Contact Dr Nick Girkin

Areas of expertise

  • Soil
  • Soil Resources
  • Sustainable Land Systems


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

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

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 nutrient cycles, including the emissions of greenhouse gases and carbon sequestration. A recent focus has been on how soil amendments (e.g. biochar) can mitigate emissions and improve soil health and carbon sequestration while maintaining yields.

I also have wide-ranging research interests in wetlands, including natural and constructed wetlands in the UK, and in the tropics, including Central America, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia. This includes research into paludiculture, carbon sequestration, and assessing the spatial and temporal variability of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Recently funded projects include:

Central American Blue Carbon: quantifying carbon cycling in Central American mangroves (Royal Society, PI)

Mapping the extent and vulnerability of Central American peatland carbon stocks (Royal Geographical Society, Ralph Brown Expedition Award, PI)

HotPeat: Temperature sensitivity of tropical peatland greenhouse gas production (Royal Geographical Society, PI)


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

The Royal Society

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute


Articles In Journals