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Thomas Parker

Staff picture: Thomas Parker
Ecological Sciences
Ecological Sciences
Upland Carbon Ecologist
thomas.parker@hutton.ac.uk
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Craigiebuckler
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK

 

Thomas (Tom) is an ecologist specialising in the study of carbon cycling in upland and far northern ecosytems. Much of this research centres on roots and the 'rhizosphere'- the volume of soil directly influenced by root activity- and how root and rhizosphere processes control the capacity of an ecosystem to store carbon. Tom's expertise is in understanding ecological processes, how they connect within an ecosystem and how they are influenced by climate and vegetation change. Tom works in the Biodiversity and Ecosystems Group with a focus on the ecosystem responses to land management and green house gas fluxes from peatlands.

 

Current and Past Research Interests

 
Plant-soil interactions in a greening Arctic
 
As the arctic climate warms, tall shrubs are expanding north into the tundra. My research has focussed on understanding how these changes in tundra plant community will impact carbon cycling in the soil. Acrtic soils represent one of the largest global stores of carbon and a major question I aim to answer is how the increasing plant activity in the tundra will affect this soil carbon store.

 

Ecophysiology of peatland species
 
My previous work in the tundra of Alaska focused on the ecology and adaptation of arctic plants, in particular Eriophorum vaginatum (tussock cottongrass). The climate in the Arctic is warming faster that anywhere else on earth and his research indicates that arctic plants may struggle to keep up with this change.

Bibliography


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.