About the Project
Tropical wetlands are major players in the global carbon cycle. For example, they are important carbon sinks and they release large quantities of methane (CH4). Evidence is building that greenhouse gas (GHG) production of important GHGs such as carbon dioxide (CO2), CH4 and nitrous oxide (N2O), in tropical ecosystems is temperature sensitive in line with findings from higher latitude ecosystems. This is important for atmospheric GHG concentrations as tropical wetlands produce approximately two thirds of the CH4 released from natural wetlands. Indeed, it is highly plausible that increasing CH4 production in tropical wetlands is an important driver of the current unaccounted for rise in atmospheric CH4 levels. In addition to increasing temperature, elevated atmospheric CO2 levels will alter the plant soil interactions via impacts on photosynthesis of the rainforest trees that grow in tropical wetlands. However, currently there is no experimental work that has tested the impact of the combined drivers of elevated temperature and CO2 on GHG emissions from natural tropical wetlands.
This studentship will address the following research questions:
1. How do higher temperatures and elevated CO2 impact GHG emissions from wetland soils?
2. How does this response differ among soils with different tree species growing in them?
3. How are the responses modulated by water table depth?
The project requires travel to tropical forests in Panama to carry out extensive
field work and to collect plant and soil material for analysis in the UK. The
student will hence have the chance to carry out exciting field expeditions in
pristine tropical forest as part of the project and work at renowned field
research centers in Bocas del Toro, Panama
(https://stri.si.edu/visit/bocas-del-toro). The laboratory work will be carried
out at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama City
(https://stri.si.edu/), the University of Nottingham and the British Geological
Survey providing access to state-of-the-art research equipment and international
The project will provide training in field botany, plant physiology, biogeochemistry, greenhouse gas measurements, organic geochemistry, stable isotope techniques and plant genetic analysis.
Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honors Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Biology, Environmental Science, Geography, Biology or Natural Sciences.
For further details please e-mail Sofie Sjogersten
To apply for this project follow this link