Royal Society Fellow to study terrestrial ecosystem response to warming

Dr Gordon Inglis
Dr Inglis is interested in environmental feedbacks resulting from increasing global temperatures.

An early-career scientist with expertise on the effects of global temperature rise on land-based ecosystems will join the University of Southampton as part of a fellowship programme funded by the Royal Society.

Dr Gordon Inglis has arrived at Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science as one of the Royals Society’s Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellows for the academic year 2019-20.

The scheme was established to identify outstanding early career scientists who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields, providing them with the opportunity to build an independent research career.

Dr Inglis is interested in the environmental feedbacks which result from increasing global temperatures. Through his Fellowship he plans to bring that interest and knowledge to Southampton, using geochemistry and numerical models to better understand these processes.

“I am very excited to start my Royal Society DHF at the University of Southampton”, Dr. Inglis explains. “The University of Southampton have been highly supportive and offers state-of-the-art facilities and unparalleled scientific expertise, helping me to carry out this fellowship to its full potential. This fellowship is the next logical step in my research career and will help me develop as a scientific leader”.

Gavin Foster, Professor of Isotope Geochemistry within Ocean and Earth Science at Southampton, said: “It is fantastic to have Gordon come and join us in SOES. Gordon is a very talented organic geochemist and will be a great addition to our team. The work he proposes as part of this fellowship will really advance our understanding of how the climate system works when its warmer than present.”

Dr Jessica Whiteside, Associate Professor within Ocean and Earth Science, added: “Gordon’s research on the transfer of carbon between the land and sea is an important yet not well understood earth systems feedback, and helps fuse research among SOES, Geography, and NOC.”

Dr Inglis explains that his research is focused on the environmental feedbacks which result from increasing global temperatures.

“Much of our discussion about climate change has focused on how warm the Earth will become. However, climate change will have a variety of impacts on the Earth System, including precipitation patterns, vegetation and different biogeochemical cycles” says Dr. Inglis

“Recent work has argued that climate change will increase the flux of carbon from land to ocean. This process is very important because it can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and may help to mitigate future anthropogenic climate change”, he continues. “Unfortunately, the importance of this process in warmer climates remains a major gap in our understanding and is a significant contributor to the overall uncertainty in predicting our future warm climate”,

“One way to test the behaviour of the Earth in warm climate states is to examine the geological record. This is a central theme that has run through my research and can provide unique and powerful insights into our warm future”, he says. “For my fellowship, I will use molecular fossils to reconstruct hydrological change and soil erosion during an important climate aberration. These measurements will be benchmarked alongside model simulations to create a holistic understanding of the terrestrial carbon cycle in past – and future – warm climates”.

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