I am a geomorphologist with a particular interest in how the restoration of degraded moorland impacts the movement of sediment and water through the landscape.
Peatlands are an important store of soil carbon, play a vital role in carbon and water cycling, and can also act as sinks of atmospherically deposited heavy metals. Large areas of the UK’s blanket peat are significantly degraded and actively eroding, which negatively impacts the ecosystem services these areas support. The restoration of eroding UK peatlands is a major conservation concern, and over the last decade measures have been taken to control erosion and restore large areas of degraded peat. In severely eroded peatlands, topography is highly variable, and an appreciation of geomorphological form and process is key in understanding the controls on peatland function, and in mitigating the negative impacts of peatland erosion.
My principal research interests lie in furthering our understanding of the effects of peatland degradation and re-vegetation on sediment dynamics and the export of carbon and contaminants. I work with a range of geochemical and geophysical techniques to assess pollution levels, and use sediment source fingerprinting techniques to investigate the sources of eroded material and determine its fate. Recently I have become interested in how peatland restoration may aleviate downstream flooding, and I am currently working on the Making Space for Water project with Tim Allott, Martin Evans and Clive Agnew, in conjunction with the Moors for the Future Partnership.