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Case Studies

Soil Micro-Aggregate Bond Energies and Modelling Fragmentation

Rachel Efrat – British Geological Survey Supervisors: Barry Rawlins John Quinton Andy Whitmore Chris Watts Summary Micro-aggregates, clusters of soil particles less than 250 microns, are the elementary building blocks from which soil structure is composed. They provide an important indicator of soil quality and strength by determining key soil functions, such as porosity and […]

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Lake Sediments Unlock the Secrets to Past Climate Seasonality

Nick Primmer – University of Nottingham Supervisors: Matthew Jones Sarah Metcalfe Achim Brauer Melanie Leng Phil Barker Summary Some lakes contain sediment in their beds that has been layered annually or “varved”; this allows layers to be attributed to a specific year like tree layers in dendrochronology. By closely examining their sedimentology the environmental conditions […]

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Tropical Forest Roots and the Regulation of Greenhouse Gases

Nick Girkin- University of Nottingham Supervisors: Sofie Sjogersten Nick Ostle Nial McNamara Ben Turner Summary Tropical forested peatlands are important carbon stores as well as sources and sinks of greenhouse gases and cover 4.41x103km2, but are under pressure from climate change and human land use alterations. Plants roots release carbon as ‘root exudates’ deep into […]

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Towards a Universal Model for Lava Emplacement

Nathan Magnall – Lancaster University Supervisors: Mike James Hugh Tuffen Charlotte Vye-Brown Summary The emplacement (flow and cooling) of low silica, low viscosity basaltic lavas is relatively well understood due to the high frequency with which they erupt at locations such as Mt Etna, Iceland and Hawaii. In contrast the emplacement of high silica, high […]

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Caves Hold the Clues to Demise of the Neanderthals

Laura Deeprose – Lancaster University Supervisors: Peter Wynn Phil Barker Melanie Leng Summary The disappearance of the Neanderthals, a hominin species similar to ourselves, is a hotly debated topic, with some scientists suggesting that the cause was the arrival of anatomically modern humans whilst others say it was related to climate change. Although climate variations […]

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Sea level and Salinity Drive Evolution in Stickleback Fish

Laura Dean – University of Nottingham Supervisors: Andrew MacColl Suzanne McGowan Xu Chen Summary Many of the lochs of North Uist, Scotland, contain newly evolved species-pairs of three-spined stickleback: anadromous (large, salt water tolerant), heavily armoured fish living alongside smaller, freshwater relatives. Due to changing sea-level, low-lying coastal lagoons often experience periods of isolation from […]

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Dragons Feel the Heat: Thermal Vulnerability of Lizards

James Hicks – University of Nottingham Supervisors: Adam Algar Andrew MacColl Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz Summary Climate change is having an ongoing effect on ectotherm (cold-blooded) ecology but habitat conversion to plantation in SE Asia has a faster thermal impact on their immediate environment. Lizards’ morphological traits are known to be capable of evolving within decades and […]

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Adaptation to Environmental Stress by Evolution of Non-Genotypic Heterogeneity Within Microbial Populations

David Foster – University of Nottingham Supervisors: Simon Avery Steve McGrath Paul Dyer Kirk Semple Ricky Wildman Summary Genetic variation within populations helps a microbial species to survive environmental stresses, as variants may be better adapted to the alternative conditions. Experiments with single-cell microorganisms have shown that individual cells within a population also have markedly […]

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Flow Modification in a Tidal Farm and Potential Effects on Marine Habitats

Dan Potter – Lancaster University Supervisors: Andrew Folkard Suzana Ilic David Evans Stephen Quayle Summary The project aims to investigate the interaction of tidal stream turbine farms used for electricity generation with the surrounding marine environment. The change in behaviour of the ambient flow and the impact of these changes on the wider marine environment […]

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