Friday, 20 February 2009

PhD opportunities: University of Exeter and North Wyke Research (UK)

Fully-funded PhD studentship available for collaborative projects between the Department of Geography and North Wyke Research.

A fully-funded PhD studentship (full stipend, fees and support grant) is available for a number of collaborative projects between the Department of Geography and North Wyke Research. All of these projects are co-funded between the University of Exeter and North Wyke Research. PhD students will benefit from full funding as well as a great deal of in-kind support from both Exeter and the project partner – North Wyke Research including access to world class laboratories and a range of training courses relevant to the PhD in question. Any enquiries about these projects should be directed in the first instance to Dr Richard Brazier ((r.e.brazier) at (


Understanding the effect of multiple pollutants on water quality in intensively managed grasslands
Understanding the complexity of pluvial flooding generated from grassland systems under climate change
Developing an understanding of vegetation change and carbon budgets in semi-arid environments
An investigation into techniques for the mitigation of agricultural pollutants to water

Open access and wider participation in science

James Evans and Jacob Reimer have reported their findings in the journal Science (20 February 2009Vol 323, Issue 5917) that in the natural sciences the influence of open access on how widely a journal is read and cited is greatest for multidisciplinary journals. Athough their results show that the influence of open access on global particiaption in science is lower than in previous studies, it does demonstrate that open access does expand the range of those that can experience and benefit from the science.

Need to control Nitrogen and Phosphorus

A useful paper in the journal Science (20 February 2009 Vol 323, Issue 5917) sets out the need to control losses of N and P from land to water. It is important that whilst looking to reduce impacts locally that the consequences downstream on the wider ecosystem are considered.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Now is not the time to slaughter the cow (Nature Editorial)

Nature Editorial 12th Feb 2009

Natural value

An important editorial highlighting the need to take an 'ecosystem services' approach to environmental protection. There are a number of projects around the world that are producing the scientific (natural and social) basis of how we can assess ecosystem services or functions. It is very early days, but it is vital that holistic assessments like ecosystem services are developed and tested (critically) by scientists, policy makers and the wider community if we are to take a more sustainable approach to natural resource management.