Carbon Sequestration Workstream Lead
I’m principally an ‘ecohydrologist’ interested in how peatlands function. My work involves understanding: how water moves through peat soils, the factors that affect the composition of peatland vegetation (which plants grow where and why?), how much carbon from the atmosphere is ‘locked up’ by peatlands through plant growth and the formation of new peat, and how much carbon is returned to the atmosphere through the decay of old peat.
I have expertise in measuring transfers of water through peat soils, in measuring the exchange of carbon dioxide and methane between peatlands and the atmosphere, and in using computers to simulate these processes mathematically. An example of my work is the ecosystem model called DigiBog. This is a computer simulator of how peatlands form and develop over timescales of decades to millennia. It can be used to investigate how management activities like ditch creation and blocking affect peatlands.
I’ve worked on many projects for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Defra, and conservation bodies like Natural England and Natural Resources Wales. I’ve managed large projects such as a £1.1 M Defra programme on the effect of grip (ditch) blocking on methane release from blanket peatlands to the atmosphere.