The overall scope of my research is the complex interactions between plants and herbivores, especially between trees and mammal herbivores in savannas, and the feedbacks between them that ultimately affect their performance. The main pillars of my research are (1) the effects of biotic and abiotic factors on chemical or physical traits that potentially defend plants against herbivores, and (2) the foraging efficiency, diet selection and performance of herbivores in relation to defensive traits of plants. Currently, my main focus is towards (i) identifying and quantifying low-molecular-weight phenolic compounds in numerous tree species, (ii) determining the responses of dominant compounds to factors such as  herbivory, nutrients and water, and (iii) determining their effects on gut microbes in herbivores. I not only study both sides of the plant-herbivore interaction, but also recognise strong linkages between ecological and agricultural sciences. For example, management of extensive livestock systems can benefit from well-developed understanding of extensive wildlife systems, and vice versa. My research therefore covers a wide spectrum of systems, including both wildlife and domestic livestock systems. My research involves numerous co-investigators at institutions in South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France and The Netherlands.

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