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January 16, 2017

Linking landscape-scale atmospheric ammonia concentrations with farm management practices

Linking landscape-scale atmospheric ammonia concentrations with farm management practices 400 x 400 px

This studentship explores the relationship between atmospheric ammonia concentrations at the landscape scale and agricultural management practices at the field and farm scale for predominantly grassland-based agricultural systems. Ammonia is a significant contributor to nitrogen deposition, damaging sensitive ecosystems, and largely arises from agricultural sources.

There is a drive for sustainable intensification within the agricultural sector to improve both productivity and environmental management of land. More knowledge is required, particularly in grassland-based production systems, of the effects that management changes such as sward composition and stocking density can have on ammonia emissions to the wider environment.

The aims of this project therefore are, within the context of grassland-based agricultural systems:

• to derive ammonia emission factors/algorithms for the different components of the production systems (grazing, housing, manure storage and spreading, mineral fertilizer application) and assess the influence of the different managements;

• to model ammonia emissions at the whole farm/system scale for different management systems based on the component measurements;

• to model local ammonia concentrations based on farm-scale emissions and dispersion modelling and comparison with a local measurement network

The research will be based largely on the North Wyke Farm Platform (www.rothamsted.ac.uk/farmplatform) and also at Bangor University Henfaes research facility (http://www.bangor.ac.uk/senrgy/research/facilities/henfaes.php.en), with expertise in measuring ammonia concentrations and atmospheric dispersion modelling provided by CEH, Edinburgh.

In addition to the generic training in good scientific practice, scientific writing and presentation skills, etc., the student will receive specific training in:

• measurements of atmospheric ammonia concentrations

• laboratory and field-scale measurements of emissions from a range of agricultural sources

• laboratory methods for the characterization of livestock manures

• environmental modelling (farm-scale ammonia emission modelling; atmospheric dispersion modelling)

The studentship will involve travel between the North Wyke, Bangor and CEH Edinburgh sites and it is expected that the student will attend relevant international conferences to present their research.

Eligibility: Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in Environmental Science or similar subject. A strong mathematical background and some skills/experience of environmental modelling would be an advantage. Applicants should have a full, clean driving license. For further details please contact Dr. Tom Misselbrook: tom.misselbrook@rothamsted.ac.uk