Dr Peter A Thomas

Title: Reader in Plant Ecology
Phone: (+44) 01782 733497
Email: p.a.thomas@keele.ac.uk
Location: Huxley 026
Role: Deputy Head of School
Director of Recruitment/Schools Liaison Officer
International Co-ordinator for University of Alberta
Study Abroad Tutor for Applied Environmental Science
Contacting me: Try my office or email me
peter thomas

I have been at Keele since 1986. My first degree, BSc (Hons) in Biology from Exeter University was followed by an MSc in Ecology at Aberdeen University.  After working for a year, I moved to the University of New Brunswick, Canada supported by a Commonwealth Scholarship to work for a PhD on the regeneration of trees after forest fires.  While at Keele I have spent sabbatical periods as Visiting Professor at the University of Alberta, Canada and as Bullard Fellow at Harvard University, USA.

fire My research interests are primarily to do with the ecology of individual trees, in particular tree growth and seed production.  One long-term project, following the seed production of beech trees across England, has been running for 30 years and now has the longest continuous dataset.  Another project is looking at the seed production and seedling establishment of Scots pine in wetland situations.  I am also involved in a project on modelling forest growth for silvicultural management.  Further afield, I am part of an international team linking the sulphur content of tree rings to that in soda straws (speleothems) from a cave in Italy, ranging from a consideration of pollution over Europe to mapping sulphur in tree rings at the sub-micron scale using the synchrotron at Grenoble. 

I also continue an interest in the effect of fire on vegetation and have two long-term projects running, one looking at the effect of grazing and fire on the world’s northern most cactus population in northern Canada (running since 1993), and the other following cohorts of cacti as they cope with desert grassland fires in Arizona (running since 1987).  I am part of the Research Institute for the Environment, Physical Sciences and Applied Mathematics (EPSAM).

Public understanding of science is also important to me and I have written a number of articles and books on tree and woodland ecology aimed at the non-specialist.

Selected Publications

  • Nowak-Dyjeta K, Giertych MJ, Thomas P, Iszkulo G. 2017. Males and females of Juniperus communis L. and Taxus baccata L. show different seasonal patterns of nitrogen and carbon content in needles. ACTA PHYSIOLOGIAE PLANTARUM, vol. 39, Article 8. doi> full text>
  • Mukassabi TA, Thomas PA, Elmogasapi A. 2017. Medicinal plants in Cyrenaica, Libya: existence and extinction. Biodiversity and Conservation. full text>
  • Ascoli D, Maringer J, Hacket-Pain A, Conedera M, Drobyshev I, Motta R, Cirolli M, Kantorowicz W, Zang C, Schueler S, Croisé L, Piussi P, Berretti R, Palaghianu C, Westergren M, Lageard JGA, Burkart A, Gehrig Bichsel R, Thomas PA, Beudert B, Övergaard R, Vacchiano G. 2017. Two centuries of masting data for European beech and Norway spruce across the European continent. Ecology, vol. 98(5), 1473. link> doi> link> full text>
  • Hacket-Pain AJ, Lageard JGA, Thomas PA. Drought and reproductive effort interact to control growth of a temperate broadleaved tree species (Fagus sylvatica). Tree Physiol, vol. 37(6), 744-754. link> doi> full text>
  • Lageard JGA, Thomas PA, Cheng J. 2017. Animating tree colonization and growth. DENDROCHRONOLOGIA, vol. 42, 13-20. link> doi> full text>

Full Publications List show

Books

  • Thomas PA. 2014. Trees: Their Natural History (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press.
  • THOMAS P and McAlpine RS. 2010. Fire in the Forest. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. link>
  • Thomas P and Packham JR. 2007. Ecology of woodlands and forests. Cambridge Univ Press.
  • Thomas P. 2000. Trees: Their Natural History. Cambridge Univ Press.

Journal Articles

  • Nowak-Dyjeta K, Giertych MJ, Thomas P, Iszkulo G. 2017. Males and females of Juniperus communis L. and Taxus baccata L. show different seasonal patterns of nitrogen and carbon content in needles. ACTA PHYSIOLOGIAE PLANTARUM, vol. 39, Article 8. doi> full text>
  • Mukassabi TA, Thomas PA, Elmogasapi A. 2017. Medicinal plants in Cyrenaica, Libya: existence and extinction. Biodiversity and Conservation. full text>
  • Ascoli D, Maringer J, Hacket-Pain A, Conedera M, Drobyshev I, Motta R, Cirolli M, Kantorowicz W, Zang C, Schueler S, Croisé L, Piussi P, Berretti R, Palaghianu C, Westergren M, Lageard JGA, Burkart A, Gehrig Bichsel R, Thomas PA, Beudert B, Övergaard R, Vacchiano G. 2017. Two centuries of masting data for European beech and Norway spruce across the European continent. Ecology, vol. 98(5), 1473. link> doi> link> full text>
  • Hacket-Pain AJ, Lageard JGA, Thomas PA. Drought and reproductive effort interact to control growth of a temperate broadleaved tree species (Fagus sylvatica). Tree Physiol, vol. 37(6), 744-754. link> doi> full text>
  • Lageard JGA, Thomas PA, Cheng J. 2017. Animating tree colonization and growth. DENDROCHRONOLOGIA, vol. 42, 13-20. link> doi> full text>
  • Thomas P. 2017. Mountain Ash: Fire, Logging and the Future of Victoria's Giant Forests. MOUNTAIN RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, vol. 37(1), 161-162. link> doi> full text>
  • Hartley J, Cowan J, Deeson C, Thomas P. 2016. Book reviews in time. SCIENTOMETRICS, vol. 109(3), 2123-2128. link> doi>
  • Thomas PA. 2016. Biological Flora of the British Isles: Fraxinus excelsior. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, vol. 104(4), 1158-1209. link> doi>
  • Thomas PA and Garcia-Marti X. 2015. Response of European yews to climate change: a review. FOREST SYSTEMS, vol. 24(3), Article ARTN eR01. link> doi> full text>
  • Hacket-Pain AJ, Friend AD, Lageard JGA, Thomas PA. 2015. The influence of masting phenomenon on growth-climate relationships in trees: explaining the influence of previous summers' climate on ring width. TREE PHYSIOLOGY, vol. 35(3), 319-330. link> doi>
  • Standish RJ, Hobbs RJ, Mayfield MM, Bestelmeyer BT, Suding KN, Battaglia LL, Eviner V, Hawkes CV, Temperton VM, Cramer VA, Harris JA, Funk JL, Thomas PA. 2014. Resilience in ecology: Abstraction, distraction, or where the action is?. BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, vol. 177, 43-51. link> doi> link>
  • Thomas PA and Mukassabi TA. 2014. Biological Flora of the British Isles: Ruscus aculeatus. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, vol. 102(4), 1083-1100. link> doi>
  • Packham JR, Thomas PA, Atkinson MD, Degen T. 2012. Biological Flora of the British Isles: Fagus sylvatica. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, vol. 100(6), 1557-1608. link> doi>
  • Mukassabi TA, Polwart A, Coleshaw T, Thomas PA. 2012. How long can young Scots pine seedlings survive waterlogging?. TREES-STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION, vol. 26(5), 1641-1649. link> doi>
  • Krause, S, Taylor SL, Weatherill, J, Haffenden, A, Cassidy, NJ, Thomas, PA. 2012. Fibre-optic distributed temperature sensing for characterizing the impacts of vegetation coverage on thermal patterns in woodlands. Echoydrology. doi>
  • Mukassabi TA, Polwart A, Coleshaw T, Thomas PA. 2012. Scots pine seed dynamics on a waterlogged site. TREES-STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION, vol. 26(4), 1305-1315. link> doi>
  • Packham JR, Thomas PA, JGA L, Hilton GM. 2012. The English beech masting survey 1980–2007: variation in the fruiting of the common beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) and its effects on woodland ecosystems. Arboricultural Journal, vol. 31, 189-214. doi>
  • Ahmidat TA, Sherif G, Elmogasapi IM, Thomas PA. 2012. Checklist and life forms of plant species in contrasting climatic zones of Libya. Biological Diversity and Conservation, vol. 5(3), 1-12.
  • Mukassabi TA, Polwart A, Coleshaw T, Thomas PA. 2012. Does Scots pine seed colour affect its germination?. SEED SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, vol. 40(2), 155-162. link> doi>
  • Thomas PA, El-Barghathi M, Polwart A. 2011. Biological Flora of the British Isles: Euonymus europaeus L. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, vol. 99(1), 345-365. link> doi>
  • Jones GM, Cassidy NJ, Thomas PA, Plante S, Pringle JK. 2009. Imaging and monitoring tree-induced subsidence using electrical resistivity imaging. NEAR SURFACE GEOPHYSICS, vol. 7(3), 191-206. link> full text>
  • Fairchild IJ, Loader NJ, Wynn PM, Frisia S, Thomas PA, Lageard JGA, De Momi A, Hartland A, Borsato A, La Porta N, Susini J. 2009. Sulfur Fixation in Wood Mapped by Synchrotron X-ray Studies: Implications for Environmental Archives. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, vol. 43(5), 1310-1315. link> doi>
  • Thomas PA, El-Barghathi M, Polwart A. 2007. Biological flora of the british isles: Juniperus communis l. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, vol. 95(6), 1404-1440. link> doi>
  • Lageard JGA, La Porta N, Thomas PA, Loader NJ. 2007. Dendroecology and dendrochemistry in Trentino: the Grotta di Ernesto project. Acta Geologica, vol. 82, 57-63.
  • Thomas PA. 2006. Mortality over 16 years of cacti in a burnt desert grassland. PLANT ECOLOGY, vol. 183(1), 9-17. link> doi>
  • Thomas PA. 2004. Trees burning. TREES, Journal of the International Tree Foundation.
  • Thomas PA and Polwart A. 2003. Biological Flora of the British Isles Taxus baccata L.,. Journal of Ecology, vol. 91, 489-524.
  • Thomas PA and Polwart A. 2003. Biological Flora of the British Isles. \fITaxus baccata\fP L. Journal of Ecology, vol. 91(3), 489-524.
  • Thomas PA. 2000. A tree's old age. NATURAL HISTORY, vol. 109(4), 96. link>
  • Lageard JGA, Chambers FM, Thomas PA. 1999. Climatic significance of the marginalization of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) c. 2508 BC at White Moss, south Cheshire, UK. HOLOCENE, vol. 9(3), 321-331. link> doi>
  • Grant ME, Chambers FM, Thomas PA. 1999. Dendrochronological analysis of a modern mire-rooted population of Pinus sylvestris L. and its significance for the study of subfossil pine layers,. Dendrochronologia, vol. 16-17, 9-20.
  • Chambers FM, Lageard JGA, Boswijk G, Thomas PA, Edwards KJ, Hillam J. 1997. Dating prehistoric bog-fires in northern England to calendar years by long-distance cross-matching of pine chronologies. JOURNAL OF QUATERNARY SCIENCE, vol. 12(3), 253-256. link> doi>
  • De Groot WJ, Thomas PA, Wein RW. 1997. Biological Flora of the British Isles: Betula nana L. and Betula glandulosa Michx.,. Journal of Ecology, vol. 85, 241-264.
  • LAGEARD JGA, CHAMBERS FM, THOMAS PA. 1995. RECORDING AND RECONSTRUCTION OF WOOD MACROFOSSILS IN 3-DIMENSIONS. JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE, vol. 22(4), 561-567. link> doi>
  • THOMAS PA and WEIN RW. 1994. AMELIORATION OF WOOD ASH TOXICITY AND JACK PINE ESTABLISHMENT. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF FOREST RESEARCH-REVUE CANADIENNE DE RECHERCHE FORESTIERE, vol. 24(4), 748-755. link> doi>
  • Thomas PA, Proctor MCF, Maltby E. 1994. The ecology of severe moorland fire on the North York Moors: chemical and physical constraints on moss establishment from spores,. Journal of Ecology, vol. 82, 457-474.
  • THOMAS PA and GOODSON P. 1992. CONSERVATION OF SUCCULENTS IN DESERT GRASSLANDS MANAGED BY FIRE. BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, vol. 60(2), 91-100. link> doi>
  • THOMAS PA. 1991. A KEY FOR THE IDENTIFICATION OF 18 COMMON TIMBERS. JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL EDUCATION, vol. 25(1), 15-19. doi>
  • Thomas PA. 1991. Response of cacti and other succulents to fire: a review. The International Journal of Wildland Fire, vol. 1, 11-22.
  • THOMAS PA and WEIN RW. 1990. JACK PINE ESTABLISHMENT ON ASH FROM WOOD AND ORGANIC SOIL. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF FOREST RESEARCH-REVUE CANADIENNE DE RECHERCHE FORESTIERE, vol. 20(12), 1926-1932. link> doi>
  • Thomas PA. 2017. Biological Flora of the British Isles: Sorbus torminalis. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY, vol. 105(6), 1806-1831. link> doi> full text>

Chapters

  • Thomas PA. 2010. General forest ecological processes. In A colour atlas of trees. Bowes BG (Ed.). London: Manson Publishing.

Other

  • Lageard JGA, Thomas PA, Chambers FM. 2000. Using fire scars and growth release in subfossil Scots pine to reconstruct prehistoric fires. PALAEOGEOGRAPHY PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY PALAEOECOLOGY (vol. 164, pp. 87-99). link> doi>
  • Mukassabi TA, Thomas PA, Coleshaw T, Polwart A. Is Scots Pine a Successful Invader in Contemporary Bog?. full text>

Year 1

  • LSC-10037 Diversity of Life
  • ESC-10039 Fundamentals of Physical Geography
  • ESC-10048 Earth Systems

Year 2

  • LSC-20054 Life at the extremes
  • ESC-20038 Integrated Field Studies
  • ESC-20017 Human Impact of the Environment, Scientific Perspectives

Year 3

  • LSC-30004 Research Project (Biology) (Supervisor)
  • LSC-30007 Dissertation for Biology (Supervisor)
  • LSC-30017 Trees in their Environment (Module Manager)
  • ESC-30019 Applied Environmental Science Independent Research Project (Supervisor)
  • CHE-30013 Forensic Specialisms

MSc

  • LSC-40026 Trees, Forests & Global Change (Module Manager)