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2017

Savanna Soil Carbon: investigating biological climate resilience

Savanna Soil Carbon: investigating biological climate resilience

Savanna ecosystems occupy 20% of the Earth’s land surface and are characterized by open canopied mixed woodland with a grassy understorey and seasonal rainfall in tropical or sub-tropical regions. They are also reservoirs of globally important biodiversity and carbon that are strongly influenced by the combined effects of grazing, fire and climate. Savannas are critical […]

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Adapting to extreme environments: Hybridisation and the evolution of contemporary heavy metal tolerance

Adapting to extreme environments: Hybridisation and the evolution of contemporary heavy metal tolerance

Climate change, urbanisation and exploitation of natural resources increasingly alter the environment, posing significant challenges for plants and animals. We have a poor understanding of how organisms will adapt to such rapid and widespread disruption, particularly in terms of their evolutionary responses. For species to adapt to such fast paced change, they will either need […]

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Filling the emissions gap: Investigating the dynamic contribution of soil volatile organic compounds to temperate and tropical forest atmospheres

Filling the emissions gap: Investigating the dynamic contribution of soil volatile organic compounds to temperate and tropical forest atmospheres

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) disrupt the chemical equilibrium of the atmosphere causing increased formation of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. The majority of these VOCs are known to originate from the world’s forests, but we cannot currently account for them all. Without knowledge of the precise sources, we cannot predict how they will respond to […]

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A New Framework for Measuring Uncertainty in Satellite Observations of Climate Change

A New Framework for Measuring Uncertainty in Satellite Observations of Climate Change

This project offers the exciting opportunity to develop fundamental new insight into the certainty of satellite estimates of climate change, with a focus on Earth’s polar ice sheets. The melting of ice from Greenland and Antarctica contributes more than one third of global sea level rise. Satellites provide a unique tool for systematically monitoring the […]

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Diversity and evolution of facultative and constitutive C4 photosynthesis in sedges

Diversity and evolution of facultative and constitutive C4 photosynthesis in sedges

Plants have evolved different versions of photosynthesis to maintain efficiency under diverse environmental conditions. While the vast majority of plants use C3 photosynthesis, some plants evolved a turbo-charged form of photosynthesis called C4, which is used by our most productive food and bioenergy crops. The C4 system evolved from the ancestral C3 type via a […]

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Nitrogen controls on ecosystem functioning in neotropical dry forests

Nitrogen controls on ecosystem functioning in neotropical dry forests

Global agriculture is rapidly expanding in response to the growing demand for food, with ‘agricultural frontiers’, such as dry and fertile lands of the Gran Chaco in South America contributing to this need. The croplands produce large quantities of food cheaply as infrastructure develops and investments grow. However, conflicts between economic development and environmental degradation […]

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Improving UK air quality forecasts during heatwaves

Improving UK air quality forecasts during heatwaves

Poor air quality is a major global health concern affecting all industrialised nations and virtually all of society. Worldwide, ~3 million deaths are attributable to air pollution annually (World Health Organization), with ~40,000 premature deaths in the UK alone (Royal College of Physicians). Air pollution-related disease places a significant financial burden on the NHS and […]

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Rewilding trajectories: how important are the early years?

Rewilding trajectories: how important are the early years?

Would you like to earn a PhD doing research at the cutting edge of biodiversity, ecosystem services, environmental genomics and land-use change? We are looking for an enthusiastic, numerate student with a passion for ecology. The UK has committed to ambitious targets for landscape management in coming decades, and evidence is needed to support ecological […]

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Space weather at mid-latitudes: climatology, dynamics and drivers of atmospheric Joule heating

Space weather at mid-latitudes: climatology, dynamics and drivers of atmospheric Joule heating

The Earth experiences ‘space weather’ that impacts the planetary environment in a variety of ways. These impacts are a recognised environmental hazard, as detailed in the UK National Risk Register. A major impact arises due to the deposition of energy in the atmosphere by Joule heating whereby charged particles, under electromagnetic forcing from the solar […]

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Angry damsels: do species interactions after overfishing enhance or inhibit coral reef recovery?

Angry damsels: do species interactions after overfishing enhance or inhibit coral reef recovery?

Coral reef species are undergoing widespread mortality under increasingly frequent mass coral bleaching events, which will continue until global efforts reduce CO2 emissions. In the meantime, it is critical to enhance reef resilience and recovery processes. Overharvesting of herbivorous fishes threatens these processes and can encourage shifts towards algal-dominated reefs. Overfishing also alters the abundance […]

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