The Team

The Bloggers

Ben crop

Ben Roberts – PhD student

An Ecology graduate from Aberystwyth University, Ben first joined us as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate. By the time his 11-month project had finished he’d been well and truly bitten by the research bug, and successfully applied for a PhD scholarship studying spatial grazing patterns on heather moorland and blanket bog.

Me and Maisie

Dr Mariecia Fraser – Principal Researcher

Mariecia is a grazing ecologist, and Reader in Upland Agroecology. She has a degree in Agricultural Science with Honours in Animal Science (University of Edinburgh) and a PhD in Grazing Ecology (Macaulay Land Use Research Institute/University of Edinburgh). Her research interests include: species and breed differences in diet selection and ingestive behaviour, conservation grazing, nutrient supply from fresh and ensiled forages, greenhouse gas emissions from grazing animals, and the bio-energy potential of semi-natural grasslands.


Hannah Vallin – RA

Hannah joined the Pwllpeiran team as a Research Assistant, having swapped life in a DNA lab for the great outdoors.  She co-ordinated the field and lab work for the Yellow Gold daffodil project, and has now moved on to the Soay sheep project.

Schools 5

Caroline Freeman – PhD student

Caroline is studying the impact of management on soil water infiltration, with the aim of understanding links between land use, land management and flood risk

The rest of the Team


Daniel Forester- PhD student

Having completed his undergraduate degree at Bangor University, Dan has jumped ship to Aberystwyth to take up a PhD studentship quantifying the long term impacts on ecosystem delivery service from upland permanent pasture under alternative management regimes.  His research is based on the Brignant long-term plots.

John Davies – Pwllpeiran Resource Manager

Pwllpeiran’s man in the know! John is well connected in the agricultural sector with previous roles at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) Trawscoed, then as a livestock procurement officer for a livestock co-operative, followed by a period as an agricultural estate agent and auctioneer. He worked for NFU Cymru as a Policy Adviser for nine years before becoming Director of the Food Centre Wales, providing state of the art technical support for the Welsh Agri-Food industry. John is a Former Wales YFC president, Chairman of the Wales Rural Network and the Mid Wales Agri-food group; and a member of the Welsh Rural Development Programme monitoring committee. He is also a Special Advisor to the Cambrian Mountain initiative.

Iolo Davies – Field Research Technician

The man with the plan and a clipboard! Iolo keeps everyone organised and all the various different research project running to schedule. He previously worked on the IBERS farms and on dairy trials, plus he has a flock of prize-winning sheep at home.

Eirian Richards – Field research Technician

Eirian also worked on the IBERS farms, but prior to that he spent several years working for the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) on their varieties testing programmes. He’s also a dab hand at fixing vehicles and machines, which has saved the day more than once when something crucial has stopped working in the middle of harvesting.

Gareth Rowlands – The Boss

Our longest serving member. Having spent 20+ years working for ADAS at Pwllpeiran, Gareth has continued to work as estate manager at the research centre. He is responsible for the day-to-day running of the facility and its resources, and also assists on most research projects.