MAST-NET is an international network of researchers, coordinated from the University of Liverpool, investigating the causes of synchronised and variable seed production in plants (“masting”). We aim to improve prediction of bumper seed crop years, establish how masting will respond to environmental change, and understand what changes in masting will mean for ecosystems. 

We will draw together data from tropical, temperate and boreal forests to understand how masting varies between biomes, species, and across climate gradients. Various members of the network maintain research programmes that monitor annual seed production, and we will bring these together to understand how seed production varies over time, and what triggers bumper seed years. We will also search archives and the scientific literature for additional data. The datasets that we will build in this project will then act as a spring-board for future research, including projects linked to public health, habitat management, and agriculture, taking advantage of the wide range of expertise contained in the network. 

MAST-NET is a three-year project, funded by NERC. Network activities will be coordinated via workshops held in Liverpool, Keele and Cambridge. The MAST-NET kick-off meeting was held in Liverpool in 2018, and the final meeting in Liverpool will be held in December 2021.