From a plant-lover’s perspective

In the second episode of Speculation & Percolation, we find ourselves sitting in the grass by the washing line with Sara Lil Middleton, an environmental scientist, considering ecological disaster, food scarcity and Blackmirror.


Sara Middleton is a first-year NERC Doctoral Training Partnership student at the University of Oxford. She is interested in using both functional-trait and demographic approaches to understand how different plant communities respond to global environmental change using three study systems: grasslands, tropical forests and invasive plants.  Alongside her PhD, she is a data contributor to the Ecoflora database and a committee member for the British Ecological Society Invasion Science Group.

She is a project coordinator for a documentary film on bananas (Bananageddon). The film looks at the socio-economic and environmental issues of current banana production methods and what the future holds for the world’s favourite fruit.

She also manages a social science photography project called Human Nature Stories Project, where she interviews members of the public about their attitudes to nature. To date, she has interviewed 90 people in seven different countries. 

She is also a visiting scientist across various primary schools in Oxford, where she delivers interactive sessions on a range of topics from plant biology to life as a scientist.