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(BBSRC DTP) Quantifying greenhouse gas emissions in agri-ecosystems across multiple scales

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Manchester United Kingdom Agricultural Sciences Ecology Environmental Chemistry Evolution Plant Biology

About the Project

Project Summary: This exciting project will provide training for careers in sustainable agriculture. The project will develop new understanding of how grazed grassland management practices influence and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The focus will be on upland grasslands and make use of long-term experiments in the Yorkshire Dales National Park that have been running for between 5 and 25 years, and include manipulations of plant functional type and management practices. These experiments will be ideally suited to make fine scale measurements of greenhouse gas fluxes at high temporal resolution using our novel mobile laboratory (‘GasLab’). Additionally, the use of stable isotope tracers will enable detailed investigation of the mechanisms contributing to these fluxes, including the soil biological pathways of denitrification, which is a major pathway for the production of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). For example, addition of 15NO3 to soil will enable precise quantification of the dynamics and pathways of N2O production in grasslands subjected to different management and environmental treatments, and use of 13CO2 will test how recent assimilate may regulate N2O production. The student will gain training in a range of disciplines related to plant and soil science and agro-ecology, and will gain a thorough understanding of the factors that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in grasslands. The work will be of direct policy relevance (and will require close collaboration with Natural England) and will lead to several important publications and outputs.

Entry Requirements:
Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

UK applicants interested in this project should make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. International applicants (including EU nationals) must ensure they meet the academic eligibility criteria (including English Language) as outlined before contacting potential supervisors to express an interest in their project. Eligibility can be checked via the University Country Specific information page (
If your country is not listed you must contact the Doctoral Academy Admissions Team providing a detailed CV (to include academic qualifications – stating degree classification(s) and dates awarded) and relevant transcripts.

Following the review of your qualifications and with support from potential supervisor(s), you will be informed whether you can submit a formal online application.

To be considered for this project you MUST submit a formal online application form - full details on how to apply can be found on the BBSRC DTP website

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website

Funding Notes

Funding will cover UK tuition fees/stipend only. The University of Manchester aims to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK. We are able to offer a limited number of scholarships that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

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