PhD: An experimental and macroecological investigation of precipitation effects on Arctic plant root traits
University of Nottingham
I completed an integrated master’s in biology at the University of Sheffield, with a year studying in Canada at McMaster University. Through my degree, I focussed on ecology and environmental change, undertaking projects and field courses relating to conservation, Arctic ecology, plant physiology and evolution and environmental change. For my master project, I worked on a CO2 enrichment experiment, PLACE, calculating the carbon budget in two grasslands under different nutrient treatments and elevated CO2.
My PhD will be investigating how increased rain and snow affects root traits and other belowground processes, in collaboration with the University of Zurich. Climate change is predicted to result in greater precipitation across the Arctic region. Increased precipitation generally results in vegetation shifts and greater plant growth above ground, but this may be accompanied by little change or a decline in root biomass and may also impact other below-ground functions such as decay rates, nutrient cycling, microbial biodiversity and mycorrhizal interactions. Understanding how these processes are impacted by precipitation changes could inform predictions of ecosystem functions and climate feedbacks under future climate change.