About Me

Round Sonya Photo

I am currently a Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. Vigdis Vandvik at the University of Bergen, Norway. I am part of the EMERALD research group, where we are trying to better understand the terrestrial ecosystem-climate interactions of alpine and arctic systems. My role is to improve our process based understanding of these relationships by synthesizing across observational and experimental research approaches.

I undertook my PhD at The Australian National University, studying in the Division of Ecology and Evolution. I conducted my research under the supervision of Professor Adrienne Nicotra.

My Phd involved working as part of a collaborative project conducting a comparative ecological study on phenotypic plasticity in water use traits, using a multi-site, multi-species design. In addition to this, I also investigated Australian alpine plant ecology, in particular, responses to increasing temperatures, and reduced water availability across elevational gradients.

I’m also becoming interested in adaptive capacity – how do we define it, and how do we go about quantifying, or developing assessment frameworks that will be useful for practitioners? I’m currently part of two large collaborative projects investigating how we can use expert elicitation methods to assess adaptive capacity and functional importance across Australian alpine flora and fauna.

Lastly, we’ve got over 100 years of plant thermal tolerance research, yet there are remarkable gaps in our knowledge of this field. I’m leading a team of researchers conducting a systematic review of this literature across both ecological and agricultural fields, looking to identify the range of research techniques used and their distribution across systems, biomes and life forms.

My Bachelor of Science (Hons) was completed at the University of Otago (NZ) focusing on Geography and Ecology.

After graduating I worked for at AgResearch Ltd, New Zealand, investigating aspects of pasture persistence across dairy and sheep and beef systems. I also helped in assessing the spread of the invasive agriculture pest Heteronychus arator (Black Beetle).