PhD - Mountain soil resilience to land-use and climate extremes

Can our upland landscapes provide clean drinking water, store carbon, maintain biodiversity, act as a platform for leisure activities and provide a rural economy around grazing all whilst coping with the increasing pressures of climate change? Our mountainous regions are clearly under many, sometimes conflicting, demands, and this has led to a substantial degradation in the ecosystem functions that underpin the services society needs. At the centre of this is a healthy and functioning soil, and this project aims to explore this in an ecosystem context under a range of management scenarios. You will join a consortium of researchers, land managers and conservation workers to make the first exploration of a soil functions across the UNESCO world heritage designated Lake District. You will then use study catchments in Wild Ennerdale and Haweswater sustainable catchment project to explore, using cutting edge isotopic and molecular tools, how management intensity can degrade or build soil functions.

You will learn new techniques, gain valuable experience in field ecology, work closely with CASE partner Natural England (including a placement), develop strong links working with United Utilities and RSPB, and also with our international partners, spending some time in the mountains of Norway. Training will solidify expertise in numerical ecology, isotope and molecular ecology, survey and monitoring. You will work regularly in mountain ecosystems, have an interest in management and conservation, and a desire to learn new and cutting-edge techniques. You will be at the forefront of understanding how different management regimes interact with climatic extremes, such as flooding, to affect the functioning of our soils, and you will leave with a comprehensive CV, and a wealth of experience working with researchers and industry partners, giving you a springboard into either research or industry.

You will hold a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2:1level or equiv in subject areas such as, but not limited to, geography, environmental science, conservation, ecology, biology, agricultural sciences, hydrology or natural sciences.

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GSBILancaster University