Angela Harris -
Previous and ongoing projects include:
Despite Sphagnum being the dominant plant in many northern peatlands, our knowledge of Sphagnum ecophysiology is limited. The exact relationship between moisture conditions and crucially, the photosynthetic efficiency of Sphagnum remains unclear. Work has shown how remote sensing can be used to understand the photosynthetic status of peatland complexes, thus providing invaluable information regarding the carbon fluxes in these environments and improving our detection of ecosystem responses to climate or anthropogenic change.
Scaling peatland carbon fluxes using remote sensing data - Peatland carbon gas exchanges respond in a non-linear manner to spatial and temporal variations in key driving variables such as water table and temperature, which in turn are influenced by microtopography, the spatial arrangement of microtopographic features and vegetation composition. However, using RS to capture these small-scale peatland spatial heterogeneities at the coarser scales required to effectively up-scale carbon flux models is challenging.This work investigates ways in which RS can be used to scale peatland carbon flux estimations
Peatlands contain vast amounts the world’s soil carbon and have a fundamental role in the terrestrial carbon cycle. Surface wetness, near-surface wetness and the position of the mean watertable are the primary factors controlling the rate at which atmospheric carbon gases are emitted from peatlands. Such data are key forcing variables in models of carbon balance processes. Current models rely heavily on small-scale point based data extrapolated over large areas, although such highly detailed data do not provide the spatial coverage necessary to characterise hydrological conditions across entire peatland complexes. As a consequence, important variations in peatland microtopography, and thus variability in the water-table position, are often unaccounted for.
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