Contact Dr Nick Girkin

Areas of expertise

  • Soil
  • Soil Resources
  • Sustainable Land Systems

Background

I am an ecologist interested in the interactions between plants and soils, and the consequences of global environmental change.

My work focuses on opportunities for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and improving carbon sequestration and soil health in natural and managed ecosystems. This is important in helping countries and industry in meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets, and improving the long-term sustainability of natural and managed ecosystems.

My work ranges from studies of large scale-ecosystem processes to novel laboratory techniques to understand pathways and mechanisms. This includes using stable isotopes and novel organic matter characterisations (e.g. Rock-Eval pyrolysis and FTIR).

After studying biology at the University of Durham, I completed my Master's in Ecology and Environmental Management at the University of York, and my PhD at the University of Nottingham. I conducted my post-doctoral research at Teagasc, working on the mitigation of agricultural nitrous oxide emissions. Following this, I was a Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, measuring greenhouse gas fluxes from the Central African peatland complex. I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a Member of the British Ecological Society.

Research opportunities

Currently, there are no fully-funded postdoc or PhD studentships available. Self-funded researchers are welcome, and I am happy to support candidates in pursuing funding applications. Please get in touch to discuss further.

Current activities

I am interested in understanding how plants regulate carbon and nitrogen cycling, particularly emissions of greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration. My recent focus has been on how plants and novel soil amendments (e.g. biochar) can be used to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately improve soil health and carbon sequestration. Work in this area has previously been funded by NERC and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, as well as internal HEIF and QR GCRF awards. 

I have ongoing research interests in wetlands, including natural and constructed wetlands in the UK, and tropical peatlands in Central America, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia. This includes contributing to ongoing research into paludiculture, assessing the spatial and temporal variability of greenhouse gas emissions across the Cuvette Centrale, the world's largest tropical peatland in Central Africa. 

Clients

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Global Challenges Research Fund (QR GCRF)

Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF)

The Wildlife Trusts

Royal Geographical Society

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Publications

Articles In Journals