Carbon Allocation and Trait Optimality Drives Amazon Forest Response to Changing Water Availability - School of GeoSciences
The opportunity to follow my own interests throughout the PhD has led me to new exciting research areas.
This PhD project was hosted in the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh.
What was your research about?
My PhD research was focused on the effects of climate on carbon cycling in the Amazon rainforest. I used field data together with ecosystem models to investigate the effects of hydrological regimes on forest functioning, specifically focusing on the carbon economics of plant carbon decision making.
What made you apply to the E3 DTP?
Mostly, I was just really excited about the project, I felt that it aligned really well with my interests, existing skills, and the skills I wanted to gain. I had completed my master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh so I was confident I would fit in to the work culture and was familiar with the research carried out by my research group.
I really enjoyed tutoring and demonstrating, working with the undergraduate student was great, and the field courses were a lot of fun. Throughout my PhD I carried out a lot of outreach work across Edinburgh (and continue to do so), working with local schools and museums, both to communicate current science and to teach skills in data analysis and scientific investigation.
Was your PhD what you expected it to be?
My PhD was as I expected it to be. I felt that the PGR support staff and my supervisor provided timely guidance to support me throughout the different stages. I found the first 6 months the most challenging as I was still figuring out where the project was going so there was some (not unnecessary) uncertainty.
Looking back, what would you have done differently?
I don’t think I would do anything differently. I definitely made mistakes but I felt like I learnt from them all, and more importantly learned how to fix them.
Which aspects of your PhD did you enjoy the most?
I really enjoyed developing my own research ideas. My supervisor was brilliant, he gave me space to work independently, but was also really supportive when I needed help.
I really enjoyed tutoring and demonstrating, working with the undergraduate student was great, and the field courses were a lot of fun.
Which skills did you gain during your PhD?
Through my PhD I developed my coding skills in R and Python. I became a lot more confident speaking in public, both at international conferences and hosting public events. Scientific writing was something I struggled with pre-PhD. Whilst I am still learning I felt that I made big improvements throughout my PhD, aided a lot by feedback from my supervisor.
I became a lot more confident speaking in public, both at international conferences and hosting public events.
What would not have been possible without the DTP?
I completed internships both at the Forestry Commission and at Greenhill Sustainability Ltd. At the Forestry Commission I was investigating the supply chain and use of harvested wood products in UK construction. The internship resulted in a report used by the Forestry Commission and DEFRA to inform policy. At Greenhill Sustainability I worked on the ADEPT project, developing a tool for sustainable building design and management. The work resulted in improved model functionality through code translation and output of relevant media for product end user research. Via DTP funding I also attended the annual flux course workshop in Colorado, USA.
How has your PhD helped you to decide on a career pathway?
The opportunity to follow my own interests throughout the PhD has led me to new exciting research areas. In addition, the skills gained have opened up a lot of job opportunities to me.
I am currently working as a PDRA at the University of Edinburgh, researching tropical crop management, which I started immediately on submission of my thesis.