Environmental Change

Louisa Bacon-Hall

'Transport of radioactive waste along the Sellafield shoreline: climate change impact and mitigation strategies through nature-based solutions' 
Supervisors: Prof. Nicoletta Leonardi, Prof. Andy Plater
Description: Numerical modelling with Delft3D will be applied to examine coastal erosion and sediment transport for the wider Sellafield shoreline and adjacent waters. The fate of sediments labelled with Sellafield radionuclides will also be investigated to assess the effects of remobilized legacy waste on the environment. The numerical modelling environment will provide a tool for assessing the effectiveness of ‘nature-based’ interventions at the coast that aim to mitigate erosion and flood risk.

Delft3D is a numerical model composed of a number of integrated modules. Delft3D allows the simulation of hydrodynamic flow, sediment transport and related bed evolution, and the modelling of water quality parameters. The Delft3D-FLOW module is able to solve the unsteady shallow-water equations in two and three dimensions. The sediment transport and morphology modules account for bed and suspended load transport of cohesive and non-cohesive sediments and for the exchange of sediments between the bed and the flow

Email: l.bacon-hall@liverpool.ac.uk

Thomas Fitter

'Multiscale analysis of intermittent rivers'
Supervisors: Prof. Andy Player, Prof. James Cooper and Dr. Jonny Higham
Description: My interests lie within the field of hydrology; specifically, applying a non-intrusive flow measuring technique, called ‘Flowonthego’, to capture and analyse fluvial hydrodynamics. Having previously worked with Flowonthego at undergraduate level during the Geography (BSc) course at the University of Liverpool, I wished to pursue this further at a more research-focussed level. Now, I am using this software to explore the linkage between riverbed structure and surface flow characteristics on two intermittent rivers located in the Peak District and Derbyshire Dales.

Email: sgtfitte@liverpool.ac.uk

Jessie Foest

'Understanding the response of variability in tree reproduction (masting) to climatic and environmental change' 
Project funded by NERC ACCE DPT Studentship
Supervisors:Dr. Andrew Hacket-Pain, Prof. Dr. Andy Morse, Dr. Mark Green
Description: Many plant populations produce remarkably different quantities of seed each year. The resulting seed resource pulses have profound effects on the establishment of seedlings, forest dynamics, and food webs. The mechanisms driving this variability are thought to rely directly or indirectly on climate. My project investigates how inter-annual variability in seed production has responded to recent changes in climate, and seeks to predict future changes in masting. I am particularly interested in understanding how temporal variability of seed production differs between plant species and ecosystems. My project will use the MASTREE+ dataset, which can be explored via my Shiny App.

Email: j.j.foest@liverpool.ac.uk


James Forrester

'ENARM - Engineering with Nature: combining Artificial intelligence, Remote sensing and computer Models for the optimum design of coastal protection schemes' 
Supervisors: Prof. Nicoletta Leonardi, Prof. James Cooper
Description: James completed his undergraduate degree in biological science, developing an interest in marine conservation and environmental management. During his degree, he spent a year working with an environmental NGO in Mauritius, conducting surveys in the Blue Bay marine park and Mahebourg-Grand Port fishing reserve. Looking to develop further skills and knowledge in environmental management, he started a masters in environmental science at the University of Liverpool. This further developed an interest in coastal environmental management, particularly in creative nature-based solutions to flood and coastal erosion risk management. Following his masters degree, James began a PhD, using computer models to research the optimal design of nature-based coastal protection schemes. He is currently assessing the application of seagrass transplantation as a method of flood and coastal erosion risk management.

Email: sgjforre@liverpool.ac.uk

Chloe Gray

'Using low cost sensors to track the dispersion of maritime air pollution' 
Supervisors: Dr. Jonny Higham, Prof. Andy Plater, 
Description: Chloe has a background in chemistry and her PhD focuses on characterising maritime-derived particulate matter in Liverpool via a network of wireless air pollution sensors. Positive matrix factorisation is applied to the sensor data to identify the fingerprints of individual pollution sources which can then be tracked across the network in near real-time as they disperse across the city. Chloe also carries out electron  microscopy on particulate matter samples to understand their chemical and physical properties in more detail which can be combined with the sensor data to more accurately describe the particles emitted by individual pollution sources.

Email: c.gray4@liverpool.ac.uk

Jamie Hartup

'Quantifying and Conserving West Papuan Wetland Forests' 
Supervisors: Dr Frederick Draper, Dr Andrew Hacket-Pain, Dr Imam Basuki, Prof. David Edwards
Description: My PhD focuses on understanding the biodiversity and carbon stocks of lowland-wetland forests in West Papua, Indonesian New Guinea. New Guinea’s forests are the among the most floristically diverse on Earth with exceptional levels of species endemism. These forests are also poorly understood and, while largely intact, are increasingly threatened by logging and conversion for agriculture. I hope to combine novel field measurements with remote-sensing to better understand these forests, their threats, and assess potential pathways to conserve them alongside sustainable development.  

More broadly, I’m interested in effective conservation and ways to reduce natural habitat loss by improving agriculture. Before this PhD, I researched REDD+ schemes and ways to improve them at The Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits. I have also researched approaches to forest restoration in Central Europe, agrobiodiversity trends in sub-Saharan Africa, water-efficient crop varieties in the US, and the impacts of oil palm management in Borneo.

Email: j.hartup@liverpool.ac.uk

Benjamin Miller

'Assessing the changing risk of tick-borne diseases within woodland creation projects' 
Supervisors: Caroline Millins, Andrew Hacket-Pain, Sarah Burthe, Beth Purse, Jolyon Medlock
Description: Woodland expansion projects have increased woodland cover in the UK by nearly 10% since the First World War. These projects are part of the UK governments plan to try to restore natural areas and improve biodiversity. However, woodlands are key habitats for certain tick species, especially Ixodes ricinus, which is commonly found throughout the UK and western Europe. Ixodes ricinus is a generalist blood-feeder and an important vector for several tick-borne pathogens, including the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato bacterial species complex. Birds and rodents are important reservoir hosts for B. burgdorferi s.l., which causes Lyme disease in humans, while deer are important to the movement and reproduction of the ticks. Using field surveys of woodlands in England and Scotland this project aims to determine which woodland attributes are most likely to drive the expansion of I. ricinus and its hosts and pathogens to manage their spread in the future.

Email: Benjamin.Miller@liverpool.ac.uk

James Murphy

James Murphy

'Building resilient coastal cities using remote sensing data' 
Supervisors: Prof. Daniel Arribas-Bel, Prof. Andy Plater
Description: James Murphy is a PhD student at the University of Liverpool and is a member of the data analytics and society CDT programme. His research primarily focuses on human-coast interactions using remote sensing data. To date James has utilised multispectral optical imagery, radar (marine and SAR), and LiDAR in his work, with a predominant interest in observing spatio-temporal changes in beach morphology and the subsequent impacts on human systems.

Email: James.murphy@liverpool.ac.uk

Molly Spater

'Disentangling Environmental Change in the Amazon: Vegetation responses to Holocene drivers in the Yasuní National Park, Ecuador' 
Supervisors: Dr. Encarni Montoya, Dr. Rachel Smedley, Prof. George Wolff, Robert Marchant
Description: I am a second year PhD student from California. My project focuses on understanding long-term vegetation dynamics and drivers of change within the western Amazon using pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, charcoal, XRF, biomarker, and OSL analyses.

Email: molly.spater@liverpool.ac.uk

Claire Teakle

'Quantifying Amazonian tree diversity using next generation technologies ' 
Supervisors:Dr Frederick Draper, Professor Kate Parr, Dr Alberto Viceniti, Professor Tim Baker
Description: Amazonia is vast and predominantly remote, meaning its tree communities are undersampled and we currently do not have a good understanding of how tree species are distributed and organised at large scales. For my PhD project I will model whether it is possible to accurately predict the presence of tree species in Amazonia, from the presence data of just a few hyperdominant species. Additionally, I plan to develop a new protocol for identifying tree species in Amazonia. Using foliar spectroscopy, I aim to build a spectral reference library for five key Amazonian hyperdominant genera. I will then use deep learning to train artificial intelligence in species identification.

Email: claire.teakle@liverpool.ac.uk

George White

'Understanding glacier dynamic change and iceberg risk evolution in Greenland' 
Supervisors:Prof. James Lea; Dr. Stephen Brough
Description: My PhD focuses on understanding the dynamics of Greenlandic glaciers (in particular Narsap Sermia) and how this relates to evolving iceberg risk. Narsap Sermia is located ~100km up Nuup Kangerlua, a fjord that several marine-terminating glaciers discharge into and which flows out into the Labrador Sea past Greenland’s capital and major port, Nuuk. In the last few years there has been a marked change in the dynamics of Narsap Sermia, the drivers of which are poorly understood at present. This project sets out to discover what is causing this change, what future change may look like, and how this will affect the number and size of icebergs discharged into Nuup Kangerlua that may eventually reach the port of Nuuk.

Email: george.white@liverpool.ac.uk

Domino Jones

'Greenlandic tidewater glacier response to long-term climate change' 
Supervisors: Prof. Douglas Mair, Dr. Isabel Nias, Dr. James Lea
Description: My PhD models the advance and retreat of a large, fast-flowing tidewater glacier in southwest Greenland. This project uses the Ice-sheet and Sea-level System Model (ISSM) to run an ensemble of models calibrated and validated against the well-constrained record of past glacier behaviors over the last 1000 years. Simulations will then be run to forecast sensitivity to future climate change for the next 200 years. This project additionally aims to transfer optimal model ensemble to other key tidewater glaciers in Greenland. This will contribute to efforts to better understand ice sheet stability.

Prior to my PhD, I obtained a BSc from Leiden University College (Netherlands), majoring in Earth, Energy, and Sustainability. It was within this interdisciplinary framework that I became interested in science communication. This prompted me to organize a cross-sector conference on climate during my undergraduate years. I am dedicated to furthering this initiative here in Liverpool.

Email: Domino.Jones@liverpool.ac.uk