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Ian Clancy

Ian has a Joint Honours degree in English and Geography from DCU and a MSc in Climate Change from Maynooth University. During his studies he gained fieldwork experience in water quality testing, paleoclimatology and was aboard a two-day trip on the Celtic Voyager to understand the impacts of climate change in Irish waters using the multi-beam echosounder, sediment analysis and the CDT. From his academic background, Ian has developed a strong interest in the impact anthropogenic change has on ecosystems such as peatlands. He hopes his research can improve on the scientific understanding of land use change and the associated impacts on greenhouse gas emissions in carbon rich soils, while also helping to inform policymakers about sustainable management practices. He is currently a member of the Plant Ecophysiology research group in the Botany department in Trinity and is funded as a Teagasc Walsh scholar.

PhD Project: Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Dynamics of Grassland Organic Soils.

Background: Ian is currently working on quantifying carbon and trace gas fluxes from organic and organo-mineral soils using techniques such as Remote Sensing, Eddy Covariance, and Smart Chambers. This forms part of the Teagasc funded Carbosol project and will form part of the NASCO network activities. Irish grasslands are a significant carbon (C) store, with grasslands under mineral and organic (histosol) soils containing approximately 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon (C). Histosols are large C sinks, typically containing between 1000-4000 tC ha-1, with the amount of C sequestered governed by hydrological status, vegetation type and associated management. Currently over 300,000 ha of these soils are drained for permanent pasture in Ireland and, due to the high C stocks, they emit large quantities of carbon (6-32 TCO2 ha-1) upon drainage which is further accelerated by the imposition of agricultural management, resulting in CO2 emissions of 3.5 million tonnes per annum. The objective of the PhD will be to measure field-scale fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and water (H2O) and to generate land-use and land management emission factors for the following site typologies:
• Grasslands established on shallow and deep-drained nutrient poor and nutrient rich histosols and on drained organo-mineral soils.
• Previously drained systems which have naturally or actively been re-wetted across the full nutrient and drainage gradient.
This work will lead to a) more robust emission factors for key greenhouse gases, b) will elucidate the drivers of C losses and their relative impacts and c) quantify the extent to which re-wetting and changes in water table and management can reduce C losses.

Project supervisors

Dr. Matthew Saunders (TCD) and Prof. Gary Lanigan (Teagasc)