Dr Sophie Green
Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Research

Research interests

  • Soil and peatland biogeochemistry;
  • Methane and carbon dioxide dynamics in peat soils;
  • Roadside nitrogen dynamics on acid grasslands;
  • Carbon uptake by and emission from soils (e.g., soil-plant interface); and how management can affect the carbon budget and the surrounding water bodies (e.g., DOC / POC export);
  • Root exudates: influence on methane production;
  • Impacts of tropical peatland fires: resilience and recovery;
  • Karst environments and soil erosion.

Research projects

NE/N007603/1 SPECTRA: Soil Processes and Ecological Services in the Karst Critical Zone of Southwest China. PI: Prof. Tim Quine (University of Exeter); Co-Is: Tim Barrows (University of Exeter), Ian Hartley (University of Exeter), Jeroen Meersmans (University of Exeter), Jennifer Dungait (Rohamsted) and Heather Buss (University of Bristol).

Covering extensive parts of southwest China, Karst is a key landscape that is exceptional because rapid and intensive land use change has caused severe system degradation within only the last 50 years. The rapid increase in environmental degradation due to rocky desertification in the Karst is comparable to that caused by the better known extreme rates of erosion of the sandy loess soils in N China. Therefore, establishment of a CZ in the karst landscape of SW China along a dynamic perturbation gradient in varying states of transition between states of rocky desertification to natural forest would fill a significant gap in the current database and research effort. Furthermore, there is a socioeconomic imperative to establish a CZ in the karst landscapes of SW China. The population of 36 million are amongst the poorest in China, with regional GDP less than 50% of the national average, and sustainable solutions to land management, potentially including abandonment and economic compensation, will be integral to lifting the population out of poverty.

We are investigating the integrated geophysical-geochemical-ecological and social responses of the CZ to past perturbations, the CZ spans a gradient from undisturbed natural vegetation through human perturbed landscapes at 3 levels of use – sloping farmland, recovery phase 1 (recently abandoned, within 5 years) and recovery phase 2 (secondary forest, abandoned > 5 years). We are integrating measurements of: (1) plant, soil, mycorrhizal fungi and free-living soil microbes; (2) rates of rock weathering, elemental release and soil formation processes; (3) rates of erosion and soil redistribution; and, (4) pools and fluxes of soil organic C (SOC), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). Through explicit consideration of plant-microbe-soil and plant-microbe-rock interactions, we will identify the biological controls on nutrient availability, soil formation and loss in the CZ.

Grants/Funding:

I have not acquired independent research funding but have worked on the following projects:

(1) NE/N007603/1 SPECTRA: Soil Processes and Ecological Services in the Karst Critical Zone of Southwest China. PI: Prof. Tim Quine (University of Exeter); Co-Is: Tim Barrows (University of Exeter), Ian Hartley (University of Exeter), Jeroen Meersmans (University of Exeter), Jennifer Dungait (Rohamsted) and Heather Buss (University of Bristol). Award value: £855,752.

(2) Defra SP1202: Investigation of peatland restoration (grip blocking) techniques to achieve best outcomes for methane and greenhouse gas emissions / balance (1st May 2010 – 31st January 2015). PI: Prof. Andy J. Baird (University of Leeds); Co-Is: Prof. Joseph Holden (University of Leeds), Dr Pippa Chapman (University of Leeds), Prof. Chris Evans (CEH Bangor), Prof. Nick Ostle (CEH Lancaster, now Lancaster University), Dr Vincent Gauci (The Open University); Named-PDRF: Dr Sophie Green (University of Leeds). Award value: £1,065,519.

(3) NERC NE/F003390/1: Efflux of methane (CH4) to the atmosphere from northern peatlands via ebullition: the role of plants and peat structure (15th April 2008 – 30th June 2010). PI: Prof. Andy J. Baird (QMUL/University of Leeds); Co-I: Prof. Andy Binley (University of Lancaster); PDRAs: Dr Nick Kettridge (University of Lancaster) and Dr Sophie Green (QMUL/ University of Leeds).  Award value: £459,473.

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