13 March, 2017

Predicting formation and stability of carbon-rich soil layers

Supervisor: Ed Rowe
Registered: Lancaster University
Based: Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Carbon is stored in soils in vast amounts, and to avoid further pressure on the global climatic system it is essential that soil carbon stocks are stabilised or increased. Organomineral soils with large surface concentrations of carbon are widespread in cool oceanic climates, and their carbon is vulnerable since they are often drained for farming or forestry. The study aims to understand fundamental controls on the formation and stability of surface organic-matter layers, through complementary modelling approaches: process dynamics and spatial statistics. Training will be provided in these highly transferrable skills. A simple soil aeration model will be developed, supported by redox and rusting-rate measurements across different soil types, and combined with the N14CP dynamic model to predict organic layer development during the Holocene, based on maps of parent material and climate. Spatial predictions will be validated against existing maps of organomineral soil distributions in the UK and Europe.

Eligibility: Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Environmental Science, Information Technology or Statistics. Only open to UK/EU residents.

For further details please contact Dr Ed Rowe:

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