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 Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones

PhD Researcher


 Laver Building 


Laver Building, University of Exeter, North Park Road, Exeter, EX4 4QE, UK


Matt graduated from the University of Exeter in 2013 with first class honours in Physical Geography and subsequently completed a PhD research programme within the cross-disciplinary Earth System Science group. 

Matt's work focusses on the legacy effects of fire on the carbon cycle. Historical landscape fires influence the modern carbon budget, and present-day fires will continue to influence this budget in the coming decades, centuries and millennia. The legacy effects of fire include vegetation recovery and the long-term storage of thermally-altered carbon in combustion by-products that are stored in soils, sediments and oceans and typically referred to as "pyrogenic carbon" or "black carbon".

In his PhD thesis, which was defended in January 2019, Matt presented a collection of studies that improved understanding of the factors influencing black carbon transfer from land to ocean. Highlights from his work included:

  • The identification of a significant aerosol (soot) contribution to riverine fluxes of black carbon. Aerosol deriving from fossil fuel combustion and open biomass fires was previously considered to make only trivial contributions to oceanic pools of black carbon.
  • The application of statistical models to reconstruct observations of black carbon concentration in tropical rivers and to predict export fluxes at wider scales. These models advanced conceptual understanding of the environmental factors, such as hydrology, topography, soil texture and mineralogy and land use, that influence the terrestrial dynamics of black carbon and thus its residence time in the Earth system.

Following his PhD, Matt continued his research at Swansea University where he adapted a carbon cycle model to quantify the global-scale production and dynamics of pyrogenic carbon in the Earth system.


Research projects

  • Dynamics of black carbon in river catchments in the rainforest and savannah regions of Brazil
  • Inverse modelling of dissolved black carbon sources in the Paraíba do Sul River, Brazil
  • The global pyrogenic carbon cycle: a systematic review by modelling and meta-analysis
  • Constraining estimates for global pyrogenic carbon production

Supervisors: Prof. Timothy Quine, Dr. Luiz Aragao, Prof. Stephen Sitch

Funding Body: NERC GW4+ DTP

Research Groups

Perturbed Landscape Systems
Earth System Science
GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership Environmental Researchers


Jones, M. W., Quine, T. A., de Aragão, L. E. O. C., de Rezende, C. E., Dittmar, T., Johnson, B., Manecki, M. and da Silva, J. M. (2016) In review: Regional aerosol emissions contribute to the riverine export of dissolved black carbon.

Jones, M. W., Quine, T. A., Rezende, C. E., Dittmar, T., & Aragão, L. E. O. C. (2013) Contribution of biomass fires to black carbon supply in a tropical river basin assessed using a Lagrangian atmospheric transport model and MODIS burned area product, XVI Brazilian Symposium for Remote Sensing (SBSR), Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná, Brazil, 13th – 18th April 2013, Brazilian Institute for Space Research.


Supervision / Group

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