied components of the Earth system which can also be utilised for successful environmental management. Research within the Oxford Rock Breakdown Laboratory (OxRBL) focuses on improving our understanding of the ways in which organisms influence weathering and erosion in arid, semi-arid, arctic and temperate settings, and how such knowledge can be put to practical use. The OxRBL group is highly interdisciplinary and collaborates with a range of external organisations. Any DPhil project would be co-developed with the student and build on their strengths and enthusiasms, but could involve laboratory and field experimentation, monitoring and modelling in Namibia, Morocco, China or the UK.

Personal Research Keywords

Geomicrobiology; microbial biofilms; biogeomorphology; bioprotection; bioerosion; biological weathering