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The ABACUS consortium
Principal Investigator and Work Packages 8 (Management) and 7 (Modelling and synthesis)
Dr Mathew Williams is Reader in Global Change Ecology at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh. His expertise is in ecosystem dynamics and land-atmosphere exchanges of energy and matter, with a focus on combining models and observations. Mat leads the consortium and oversees work-packages 7 (modelling and integration) and 8 (management and training).
Mat began working in the Alaskan Arctic in 1995. He continues to work there, and started research in the Swedish Arctic in 2002. He is involved in large scale ecological research in Amazonia, and has ongoing projects on carbon dynamics and biomass burning in Mozambique, Boreal land-atmosphere interactions, and remote sensing of carbon dynamics in the western USA. Mat is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the IGBP project Analysis, Integration and Modelling of the Earth System (AIMES).
Dr Stephan Matthiesen is the project manager of ABACUS based at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh. He is responsible for the overall project coordination, the data management and the dissemination of project results to the wider public.
Stephan is a physicist with research experience in the oceanography of sea straits and the remote sensing of sea ice and clouds. He is also an enthusiastic science communicator and has worked in a range of different projects promoting the public understanding of science.
Dr Paul Stoy is a Physiological and Ecosystem Ecologist and is based in Edinburgh working on ABACUS work-package 7 (modelling and synthesis).
Paul is interested in measuring and modeling ecosystem function, particularly in coupling eddy-covariance carbon and water flux measurements with chamber and sapflux-based measurements. He has a particular interest in factors responsible for long-term changes in ecosystem function.
For his Phd. research he investigated over 21 site-years of eddy covariance measurements three adjacent ecosystems that model post-agricultural ecosystem succession in the southeastern U.S. One of the sites also houses the Free Atmosphere CO2 Enrichment (FACE) site in the Duke Forest. Thus, he has been involved in global change research for some time now and is looking forward to working in an Arctic environment.
Dr Eleanor Blyth is a land surface modeller at the Center for Ecology and Hydrology in Wallingford. In ABACUS she is involved in work-package 7 (Modelling and synthesis).
Eleanor's background is in representing the land surface in meteorological and hydrological models. Originally, the key process of concern was evaporation. Increasingly, the subject has widened to include soil processes, the generation of run-off and also photosynthesis. One activity is to use data from different biomes of the world to test and calibrate the existing JULES (Joint UK Land Environment Simulator); she is also responsible for coordinating the science in JULES. In addition, research interests include assessing methods to represent heterogeneous terrain (snow, vegetation, soil moisture, topography) and changing the representation of key hydrological processes.
Her current research is on the representation of arctic and sub-arctic processes, including snow, soil freezing and the hydrological functioning of organic soils. Uncertainty (due to uncertainty in model structure, data and parameters) is also being currently researched.
Rachael Turton is a PhD student at Edinburgh University working on ABACUS work-package 7 (modelling and synthesis).
For her PhD, Rachael is investigating the impact of the Birch forest of the tundra region on the water and carbon balance of Northern Europe
Dr Gareth Phoenix is a Research Councils UK Academic Fellow in the Dept of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield. Gareth leads the research on plant processes in work-package 1.
Gareth has 10 years research experience on the impacts of environmental change on vegetation, soils and biogeochemical cycling. Much of Gareth's work has focussed on the impacts of environmental change in Arctic heathlands where he has extensive experience of quantifying growth, allometry and phenology of sub-Arctic plants in the field. His work on the impacts UV-B radiation and increased precipitation has elucidated critical interactions between these environmental change parameters, caused significant re-evaluation of theories regarding Arctic plant sensitivity to UV-B radiation. In January 2005, Dr Phoenix was awarded a Research Councils UK Academic Fellowship and he is currently a member of council for the British Ecological Society. He has received research grant awards from the Natural Environment Research Council, the British Ecological Society and the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences.
Dr Ben Fletcher is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Sheffield, working on the ABACUS work-package 1 (Plant growth and allocation).
Ben's research interests include plant physiology and ecology and climate change. In his PhD work at the University of Sheffield, Ben examined the ecological factors controlling stable carbon isotope fractionation in bryophytes, enabling the reconstruction of palaeo-atmospheric CO2 concentrations from fossil liverworts.
Victoria Pope is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield, working on the ABACUS work-package 1 (Plant growth and allocation).
Victoria's previous research work involved assessing the effectiveness of different methods for restoration of blanket bog habitats in the north of England. In her PhD, she will attempt to characterise patterns of root growth, produtivity and turnover across environmental gradients in Arctic landscapes. She will investigate the extent to which below and above ground plant processes are linked, and therefore whether above ground (e.g. satellite) observations can be used to predict below-ground carbon.
Professor Phil Ineson holds the Chair in Global Change Ecology at the University of York. Phil is involved in the process studies of plants (work-package 1) through provision of a mobile mass spectrometer, and in the flux measurements of work-package 3, through provision of multiple chamber continuous soil respiration systems.
Phil is an expert on soil biogeochemistry with a strong research background relating to the relationships between climate and soil carbon stores, the role of soils in producing 'greenhouse gases' and the potential impacts of future atmospheric CO2 levels on soil processes. The work has also provided interesting insights into how soil fauna will respond to future climates and the nature of the soil bacteria that 'drive' major methane and trace gas fluxes. Stable isotopes are an important tool in Prof Ineson's studies and are currently being used by his group to study biogeochemical cycles and trophic interactions in soils. He has authored/co-authored more than 120 scientific papers and edited 3 books. Over the years, he has been a member of numerous scientific Committees, including evaluations for European Union, NERC RGTAC Terrestrial Life Sciences, Finnish Academy of Sciences, Royal Society, etc. His current research grant income from NERC has a total value of £622k (2004 - 2007).
Dr Philip Wookey is a Reader in Ecosystem Ecology in the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling. Phil leads the work on soil biogeochemistry in the consortium (work-package 2).
Phil has extensive experience in soil and ecosystem ecology at high and mid-latitudes, both in tundra ecosystems and forests. He has worked since 1991 on the potential effects of environmental change on the structure and function (specifically nutrient cycling, SOM dynamics and trace gas exchanges) of terrestrial ecosystems in the Fennoscandian mountains, Svalbard, northern Iceland and the North Slope of Alaska. He chaired the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) from 1996-2003, and now leads the Circum-Arctic Terrestrial Biodiversity Initiative (CAT-B) of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). He is currently on the implementation panel of ISAC (International Study of Arctic Change) and was the recipient of the 2004 Bergstedtska Prize (Royal Society of Sciences, Sweden) for Outstanding Research Achievement in the Earth Sciences. He returned to the UK in June 2004, having worked at Uppsala University since 1997. He is a member of the NERC Radiocarbon Lab Steering Committee.
Dr Iain Hartley is a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Stirling, working on the ABACUS work-package 2 (Soil processes).
In his PhD work at the University of York Iain investigated the response of soil respiration to temperature under the supervision of Prof. Phil Ineson. His main research interests involve investigating how carbon storage in soils will be altered by global change and in partitioning soil respiratory processes into autotrophic and heterotrophic components. He has a strong interest in natural landscapes, conservation and ornithology.
Mark completed his PhD in 1998 concerned with evaluating terrestrial carbon stores in an upland area of the UK and investigating the response of the carbon store to changes in climate and land use. Since then he has been employed at the NERC Radiocarbon Laboratory where he has been applying radiocarbon techniques to investigate terrestrial carbon cycling. Of particular relevance to this project, Mark has been involved in developing a molecular sieve system for sampling soil gases for isotope analysis. The technique has been applied to a number of studies in the UK and mainland Europe, where the role of soil respiration in carbon cycling has been investigated. Dr Garnett has been involved in several projects where soil carbon turnover rates have been determined using the bomb-radiocarbon spike and has demonstrated the use of bomb radiocarbon analysis of plant macrofossils as a means to provide high resolution chronologies for the surface layers of peatlands.
Dr Martin Sommerkorn is a Research Scientist at the Macaulay Institute in Aberdeen. Martin is closely involved in the soils component of ABACUS, work-package 2.
Martin has expertise in applying stable isotope and 14C approaches to investigate the role of plant C inputs for SOM dynamics, and CO2 and CH4 fluxes. He now has 10 years research experience in Arctic and subarctic ecosystems (central Siberia, Svalbard, northeast Greenland, northern Sweden and the North Slope of Alaska).
Audrey Wayolle is a PhD student at the University of Stirling working on ABACUS work-package 7 (modelling and synthesis).
Audrey has obtained a master's degree in earth sciences. In her PhD, she will attempt to use DEMs to determine pool sizes and depth distributions of soils carbon in Arctic landscapes. She will investigate the extent to which models can predict accurately the size of carbon pools in complex landscapes, and therefore whether above ground (e.g. topographical) information can be used to predict below-ground carbon.
Dr Bob Baxter is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Ecosystem Science in School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham. Bob leads work-package 3, coordinating multiple chamber measurements of gas exchange from tundra.
Bob has over 20 years experience working in Arctic, montane and alpine regions. His expertise is in ecosystem dynamics and plant ecophysiology, notably plant-soil-atmosphere relations and process patterning in heterogeneous landscapes.
Dr Jemma Gornall is a post-doctoral researcher at Durham University working on the ABACUS work-package 3 (soil/plant flux measurements)
Jemma's research aims to understand how plant/soil feedback mechanisms determine important ecosystem processes specifically carbon and nutrient cycling. During her doctoral research (University of Aberdeen and UNIS) she investigated the functional role of mosses in arctic tundra ecosystems on Spitsbergen. The main aim was to determine how the moss layer influences key soil characteristics and processes which in turn feedback to vascular plant productivity. Her subsequent postdoctoral position (University of Aberdeen, Macaulay Institute and UNIS) used in-situ carbon isotope labeling to investigate how herbivory affects the ability of tundra systems to sequester carbon.
Dr. Maurizio Mencuccini is a Reader at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh. In ABACUS he is involved in work on soil/plant flux measurements (work-package 3).
Maurizio's research interests are centred on the dynamics of forest ecosystems, particularly in the context of net ecosystem productivity and water fluxes, and their controlling factors. In the past ten years, he has concentrated on the ecosystem physiology of forests and the long-distance transport of water and carbon. More recently his focus has broadened to include studies of soil carbon stocks and fluxes, the response of Mediterranean forests to changes in rainfall patterns and the physiology of mangroves. He has previously worked on the population dynamics in forest trees, the physiological ecology of indigenous desert shrubs of the North-American deserts, and the leaf-level physiology of common beans.
Dr. Andreas Heinemeyer is a soil scientist at the Univeristy of York and advises on how best to deploy the soil & NEE chambers in the ABACUS project work-package 3 (soil/plant flux measurements).
Andreas has been working on climate effects on soil carbon cycling during the past 8 years. He is a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics (CTCD) and is responsible for improving the process representation of soil carbon cycling in terrestrial carbon models. Andreas' particular research focus within CTCD is measuring soil respiration, its component fluxes and their environmental responses. He deploys automated soil respiration chambers and uses novel mycorrhizal mesh collars as well as stable isotopes (13C) as carbon tracer. A recent development is to use perspex versions of soil respiration chambers as net ecosystem exchange chambers.
Dr Richard Harding leads the Process Hydrology Section of CEH Wallingford. In ABACUS, Richard leads the flux tower measurements, work-package 4.
Richard has made soil moisture, meteorological and evaporation measurements in India, Africa, N America and over Europe. He has been involved in snow research in the Cairngorms, Alps, Scandinavia and Canada for over 20 years. In recent years he has concentrated on studies measuring and modelling fluxes of water and CO2 from arctic land surfaces. Dr Harding is currently a PI on a number of EU and NERC funded projects making measurements and modelling studies in the Arctic and Europe and is deputy Director of CLASSIC. Current research interests include: Arctic hydrology, including mass and energy balances of snow and ice surface, large-scale hydrological modelling, Global Climate modelling and land surface/atmosphere interactions. He is currently PI on the NERC funded STEPPS project, a modelling and measurement based project working in the Abisko region, N Sweden.
Jonathan Evans is a micrometeorologist at CEH Wallingford. In ABACUS he works on the tower flux measurements (work-package 4).
Jon has 12 years of experience in instrument development, installation and application of water quality and micro-meteorological systems. Major work has included the development of the Mk4 Hydra, a low-power, integrated open-path carbondioxide and water vapour eddy-correlation system. He was also involved in the field support and training for the Carbonsink project, measuring the carbon cycle in the Brazilian rainforest, measuring CO2, latent and sensible heat fluxes using the eddy correlation technique and complimentary micrometeorological and hydrological measurements.
Jon is currently specialising in Micrometeorology, particularly the field measurement of the surface energy balance (including evaporation), using the technique of infra-red Large-Aperture Scintillometry (LAS) over complex terrain in the Berkshire Downs as part of the Lowland Catchment Research (LOCAR) towards a PhD at Reading University.
Dr Colin Lloyd is a senior micrometeorologist at CEH Wallingford. In ABACUS, Colin is working on the tower flux measurements (work-package 4).
Colin has 36 years experience in many aspects of micrometeorological research including rainfall interception in temperate and tropical forests, the development of eddy correlation equipment, footprint analysis and the surface fluxes of energy and carbon dioxide from many surfaces. He has worked in most of the major biomes of the world including Amazonian rainforest, Sahelian semi-arid zones, the high and low Arctic and Siberian wetlands as well as projects in the USA, Spain, France, the Netherlands and the UK. He was consortium leader of the international EU Project LAPP (Land Arctic Physical Processes) which combined energy, carbon dioxide and methane flux measurements from Svalbard, Greenland and Finland. He has also participated in the following major international programmes: CarboEurope, ARME, HAPEX-Mobilhy, EFEDA, FIFE, HAPEX-Sahel, CONGAS and is currently Task Team leader for the surface flux measurement programme in AMMA in west Africa. He is also involved in CLASSIC and STEPPS. Current interests include Arctic, Sahelian and wetland surface exchange processes.
Prof John Moncrieff holds the Chair in Micrometeorology at the University of Edinburgh. John leads the aircraft component of ABACUS, work-package 5.
John's interests are in the land-atmosphere exchange of radiatively-active trace gases. He has developed systems to measure directly the fluxes of CO2, H2O, CH4 and heat and momentum by the eddy covariance and relaxed eddy accumulation methods. He has been and continues to be involved in major international land-surface experiments such as FIFE, HAPEX-Sahel, ABRACOS, BOREAS, EuroFlux, CarboEurope and NitroEurope. He has won 30 research grants since 1986 to a value in excess of £3.8M and published 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has the UK's only Tall Tower for high precision measurements of trace gas concentration, representative of the regional/country scale and has recently purchased a small environmental research aircraft (SERA) for further studies of the fundamental properties of the lower atmosphere and the land surface. He will be the new Director of the Centre for Airborne GeoSciences (CAGES) in the UK to coordinate activities surrounding SERAs with collaboration between various university groups (York, Durham, Sheffield, UCL, Glasgow and St Andrews) and NERC CEH (Edinburgh and Wallingford).
Dr Timothy C Hill is a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, working on the ABACUS work-package 5 (Aircraft measurements).
Tim has worked on the interactions between biosphere and atmosphere in the boundary layer. His previous research is linked to the Boreal Ecosystems Atmosphere Study (BOREAS),
Thomas Wade works as a research assistant at the University of Edinburgh and manages and pilots the aircraft for ABACUS work-package 5 (Aircraft measurements).
Dr Mathias Disney is a lecturer in remote sensing in the Department of Geography, UCL and an associated researcher/co-I with the NERC CTCD. Mat leads the remote sensing component of the consortium, work-package 6.
Mat's expertise is in modelling and measurement of shortwave radiation interactions with terrestrial vegetation, particularly in relation to the terrestrial carbon cycle, as well as validation of EO-derived biophysical parameters such as albedo (Disney et al., 2004). A focus of MD's work has been using 3D models of vegetation scattering to better understand the relationship between vegetation structure and radiation interception, particularly for tree canopies (Disney et al., submitted). MD is currently working closely with researchers from Edinburgh on relating measurements of needle-level reflectance properties to canopy scattering, and development of new methods and models to relate EO-derived measures of photosynthesis to terrestrial carbon fluxes.
Dr Ana Prieto-Blanco is a post-doctoral researcher at University College London working on the ABACUS work-package 6 (satellite remote sensing and geostatistics)
In her PhD research, Ana has analysed the capability of satellite sensors to retrieve biophysical parameters and the sensitivity of land surface parameterisation models to these estimations. Her research interests include remote sensing of vegetation biophysical properties, modelling of radiation interaction with the land surface and the use of Earth Observation data to understand land surface/climate interactions.
Work package 9 (mosses)
Lorna Street is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh and the Macauley Institute working on the ecology of mosses. She has an honours degree in Biological Sciences (Ecology) from the University of Edinburgh.
Before beginning her PhD in December 2006 Lorna worked for several years at the Ecosystems Center in Woods Hole, USA. During this time she conducted a survey of arctic vegetation and canopy CO2 flux - at sites including Alaska, Svalbard and Greenland. In her PhD she investigates the role that bryophytes play in arctic carbon dynamics, and how their abundance and function can be quantified.
Other PhD students
We aim to extend our work to the pan-Arctic through our numerous international project partners, who have ongoing, funded research programmes in the Arctic: