Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
Hmmm, I’m not really sure whether this was the first, but it was certainly an early one. During my undergrad degree I examined the effect of a grass sward (so something like a high lawn) on the germination and growth of three plant species that commonly occur in nature areas. One of the biggest problems when you’re trying to restore nature areas after a long time of disturbance (such as agriculture) is that the ‘desired’ species don’t return, and that was the case for these three species. I wanted to see if the presence of undesirable grasses might be a reason for the lack of establishment. The outcome of the experiment was that the presence of grasses actually helped these plants to germinate, probably because it was wetter. But once they germinated the grasses stopped the seedlings from growing, maybe because they didn’t get enough light or maybe because the grasses produced allelochemicals, which are compounds that some plants make that hinder other plants. I think the experiment actually turned out pretty well!