Dr Audrey Gerber is a Research Associate in the Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield. Her role as coordinator of the Centre for Designed Ecology brings together a wide range of experience in horticultural research, industry development, historic landscapes, and industry focussed facilitation, extension and training.
Covering three continents, the extent of Audrey’s previous experience merges together to explore the use of ornamentals in designed landscapes, with particular interest in changes of landscape design and use over time, extending from conservation of heritage landscapes through to consideration of how climate change and varying social parameters affect what landscapes look like and how they function.
As CfDE coordinator, Audrey’s role is to define and articulate how the principles of Designed Ecology can advance the theory and practice of landscape design, landscape planning, and landscape management. Drawing from reviews of current literature, and interactions and discussions with like-minded individuals and organisations around the world, this role aims to identify barriers to the incorporation of ecological principles into designed landscapes, and to identify opportunities for maximum impact.
Effective promotion and marketing of the Centre for Designed Ecology will engage in formal and informal communication media to relate to academic collaborators, industry partners, policy makers, and communities alike. Central to Audrey’s role is the development of external partnerships and collaborative research initiatives, with particular attention on attracting research funds from a wide range of sources.
Audrey is also involved with the Woody Meadow project at the University of Sheffield with Prof. James Hitchmough, and research colleagues from the University of Melbourne. The Woody Meadow integrates Audrey’specialised knowledge in flowering and growth physiology of ornamental woody perennials (with an emphasis on Australian and South African native flora), with a sophisticated understanding of spatial design at the community plant level, and contemporary ecological theory.