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Dr Yoseph Araya

Profile summary

Professional biography

Dr Yoseph Araya, is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology & Environmental Sciences within the Ecosystems and Biodiversity Research discipline. 

Contact: Yoseph [dot] Araya [at] open [dot] ac [dot] uk

Research interests

My particular research interest is in the functional relationships between plants and their environment (particularly water and nutrients). I especially enjoy integrating experimental studies with field investigations. I also am an enthusiastic communicator of science and environmental education.

Some projects I have been involved include:

  • Soil Moisture gradients and biodiversity in the Cape Flora, Western Cape, South Africa: looking at niche segregation, plant coexistence, ecohydrological management, evolution of plant diversity; as well as plant and soil micobial diversity relationships e.g. UK, Spain

  • Environmental education for the public and engagement in science, including Citizen Science on water, plants, hedges ... e.g. iSpot and in more formal way paraecologists

  • Quantitative Ecology i.e. querying plant record databases for trends and also collaborating with statisticians to test new methods e.g. Foodplain Meadows management

  • Valuing of Ecosystem Services for multiple purposes and stakeholders for sustainable wholistic environmental management - as part of wholistic evaluation

  • ​Macadamia tree growth and nut production in response to provenance, agroclimatic zone and management practices with Neno Macadamia Trust and Emmanuel Zuza Jr.

Teaching interests

Prior to my role as a central academic, I have been an Associate Lecturer with the OU for a number of years, on various science, ecology and environmental science modules (from undergraduate to postgraduate) across faculties. I teach online, face-to-face and in the field, in addition to supporting research students. I particuarly enjoy modules that bridge across disciplines and involve approaches in technology-enhanced learning.

Some modules i have been involved are: Environmental Science (S206/SXF206), Biology of Survival (S295), Environmental Management (T219), Journey's in a changing Environment (U116), SXE390 (Science Project - Environment strand), Environment responding to change (SDT306). A free taster for SDT306 is entitled as 'Eating for the Environment'.

I write public education blogs at OU's OpenLearn website.

External collaborations

I have active collaborations with colleagues in other institutions within the UK as well as overseas e.g. Spain, Germany, Malawi, and South Africa.

I am an active and passionate member of our professional body, British Ecological Society and its special interest group of Ecology Teaching and Learning as well as public engagement. 

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Climate suitability predictions for the cultivation of macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia) in Malawi using climate change scenarios (2021-09-09)
Zuza, Emmanuel Junior; Maseyk, Kadmiel; Bhagwat, Shonil A.; de Sousa, Kauê; Emmott, Andrew; Rawes, William and Araya, Yoseph Negusse
PLOS ONE, 16, Article e0257007(9)

Review of Macadamia Production in Malawi: Focusing on What, Where, How Much Is Produced and Major Constraints (2021-02-12)
Zuza, Emmanuel Junior; Maseyk, Kadmiel; Bhagwat, Shonil; Emmott, Andrew; Rawes, Will and Araya, Yoseph Negusse
Agriculture, 11, Article e152(2)

Teaching and learning in ecology: a horizon scan of emerging challenges and solutions (2021-01)
Cooke, Julia; Araya, Yoseph; Bacon, Karen L.; Bagniewska, Joanna M.; Batty, Lesley; Bishop, Tom R.; Burns, Moya; Charalambous, Magda; Daversa, David R.; Dougherty, Liam R.; Dyson, Miranda; Fisher, Adam M.; Forman, Dan; Garcia, Cristina; Harney, Ewan; Hesselberg, Thomas; John, Elizabeth A; Knell, Rob; Maseyk, Kadmiel; Mauchline, Alice L.; Peacock, Julie; Pernetta, Angelo P.; Pritchard, Jeremy; Sutherland, William J.; Thomas, Rebecca L.; Tigar, Barbara; Wheeler, Philip; White, Rachel L.; Worsfold, Nicholas T. and Lewis, Zenobia
Oikos, 130(1) (pp. 15-28)

Does functional soil microbial diversity contribute to explain within-site plant beta-diversity in an alpine grassland and a dehesa meadow in Spain? (2017-09-01)
Araya, Yoseph N.; Bartelheimer, Maik; Valle, Cipriano J.; Crujeiras, Rosa M. and García-Baquero, Gonzalo
Journal of Vegetation Science, 28(5) (pp. 1018-1027)

Beyond ecosystem services: valuing the invaluable (2017-04)
Gunton, Richard M.; van Asperen, Eline; Basden, Andrew; Bookless, David; Araya, Yoseph; Hanson, David R.; Goddard, Mark A.; Otieno, George and Jones, Gareth O.
Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 32(4) (pp. 249-257)

Differences between urban and rural hedges in England revealed by a citizen science project (2016-07-22)
Gosling, Laura; Sparks, Tim H.; Araya, Yoseph; Harvey, Martin and Ansine, Janice
BMC Ecology, 16, Article 15(1) (pp. 45-55)

Contributions of paraecologists and parataxonomists to research, conservation, and social development (2016-06)
Schmiedel, Ute; Araya, Yoseph; Bortolotto, Maria Ieda; Boeckenhoff, Linda; Hallwachs, Winnie; Janzen, Daniel; Kolipaka, Shekhar S.; Novotny, Vojtech; Palm, Matilda; Parfondry, Marc; Smanis, Athanasios and Toko, Pagi
Conservation Biology, 30(3) (pp. 506-519)

Climate Change Impacts on Hydrological Niches of Restionaceae Species in Jonkershoek, South Africa (2016-03-30)
Guo, Danni; Midgley, Guy F.; Araya, Yoseph N.; Silvertown, Jonathan and Musil, Charles F.
Journal of Water Resource & Hydraulic Engineering, 5(1) (pp. 20-28)

Hydrological niches in terrestrial plant communities: a review (2015-01-07)
Silvertown, Jonathan; Araya, Yoseph and Gowing, David
Journal of Ecology, 103(1) (pp. 93-108)

Preparing for an interdisciplinary future: a perspective from early-career researchers (2013-09)
Bridle, Helen; Vrieling, Anton; Cardillo, Monica; Araya, Yoseph and Hinojosa-Valencia, Leonith
Futures, 53 (pp. 22-32)

Does soil nitrogen availability mediate the response of grassland composition to water regime? (2013-05)
Araya, Yoseph N.; Gowing, David J. and Dise, N.
Journal of Vegetation Science, 24(3) (pp. 506-517)

Quantifying soil hydrology to explain the development of vegetation at an ex-arable wetland restoration site (2013-04)
Stroh, Peter A.; Mountford, Owen; Araya, Yoseph N. and Hughes, Francine M. R.
Wetlands, 33(2) (pp. 311-320)

Raising Awareness about Water Issues: The Role of Water Symbolism and Proverbs (2013)
Sindik, Joško and Araya, Yoseph Negusse
Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 5(4A) (pp. 34-39)

Do niche-structured plant communities exhibit phylogenetic conservatism? A test case in an endemic clade (2012-11)
Araya, Yoseph N.; Silvertown, Jonathan; Gowing, David J.; McConway, Kevin J.; Linder, H. P. and Midgley, Guy
Journal of Ecology, 100(6) (pp. 1434-1439)

Experimental investigation of the origin of fynbos plant community structure after fire (2012)
Silvertown, Jonathan; Araya, Yoseph N.; Linder, H. Peter and Gowing, David J.
Annals of Botany, 110(7) (pp. 1377-1383)

A fundamental, eco-hydrological basis for niche segregation in plant communities (2011-01)
Araya, Yoseph N.; Silvertown, Jonathan; Gowing, David J.; McConway, Kevin J.; Linder, H. Peter and Midgley, Guy
New Phytologist, 189(1) (pp. 253-258)

Variation in δ13C among species and sexes in the family Restionaceae along a fine-scale hydrological gradient (2010-11)
Araya, Yoseph; Silvertown, Jonathan; Gowing, David; McConway, Kevin; Linder, Peter and Midgley, Guy
Austral Ecology, 35(7) (pp. 818-824)

Nitrogen mineralization from cabbage crop residue and its uptake efficiency by rye grass (2010-01)
Araya, Yoseph Negusse; De Neve, Stefaan and Hofman, Georges
Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Plant Soil Science, 60(1) (pp. 33-39)

A controlled water-table depth system to study the influence of fine-scale differences in water regime for plant growth (2010-01)
Araya, Yoseph N.; Gowing, David J. and Dise, Nancy
Aquatic Botany, 92(1) (pp. 70-74)

Understanding how water resources shape our flora (2009-06)
Araya, Yoseph and Walker, Nick
Veld and Flora, 95(2) (pp. 96-97)

Linking 'citizen scientists' to professionals in ecological research, examples from Namibia and South Africa (2009)
Araya, Yoseph N.; Schmiedel, Ute and von Witt, Caitlin
Conservation Evidence, 6 (pp. 11-17)

Global public water education: the World Water Monitoring Day experience (2006-12)
Araya, Yoseph Negusse and Moyer, Edward H.
Journal of Applied Environmental Education and Communication, 5(4) (pp. 263-267)

Young peoples' involvement in global water issues (2004-06)
Araya, Yoseph Negusse and Kabakian, Vahakn
Futures, 36(5) (pp. 603-609)

Using Citizen Science to Raise Public Awareness and Engagement with Water Issues (2020-04)
Araya, Yoseph
In: Maurice, Patricia A. ed. Encyclopedia of Water: Science,Technology and Society
ISBN : 978-1-119-30075-5 | Publisher : John Wiley & Sons Inc. (In Press)

Hydrosphere (2020-04)
Araya, Yoseph
In: Maurice, Patricia A. ed. Encyclopedia of Water: Science,Technology and Society
ISBN : 978-1-119-30075-5 | Publisher : John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Agriculture and food (2015-07)
Araya, Yoseph; Dorward, Andrew; Gideon, Jasmine; Kock, Richard; Smith, Laurence and Waage, Jeff
In: Waage, Jeff and Yap, Chris eds. Thinking Beyond Sectors for Sustainable Development (pp. 45-50)
ISBN : 978-1-909188-42-6 | Publisher : Ubiquity Press | Published : London

Evolution of hydrological niches in Restionaceae: a project update (2008)
Araya, Y. N.; Silvertown, J.; Linder, H. P; Gowing, D. J.; Midgley, G. F. and McConway, K. J.
In: Mucina, L.; Kalwij, J. M.; Smith, V. R.; Chytry, M.; White, P. S.; Cilliers, S. S.; Pillar, V. D.; Zobel, M. and Sun, I-Fang eds. Frontiers of Vegetation Science - An evolutionary angle (pp. 15-16)
ISBN : 9780958476690 | Publisher : Keith Phillips Images | Published : Somerset West

Ecology of Water Relations in Plants (2007-03)
Araya, Yoseph Negusse
In: Encyclopaedia of life sciences [26 vol. set]
ISBN : 9780470066515 | Publisher : Wiley

Hydrosphere (2005)
Araya, Yoseph Negusse
In: Lehr, Jay H and Keeley, Jack eds. Water Encyclopedia
ISBN : 9780471441649 | Publisher : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. | Published : USA

iSpot: a citizen science platform for inclusive learning and teaching (2018-06-03)
Ansine, Janice; Araya, Yoseph; Dodd, Michael and Robinson, David
In : European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) Conference 2018 (3-5 Jun 2018, Geneva, Switzerland)