Impacts of Sphagnum reintroduction in restored peatlands Ref: 3104

About the award

The shallow peatlands of Exmoor have been modified by human intervention since their inception over 5000 years ago. Agricultural drainage, peat cutting and burning have altered the hydrology causing erosion, vegetation change and loss of ecosystem services. As part of the Exmoor Mires Partnership, restoration aiming to reinstate the typical high water tables of these mires has been undertaken since 1998.


Existing monitoring in Exmoor indicates that restoration methods have not yet achieved the desired return to active blanket mires and the dominance of Molinia caerulea persists after hydrological restoration. In order to address this, the Exmoor Mires Partnership intends to trial the reintroduction of Sphagnum, as a complementary process to aid habitat restoration. The proposed PhD project aims to investigate which is the most effective approach to Sphagnum reintroduction and to determine whether restoration of vegetation diversity will have a long-term impact on the carbon budget.


The PhD will text the following:
Hypothesis 1. Sphagnum re-growth can be accelerated through reintroduction techniques.
Hypothesis 2. Sphagnum reintroduction changes the dominant plant type from vascular plants to mosses and in turn, this increases plant diversity at the site.
Hypothesis 3. Methane emissions and DOC release decrease during the reintroduction process decrease as the dominant plant type changes from vascular plants to Sphagnum and other mosses.
Hypothesis 4: Overall, Sphagnum reintroduction shifts the carbon balance of the site to become closer to that in mires in natural condition.


The project will have a strong practical element working with restoration contractors to trial new techniques and will contribute to the practical knowledge on vegetation restoration processes and techniques. The project outcomes will inform the design and management of restoration projects across the UK and provide evidence supporting the emerging market of paid ecosystem services, whereby landowners may be remunerated for restoring their peat resource.

Dr Angela Gallego-Sala, UoE
Morag Angus, SWW
Prof Richard Brazier, UoE.

 

Summary

Application deadline:30th April 2018
Number of awards:1
Value:£14,777
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Postgraduate Research Officepgr-cles-admissions@exeter.ac.uk

How to apply

The following documents are requested:
• CV
• Letter of application.
• If you are not a national of an English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English
The closing date for applications is midnight on 30 April 2018. Interviews will be held on the UoE Streatham Campus on 11th June 2018.
If you have any general enquiries please email cles-studentships@exeter.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)1392 725150/723706/723310. Project-specific queries should be directed to Dr Angela Gallego-Sala (A.Gallego-Sala@exeter.ac.uk).

Please quote reference 3104 on your application and in any correspondence about this subject

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree in and appropriate subject, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK. 


If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.5 in IELTS (and no less than 6.0 in any section), see http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/english/)

Supervisors

Dr Angela Gallego-Sala, UoE
Morag Angus, SWW
Prof Richard Brazier, UoE.