Marie C Henniges

Marie C Henniges

Profile Display Name:

Marie C Henniges

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2018 (Cohort 5)

Research interests:

Machine learning
Mathematical statistics
Species distribution models

Hobbies and interests:

PhD Project
PhD Title

Uncovering how interactions between genome size, macronutrients and land use change contribute to shaping species distributions and ecology of the UK flora

Research Theme

Biodiversity and Ecology

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution

Royal Botanic Gardens, KEW

Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution


Additional supervisor(s)

Alexandre Antonelli (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew),
Richard Nichols (Queen Mary University of London),
Rob Knell (Queen Mary University of London),


Genome size (GS) has been shown to impact almost every aspect of a plant’s life, from physiology to niche requirements and entire life-history strategies. These associations have sparked a growing interest in GS as a predictive value in questions relating to changing climate and biodiversity loss. The emergence of techniques for precise evaluation of genome structure along with a wealth of comprehensive databases on plant traits and niche requirements, biodiversity and species distributions over time, especially for the UK, offer an exciting framework for the integration of GS into advanced ecological models. In this project, we will attempt this integrative endeavour using a threefold approach: (1) Worldwide biodiversity data (PREDICTS) will be used to assess the relevance of correlation between niche requirements, life strategy and GS for future diversity developments in the UK. (2) Documented historic changes in land use, climate and plant distributions across the UK will be evaluated for the predictive potential of GS in this context with the ultimate aim of GS inclusion in powerful predictive vegetation models. (3) The relevance of plant GS in networks of nutrient flow, biomass production and microbial community assembly will be explored in experimentally controlled and natural systems.

Policy Impact

Integrating historical records and plant trait information with genome size, an underlying determinant of a plant’s trait space, I am building models that will inform local and national efforts to preserve biodiversity and ecosystems across Britain and Ireland.

Background Reading



A taxonomic, genetic and ecological data resource for the vascular plants of Britain and Ireland Trait database of vascular plants of Britain and Ireland. Contributors: Henniges, M.C., Powell, R.F., Mian, S., Stace, C.A., Walker, K.J., Gornall, R.J., Christenhusz, M.J.M., Brown, M.R., Twyford, A.D., Hollingsworth, P.M., Jones, L., De Vere, N., Antonelli, A., Leitch, A.R., Leitch, I.J.

Training courses
  • Molecular Phylogenetics, hosted by University of Cambridge. April 2019
  • Machine learning in Python, hosted by Transmitting Science. July 2020
  • Programming in Python, hosted by Codefirst Girls. November 2019
  • Introduction to Web Development, hosted by Codefirst Girls. October 2019
DTP Activities

Social Links
University Departmental Website:
Personal Website:





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