University of Oxford Featured PhD Programmes
University of Oxford Featured PhD Programmes
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The Impact of Management on Grassland and Cropland Soil Organic Carbon

Department of Biological Sciences

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Dr Ken Byrne Applications accepted all year round

About the Project


Carbon (C) sequestration associated with pastures and improved grassland management could provide a mitigation option without impacting on agricultural production. In addition, improved soil carbon should lead to better nutrient cycling and soil nutrient availability. More accurate quantification of C sequestration in grasslands is essential to allow reporting to IPCC Tier 2 and 3 levels and to provide information that allows for both effective reduction and mitigation of C emissions at both the field and national level. Management practices that can increase SOC stocks to mitigate climate change will provide the basis for inclusion of grassland soils into both carbon trading schemes and LCA’s, which will assist the sector both in terms of carbon credits and a reduced carbon footprint of agricultural produce.
This PhD will assess the impact of a) the occasional transitioning of grassland into arable production on soil organic carbon, b) the impact of rotations and cover cropping on SOC compared to continuous spring barley production, c) to assess the impact of deep ploughing and full topsoil inversion on SOC levels in grasslands.


Applications are invited from graduates holding a first or 2.1 class honours degree or M.Sc. in Soil Science, Agricultural Science, Environmental Science or related discipline. The successful candidate should be practically minded, highly self-motivated, prepared for field and laboratory work and who enjoys data analysis and writing. Prior experience of field and laboratory methods for determination of soil carbon stocks are desirable. A full driving licence and fluency in English are essential.


The PhD Fellowship is part of a joint research project between University of Limerick, Teagasc, and Trinity College Dublin. The student will be based between University of Limerick and Teagasc for periods of the studentship. The student will be registered at the University of Limerick and be supervised by Dr Ken Byrne (University of Limerick), Prof. Gary Lanigan (Teagasc), Dr. Dominika Kroll (Teagasc) and Dr. Matt Saunders (Trinity College Dublin). The Fellowship provides an annual stipend of €24,000. University fees are paid by the student from this stipend, which is tenable for 4 years.

Further Information

Dr. Ken Byrne, University of Limerick. Phone: +353 (0)61 202878; email: [Email Address Removed]
Prof. Gary Lanigan, Teagasc. Phone: +353 (0)53 9171216; email: [Email Address Removed]
Dr. Dominika Kroill, Teagasc. Phone: 353 (0)53 917 1301; email: [Email Address Removed]
Dr. Matt Saunders, Trinity College Dublin. Phone: +353 (0)1 8964870 email: [Email Address Removed]

Application Procedure

Applicants should submit a CV (including the names and contact details of two referees) and covering letter detailing their qualifications, experience and motivation to Dr Ken Byrne at the above email address.
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