Contact Dr Daniel Evans
Areas of expertise
- Sustainable Land Systems
for soils research germinated in 2012 when he studied mobile debris lobes in
Alaska during a Royal Geographical Society Scholarship. Following his return,
he obtained a first class degree in Physical Geography at the Royal Holloway,
with prize-winning research on root architecture and soil erodibility. During
his PhD at Lancaster University, he conducted the first isotopic measurements
of UK arable soil formation, and produced the first globally-relevant estimates of soil
lifespans. His postdoctoral work on the Global Food Security programme's Rurban Revolution project investigated urban ecosystem services. Dan is Early Career Researcher (ECR) co-representative for the
EGU’s Soils division, and National ECR Officer for the British Society of Soil
Science. In 2019, he co-hosted HRH The Duke of Gloucester at the BSSS ECR
conference. Dan’s also passionate about science communication. He was the
inaugural speaker at the first Royal Holloway TEDx conference, and recently
curated a sustainable urban soils exhibition at the UEA. His research has
featured in The Conversation, on BBC
Radio 4’s Farming Today, and Farmer’s Weekly. Following his PhD, Dan became the Legacy Fellow for the NERC and BBSRC-funded 'Soils Training and Research Studentship' (STARS) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT).
I am a recipient of a 75th Anniversary Research Fellowship at Cranfield University, leading fundamental and applied research at the interface between soil and weathered bedrock called saprolite. This zone represents a ‘final frontier’ at the bottom of many soil profiles, and one which is likely to become more critical as soils around the world continue to erode to bedrock. My research aims to understand the processes that occur across this interface, particularly in contexts with shallow and near-absent soils. This understanding will help us enhance the potential of saprolite to support soil functioning, in order to sustain the local delivery of ecosystem services, and to tackle global environmental challenges.
My research is underpinned by five guiding principles:
Health: How do the biological, chemical,
and physical properties of saprolite differ from those of soil, and what implications
does this have on the saprolite's ability to support soil functioning?
Restoration: What can we do to enhance the properties of saprolite in order to support soil functioning in degraded environments?
Sustainability: How fast, and through which mechanisms, does saprolite form soil, and how can we make these soil-forming processes more efficient?
Resilience: To what extent does saprolite respond to and recover from disturbance, and how does this impact the resilience of soil systems?
Mitigation: How can saprolite best support the delivery of soil ecosystem services and help tackle grand global challenges such as safeguarding food, water, and energy security, combating climate change, and protecting biodiversity.
The role of saprolite in stabilizing soil organic carbon in critically shallow soils | October 2020 to present | P.I.
My principal Fellowship research programme that investigates the potential of weathered bedrock underlying rapidly eroding shallow soils to store and stabilize organic carbon. In particular, this project will explore (i) the factors that affect carbon storage and stabilization mechanisms at the soil-saprolite interface, (ii) the resilience of these mechanisms to perturbation, and (iii) solutions to boost ecosystem service delivery on bare saprolite.
Saprolite erosion and the fate of heavy metals: pioneering UAV-SfM as a community mapping tool | December 2020 to present | P.I.
A GCRF project, in collaboration with Agronomic Institute of Campinas, Brazil, and the National Institute for Space Research, that aims to develop, test, and validate the use of UAV-SfM to (1) measure saprolite erosion rates, and (2) map downslope colluviation in order to detect areas of heavy metal contamination.
My specialism in the soil–saprolite
zone is part of a wider research vision that seeks to understand the interactions
between soils and other terrestrial and marine systems, including urban environments,
rivers, and coastlines. I welcome engagement and collaboration with research-,
industry-, or policy-based programmes that explore these themes.
Rurban Revolution | May 2020 to present | Researcher
I am a collaborator on a two-year interdisciplinary project funded through the Global Food Security’s ‘Resilience of the UK Food System Programme’, focused on the transformative potential of urban greening and food growing.
Articles In Journals
- Evans DL, Vis BN, Dunning NP, Graham E & Isendahl C (2021) Buried solutions: How Maya urban life substantiates soil connectivity, Geoderma, 387 (April) Article No. 114925.
- Portell X, Sauzet O, Balseiro-Romero M, Benard P, Cardinael R, Couradeau E, Danra DD, Evans DL, Fry EL, Hammer EC, Mamba D, Merino-Martín L, Mueller CW, Paradelo M, Rees F, Rossi L, Schmidt H, Schnee LS, Védère C & Vidal A (2021) Bypass and hyperbole in soil science: a perspective from the next generation of soil scientists, European Journal of Soil Science, 72 (1) 31-34.
- Rodes A & Evans DL (2020) Cosmogenic soil production rate calculator, MethodsX, 7 Article No. 100753.
- Evans DL, Rodes A & Tye AM (2020) The sensitivity of cosmogenic radionuclide analysis to soil bulk density: Implications for soil formation rates, European Journal of Soil Science, Available online 05 May 2020 (1).
- Evans DL, Quinton JN, Davies JAC, Zhao J & Govers G (2020) Soil lifespans and how they can be extended by land use and management change, Environmental Research Letters, 15 (9) Article No. 0940b2.
- Evans DL, Quinton JN, Tye AM, Rodes A, Davies JAC, Mudd, SM, Quine & TA (2019) Arable soil formation and erosion: a hillslope-based cosmogenic nuclide study in the United Kingdom, Soil, 5 (2) 253-263.
- Barthel S, Isendahl C, Vis BN, Drescher A, Evans DL & Timmeren AV (2019) Global urbanization and food production in direct competition for land: Leverage places to mitigate impacts on SDG2 and on the Earth System, The Anthropocene Review, 6 (1-2) 71-97.
- Graham E, Evans DL & Lindsay D (2020) The waste of time. In: The Temporalities of Waste: Out of Sight, Out of Time, Routledge, p. 151-166.