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Department of Plant Sciences




Supervisor: Dr Adam Pellegrini


Climate change is increasing the exposure of ecosystems to fire and disease. However, there are few experiments testing the effects of these two drivers and there has yet to be a unifying framework to scale field measurements to regional to biome scales. This project will focus on the topic of how ecosystems respond to different fire regimes and exposure to disease. The PhD will involve field sampling of a fire manipulation experiment in a temperate savanna-forest ecosystem in the midwestern USA, combining field data with remote sensing measurements, and generating ecosystem models to simulate the effects of disease and fire on carbon cycling and biodiversity. The student will measure both plant traits and soil properties and processes in a long-term fire manipulation experiment at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. The field data will be combined with airborne hyperspectral measurements to generate predictive models of changes in ecosystem processes.

The skills learned: biogeochemical laboratory methods, remote sensing data processing and analysis, and modelling using process-based and statistical methods.