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Dr Pia Benaud

Dr Pia Benaud

Postdoctoral Research Associate

 Amory C255

 

Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK

Overview

I am interested in how alterations to hydrological connectivity and vegetation communities can mitigate land degradation issues, with a primary focus on understanding how restoring natural habitat function can reduce soil erosion and associated processes. I take an interdisciplinary approach to monitoring structural and functional change, combining fieldwork and laboratory analysis with proximal and remote sensing technologies, and geospatial analysis, delivering both a spatial and temporal understanding of environmental change.

I am currently conducting research in support of the SWW funded ‘Mires Restoration Project’ in a maternity cover role for Dr Naomi Gatis. I will be combining field measurements of vegetation diversity and carbon fluxes with remote and proximally sensing data, to build an understanding of a degraded and actively eroding peatland. Immediately prior to this I spent the summer of 2018 establishing monitoring sites for a Sphagnum reintroduction trial on Exmoor. For more information on this and my previous research, please see my 'Research' tab.

Broad research specialisms:

Soil Erosion; Structure-from-Motion Photogrammetry; Environmental change detection; Understanding the environmental effects of landscape restoration.

Qualifications

PhD Physical Geography (University of Exeter)
BSc (Hons) Environmental Science (Griffith University, Australia)
BSc Environmental Science with year abroad (Griffith University, University of East Anglia)

Research

Research projects

Current research projects

Mires Project (2015-2020)                                           

The peatlands of Exmoor and Dartmoor are heavily degraded as a result of erosion and drainage for agricultural improvement. This research provides an evidence base for the effectiveness of moorland restoration, for the Exmoor and Dartmoor Mires restoration projects. Through monitoring vegetation, carbon fluxes and patterns of erosion I contribute to the scientific understanding of habitat function and restoration responses.

Sphagnum Reintroduction Project

Despite hydrological success, the physical restoration works carried out on Exmoor have resulted in limited vegetation change, to-date. This project is investigating the viability of sphagnum reintroduction as program to the existing restoration work. I supported the design, establishment and monitoring of the study prior to the commencement of a PhD researcher, and provide ongoing informal PhD supervision

Previous research projects

Piloting a cost-effective framework for monitoring soil erosion in England and Wales

Attempts to quantify soil erosion nationally have illustrated that soil erosion can occur in the UK, however, understanding whether or not the UK has a soil erosion problem still remains a question to be answered. This Defra-funded project established a framework to monitor soil erosion at a national scale, and compared the cost-effectiveness of different monitoring approaches. My contributions included the review and construction of interactive geodatabase and web-map of existing UK-based soil erosion work. I also critically explored the application of novel proximal sensing technologies and tracers for the quantification of soil loss.

Impacts of Moorland Restoration on Nutscale Reservoir

Nutscale Reservoir has suffered negative changes in water quality, increasing the cost to both the supplier (Wessex Water) and consumer. This project sought to understand if there was a link between moorland restoration and the water quality issues.

Australian Alternative Covers Assessment Program (AACAP)

Landfill phytocovers are thought to be a sustainable alternative to conventional barrier-based covers, utilising soil water storage, surface evaporation and plant transpiration to reduce water ingress to decommissioned landfill areas. I studied vegetation performance and soil properties within full-scale test phytocovers, describing responses in four different bioclimatic conditions.

Publications

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


Luscombe DJ, Anderson K, Grand-Clement E, Gatis N, Ashe J, Benaud P, Smith D, Brazier RE (2016). How does drainage alter the hydrology of shallow degraded peatlands across multiple spatial scales?. Journal of Hydrology, 541, 1329-1339. Abstract.
Grand-Clement E, Luscombe DJ, Anderson K, Gatis N, Benaud P, Brazier RE (2014). Antecedent conditions control carbon loss and downstream water quality from shallow, damaged peatlands. Science of the Total Environment, 493, 961-973. Abstract.  Full text.

Publications by category


Journal articles

Glendell M, Macshane G, Farrow L, Quinton J, Anderson K, Evans M, Benaud P, Rawlins B, Morgan D, Jones L, et al (In Press). Testing the utility of structure from motion photogrammetry reconstructions using small unmanned aerial vehicles and ground photography to estimate the extent of upland soil erosion. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms Full text.
Gatis N, Benaud P, Ashe J, Luscombe D, Grand-Clement E, Hartley I, Anderson K, Brazier R (2019). ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF PEAT EROSION ON GROWING SEASON CO2 FLUXES BY COMPARING EROSIONAL PEAT PANS AND SURROUNDING VEGETATED HAGGS. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 1-19. Abstract.  Full text.
Fawcett D, Blanco-Sacristán J, Benaud P (2019). Two decades of digital photogrammetry: Revisiting Chandler’s 1999 paper on “Effective application of automated digital photogrammetry for geomorphological research” – a synthesis. Progress in Physical Geography, 43(2), 299-312. Abstract.  Full text.
Luscombe DJ, Anderson K, Grand-Clement E, Gatis N, Ashe J, Benaud P, Smith D, Brazier RE (2016). How does drainage alter the hydrology of shallow degraded peatlands across multiple spatial scales?. Journal of Hydrology, 541, 1329-1339. Abstract.
Grand-Clement E, Luscombe DJ, Anderson K, Gatis N, Benaud P, Brazier RE (2014). Antecedent conditions control carbon loss and downstream water quality from shallow, damaged peatlands. Science of the Total Environment, 493, 961-973. Abstract.  Full text.

Publications by year


In Press

Glendell M, Macshane G, Farrow L, Quinton J, Anderson K, Evans M, Benaud P, Rawlins B, Morgan D, Jones L, et al (In Press). Testing the utility of structure from motion photogrammetry reconstructions using small unmanned aerial vehicles and ground photography to estimate the extent of upland soil erosion. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms Full text.

2019

Gatis N, Benaud P, Ashe J, Luscombe D, Grand-Clement E, Hartley I, Anderson K, Brazier R (2019). ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF PEAT EROSION ON GROWING SEASON CO2 FLUXES BY COMPARING EROSIONAL PEAT PANS AND SURROUNDING VEGETATED HAGGS. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 1-19. Abstract.  Full text.
Gatis NL, Benaud P, Ashe J, Luscombe D, Grand-Clement E, Hartley I, Anderson K, Brazier R (2019). Assessing the impact of peat erosion on growing season CO2 fluxes by comparing erosional peat pans and surrounding vegetated haggs (dataset).  Full text.
Fawcett D, Blanco-Sacristán J, Benaud P (2019). Two decades of digital photogrammetry: Revisiting Chandler’s 1999 paper on “Effective application of automated digital photogrammetry for geomorphological research” – a synthesis. Progress in Physical Geography, 43(2), 299-312. Abstract.  Full text.

2016

Luscombe DJ, Anderson K, Grand-Clement E, Gatis N, Ashe J, Benaud P, Smith D, Brazier RE (2016). How does drainage alter the hydrology of shallow degraded peatlands across multiple spatial scales?. Journal of Hydrology, 541, 1329-1339. Abstract.

2014

Grand-Clement E, Luscombe DJ, Anderson K, Gatis N, Benaud P, Brazier RE (2014). Antecedent conditions control carbon loss and downstream water quality from shallow, damaged peatlands. Science of the Total Environment, 493, 961-973. Abstract.  Full text.

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