Areas of expertise
Sophia Bahddou obtained her degree in Rural Engineering (Water, Environment and Infrastructures) from Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary in Morocco. Her graduation project was conducted in the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) in Rabat and was directed at designing a completely mixed aerated lagoon and assessing its technical performance. Sophia moved to Spain to pursue a 2-year MSc in Integrated Planning for Rural Development and Environmental Management at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ) of the International Centre of Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM). Her Master thesis was about water and energy savings in collective pressurized irrigation networks through improvements in the management of on-farm irrigation, which was carried out at the Irrigation, Agronomy and Environment department of the Estación Experimental de Aula Dei (EEAD-CSIC) in Zaragoza. Right after obtaining her MSc degree with a Cum Maxima Laude distinction, Sophia has joined the School of Water, Energy and Environment at Cranfield University (UK) to start her PhD research in collaboration with Rothamsted Research (UK) and the Mohamed VI Polytechnic University (Morocco).
As part of her PhD research, Sophia is investigating how root activity affects aspects of soil structure that have a direct impact on erosion by wind and water as well as water conservation. For this, she will simulate the effects of soil erosion due to both wind and rainfall (as separate and combined) based on realistic conditions combining variable wind speeds and rainfall intensities over different durations that reflect current and future conditions, using predicted climate change scenarios. She will then study the interactions between soil structure and plants root traits such as root geometry, root architecture, root density and exudation.
This research programme is directed at understanding the relationships between soil physical properties, agricultural yields and environmental sustainability.