September 30, 2020

Mary Hodgson

Mary Hodgson

PhD: Savanna Soil Carbon: Investigating Biological Climate Resilience 

Location: Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University

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I completed a Masters in Biology at the University of Leeds, during which I was involved in a research project in Kenya, investigating the impact of nutrient poor soil on resource allocation to defence in Acacia drepanolobium. This is where I became interested in the importance of soil in savanna ecosystems, ultimately leading to my pursuing of a PhD in savanna soil carbon.

Savannas occupy 20% of the Earth’s land surface and are critical for the livelihoods and wellbeing of over 1 billion people. As important reservoirs of global biodiversity and carbon, they are under increasing pressure from human activity and over-exploitation. My PhD focusses on improving understanding of the individual and interactive effects of grazing, fire and climate change on savanna soil biology and resilience to future disturbance. Research will be focused on savanna ecosystems in South Africa, working with partners from Witwatersrand and Pretoria Universities in RSA.