John King

Processing and fluxes of Dissolved Organic Matter in peat-pools and lochans

PhD Aims:

The overarching aim of the project is to investigate the processing and fluxes of dissolved organic matter (DOM) from peatland pools. This will incorporate routine monitoring of GHG fluxes and geochemical analysis of water samples to quantify fluxes of DOM from a range of peatland pools, as well as an experimental design to determine the primary drivers affecting DOM degradation. This work builds upon preliminary data from previous projects focused on river systems which showed that a large portion of DOM transformation occurs in the headwaters of catchments.  

PhD Objectives:

  • Quantify the dissolved organic matter (DOM) and organic carbon (OC) flux from peatland pools and lochans, both in terms of CO2/CH4 emissions and mass DOM export.
  • Understand how DOM export and GHG emissions vary both diurnally and seasonally to improve understanding and modelling of carbon cycling in northern peatlands, particularly within the context of increasing climate stresses.
  • Explore the roles of, and the synergy between, photochemical reactions (i.e., photolysis) and biochemical processes (e.g., microbial activity and respiration), in the priming and breakdown of DOM.
  • Compare the processes and rates investigated in the above objectives in peatlands of northern Scotland, with comparable sites in biogeographically distinct regions such as the Falkland Islands, Norway and Siberia to explore the large scale spatial variation of DOM fluxes from peatland pools.  

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