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Climate-Smart Grass: People

Bangor University
(School of Environment, Natural Resources & Geography)

Prof. David Jones is Professor of Soil & Environmental Science at Bangor University. He is the Lead Investigator and Project Co-ordinator for the Climate-Smart Grass NRN. His research focuses on nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems with emphasis on soil-plant-microbial interactions and understanding the links between land and water in relation to nutrients and human pathogens. On-going projects including the NERC-URGENCY project investigating ecosystem responses to extreme flooding, the NERC Macronutrient Cycles Programme, the NERC EHH-VIRAQUA programme on environmental viromics, standard NERC grants investigating N cycling in polar soils and a Welsh Government funded project investigating soil biodiversity.

Tel: +44 1248 382579

Dr. Huadong Zang is a Sêr Cymru Fellow at Bangor University responsible for conducting the tipping point experiments and the field plot trials. His PhD research at the University of Göttingen, Germany, focused on N and C cycles in the plant-soil system. Specifically, how N fertilization, temperature, and crop management influence C sequestration, organic matter stabilization, turnover, and priming effects in agroecosystem. From the experience of several years' research, he has gained a solid background in agronomy and soil science, and extensive experience in 13C natural abundance techniques and multiple stable/radioactive isotope (13C, 14C, 15N, 18O) labeling approaches.

Dr Jinyang Wang is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions COFUND Fellow at Bangor University. His Fellowship looks at the interactive effects of elevated concentrations of tropospheric ozone, extreme temperatures and fertilizer regimes on the resilience of grassland ecosystems. In the past, Jinyang has done research on carbon and nitrogen cycling in agricultural systems with collaborators in China and Germany, and on the controlling factors and estimation of soil de-nitrification from terrestrial ecosystems. Much of his work has looked at ways to promote carbon sequestration in soil and minimize losses to the wider environment, as well as to nitrogen use efficiency within cropping systems. His work has influenced the development of new strategies for agricultural management in China.

Prof. David Chadwick is Professor of Sustainable Land Use Systems at Bangor University. His main role in the Climate-Smart Grass NRN is the running of the field experiment in WP5. Linked to this NRN, he also leads the Defra funded project (LM0316) on long-term effects of flooding on soil quality, which includes exploration of strategies to reduce impacts and aid recovery. Other research is focused on the improved utilisation of animal wastes and other organic resources on agricultural land, whilst reducing their impact on air and water quality. He also leads the large Defra/DA funded consortium project to Improve the UK Agricultural Nitrous Oxide Inventory (InveN2Ory).

Dr Paul Hill is a Research Lecturer in Environmental Biology at Bangor University. His main role in the Climate-Smart Grass NRN is providing input into the tipping point experiments within WP1 and WP3. Relevant to this NRN, his past and current research has focused on understanding carbon and nitrogen fluxes in grassland ecosystems. This has had a particular emphasis on carbon sequestration by soils and the influence and mitigation of climate change. He has particular expertise in stable and radio-isotopic tracing techniques in plant-soil systems. He is also a Co-I on the NERC and Defra-funded extreme flooding projects.

Dr Antonio R. Sánchez-Rodríguez started working in the Extreme Flooding Research Group-Bangor University in 2014 with a postdoc fellowship from Fundación Ramón Areces (Spain). He is conducting lab experiments to study the effect of extreme floods on soil and water quality, and greenhouse gas emissions. Antonio did a PhD in iron chlorosis of plants grown on calcareous soils and the effect of phosphorus fertilization on iron nutrition in the University of Córdoba (Spain) in 2013. Since then, he has been working in new uses of entomopathogenic fungi, such as plant growth promoters and to increase nutrient bioavailability.

Robert Turner is a PhD student at Bangor University. He graduated from Bangor in 2016 with a First Class Honours degree in Conservation and Forest Ecosystems. While this covered many aspects of environmental science, he was particularly drawn to soil science and focused his dissertation on the effects of plantation forestry on soil quality at Newborough Warren NNR. He then began an internship with Davey Jones over the summer, which introduced him to the Climate-Smart Grass project , before joining the project as a PhD student in July 2016. His research focuses on the implications of multiple extreme-weather stresses (drought, flooding and high ozone levels) on ecosystem functioning and resilience, and the determination of ‘tipping points’ at which irreversible damage is done. His research takes place at the CEH solar dome facility at Henfaes Research Centre in North Wales.

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Bangor

Dr. Felicity Hayes is a plant ecophysiologist studying the impacts of ozone pollution on a range of vegetation types including productive and semi-natural grasslands, and contributes to establishing critical levels of ozone within the LRTAP Convention. Recent research has had particular emphasis on interactions with environmental stressors such as drought and excess nitrogen and includes both quantification of combined impacts and further understanding of the mechanisms involved. Her role in the NRN is to develop the tipping point experiments in WPs 1 and 2 with the PDRF and PhD student. Current projects are investigating climate change and air pollution interactions.

Dr. David Robinson is a soil scientist with interests in soil and water management, soil natural capital evaluation and hydro-geophysics. He specializes in soil physics and the determination of mass/volume relationships in soils and will contribute specialist knowledge in this area to the NRN. The quality of his contributions to soil physics have been recognized by several international awards from the Soil Science Society of America. Much of his research has focused on soil moisture, soil water repellency and behaviour of granular media. He is part of the biogeochemistry / hydrology research group at CEH Bangor.

Aberystwyth University
Institute for Biological and Environmental Rural Sciences (IBERS)

Dr. Alison-Kingston Smith is the Animal and Microbial Science Deputy Theme Leader, Herbivore Gut Ecosystems Research Group Leader and PI on the £4 million BBSRC Institute Strategic Programme Grant Rumen Systems Biology. She has over 20 years research experience and an extensive background in plant stress biology (effects on photosynthetic performance and antioxidant defences), latterly focusing on how factors present in forage crops affect quality and utilisation by ruminants (plant-microbial interactions). She has over 60 journal publications. She leads a multidisciplinary group including expertise in microbiology/ metagenomics, plant science, and computational biology, exploiting next generation sequencing and ‘omics technologies to conduct research aimed at decreasing the negative outputs of ruminants, thereby contributing directly to issues at the forefront of food security and sustainable intensification.

Dr Colin Jackson is a Sệr Cymru Fellow with an extensive background in molecular microbiology. He has over 25 years of research experience at universities in Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Swansea and Aberystwyth and was a part-time lecturer in microbiology at IBERS. His research has focused on epidemiology and targeted interventions in microbiological disease, including cryptosporidiosis, tuberculosis, and schistosomiasis. He has recently studied microbial enzymes with applications in biotechnology on the BEACON project. His current interests include molecular analysis of the soil microbiome, and the ecological role of microbial endo- and epiphytic bacteria.

Dr. Dylan Gwynn-Jones is a Reader, Leader of the Ecology group and Deputy Leader of Environmental Impact Theme at IBERS. His research investigates how plants and communities respond to various environmental perturbations including temperature, UV-B radiation impacts, elevated concentrations of CO2 and N deposition effects. Field experiments and glasshouse studies (in the UK and abroad) investigate the simulated effects of climate change factors (extreme and gradual) on semi-natural and agricultural systems. Plant physiological responses and interactions with other trophic processes (including herbivores, soil and decomposition) are also investigated. He is an expert reviewer for the UNEP panel on ozone depletion impacts, has an h-index of 28 and has published >60 journal articles (in journals including Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Ecology Letters and Nature).

Prof. John Doonan is the Professor of Genetics at IBERS. His research is aimed at understanding plant growth at different scales, from gene expression through to cell and organ development to how growth and yield/reproductive fitness respond to environmental factors. He has published over 100 refereed journal articles and is Director of the BBSRC funded National Plant Phenomics Centre.

Dr. John Scullion is a Senior Lecturer in Soil Science and has a long-standing research interest in relationships between soil physical conditions, earthworms and carbon dynamics. He has a particular interest in restoration of function to degraded soils and broader aspects of restoration ecology Current projects include work on the potential for enhanced C sequestration in disturbed soils and impacts of novel cropping on soil C stocks in general. He is collaborating with DG-J on a project investigating below-ground impacts of climate change (elevated CO2 and UV-B radiation) on microbial ecology /function, organic matter and C fluxes. He also has expertise in the application of chemometric and metabolomic approaches for assessing soil quality. He has >70 journal articles with >700 citations.

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