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January 16, 2017

Scaling links between soil moisture and greenhouse gas emissions in grassland systems

Scaling links between soil moisture and greenhouse gas emissions in grassland systems 400 x 400 px

This studentship offers a unique opportunity to explore the key controls of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from hill and upland soils using state-of-the-art measurement equipment linked to national flagship projects, which allows fluxes of N2O, CO2 and CH4 to be quantified at the field-scale, alongside integrated soil moisture measurements at the same scale. This semi-continuous measurement approach means that the temporal links between soil moisture and variability of soil-derived GHG emissions can be investigated simultaneously at the field-scale for the first time, and from agro-ecosystems which have been under-researched.

By measuring the effects of key controlling factors at increasing scales (from lab-based incubations, to sub-metre-scale use of static and automated chambers, through to use of eddy covariance approaches), the key drivers can be identified at each scale, and used to improve our ability to predict key ‘tipping’ points where fluxes are markedly changed. This information is critical in the development of mitigation strategies.

The student will be based in the award winning Environment Centre Wales Building which is a fusion of the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology together with academic staff from Bangor University. The researcher would have their own workstation on the ‘Ecosystems and Environment’ floor, which has an emphasis on food security, waste management, climate change, wetland biogeochemistry and microbial population ecology. The researcher will have access to an impressive array of specialist equipment enabling their studies to proceed efficiently, including state-of-the-art facilities for measuring environmental samples. The researcher will also have technical support for routine tasks such as sample collection and preparation.

At the end of the PhD the student will have developed a strong skill-set in the fields of GHG emissions, data mining and modeling. These skills will enable the student to tackle key problems from a number of perspectives and provide training for life.

Eligibility: Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Environmental Science, Agriculture, Geography or Natural Sciences. The project is multidisciplinary, combining soil science, atmospheric emissions, agricultural management, modeling and will operate at a number of scales, making a wide range of scientific training suitable. The student must have a good grasp of mathematics and be able to interact in a group containing a wide range of expertise.

For further details please contact Prof. Dave Chadwick; d.chadwick@bangor.ac.uk