Matthew Saunders

Matthew Saunders
Trinity College Dublin | TCD · Department of Botany

Ph.D. Plant Ecophysiology (Trinity College Dublin)

About

95
Publications
31,235
Reads
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3,057
Citations
Introduction
My research interests include the response of plants to changes in their physical, chemical and biological environments and how this information can be used to assess the resilience and adaptive capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to global environmental change.
Additional affiliations
May 2015 - present
Trinity College Dublin
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
Description
  • Plant-environment interactions
February 2013 - May 2015
James Hutton Institute
Position
  • Carbon and greenhouse gas dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems
January 2009 - January 2013
University College Dublin
Position
  • Climate Change and the Environment.
Education
April 2002 - December 2005
Trinity College Dublin
Field of study
  • Environmental Ecophysiology
October 2000 - October 2001
Trinity College Dublin
Field of study
  • Environmental Science

Publications

Publications (95)
Conference Paper
Full-text available
● ABSTRACT In this study we used the biogeochemical model ECOSSE-6.2b [1] in site-specific mode to evaluate/test model accuracy to estimate soil organic carbon (SOC) in Irish grassland systems under mineral soils. The selection of sites and management practices, as well as model inputs and model initialization followed procedures explained in Prem...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
● ABSTRACT In this study we used the HAIR (HArmonized environmental Indicators for pesticide Risk) modelling tool [1],[2] for estimating the risks of pesticide use in Irish grassland soils, as part of the PROTECTS research project [3]. This project aims to provide baseline information in an Irish context to build towards mitigating the effects of...
Article
Full-text available
Quantifying nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from grazed pastures can be problematic due to the presence of hotspots and hot moments of N2O from animal excreta and synthetic fertilisers. In this study, we quantified field scale N2O emissions from a temperate grassland under a rotational grazing management using eddy covariance (EC) and static chamber...
Article
Where nitrogen input from fertilizer application exceeds plant demands, hotspots of microbially produced nitrous oxide (N 2 O) can exhibit disproportionately high rates of emissions relative to longer periods of time, known as hot moments. Hotspots and hot moments of N2O are sensitive to changes in agricultural management and weather, making it dif...
Article
Full-text available
Heatwaves exert disproportionately strong and sometimes irreversible impacts on forest ecosystems. These impacts remain poorly understood at the tree and species level and across large spatial scales. Here, we investigate the effects of the record-breaking 2018 European heatwave on tree growth and tree water status using a collection of high-tempor...
Article
Full-text available
Global population projections foresee the biggest increase to occur in Africa with most of the available uncultivated land to ensure food security remaining on the continent. Simultaneously, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to rise due to ongoing land use change, industrialisation, and transport amongst other reasons with Africa becoming a maj...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Currently, Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) reporting for national inventory purposes largely relies on tier 1 reporting methodologies, due to the lack of availability of soil property and other activity data at an adequate spatial resolution. In order to better inform coherent climate mitigation strategies and to enhance knowledge in...
Article
This study utilized site-specific peat hydrophysical properties (inverse of air-entry pressure (α), pore size distribution index (n), saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) and pore tortuosity (L)) as inputs into the HYDRUS 1-D computer model for quantifying moss moisture stresses on Irish peatlands. The site-specific peat hydrophysical properties c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The work provides insights into soil organic carbon (SOC) modelling procedures associated with different management practices for Irish grassland sites selected from two large soil databases (LUCAS-2009 [1] and Teagasc-SIS [2]) and a single treatment-plot from France (paddock of a long-term grassland-experiment) [3]. Modelling of SOC was done at si...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ABSTRACT Drained peatlands often act as carbon source and their drainage characteristics can be challenging to accommodate in biogeochemical models. This study uses the ECOSSE process-based biogeochemical model [to simulate water-table level and CO2 fluxes (heterotrophic respiration) [1]], and empirical data from two Irish drained peatlands: Blackw...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ABSTRACT: This study aims to contribute to the modelling of risks for pesticide use in Irish agriculture under the larger PROTECTS research project (https://protects.ucd.ie/). The procedures for estimating pesticide terrestrial risks (i.e. earthworm terrestrial risk-indicators) in Irish grassland soils using the HAIR2014 tool [1] for Glyphosate act...
Article
Full-text available
Globally, soils store two to three times as much carbon as currently resides in the atmosphere, and it is critical to understand how soil greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and uptake will respond to ongoing climate change. In particular, the soil-toatmosphere CO2 flux, commonly though imprecisely termed soil respiration (RS), is one of the largest car...
Article
Full-text available
The ability of peatlands to remove and store atmospheric carbon (C) depends on the drainage characteristics, which can be challenging to accommodate in biogeochemical models. Many studies indicate that restoration (by rewetting) of damaged peatlands can re-establish their capacity as a natural C sink. The purpose of this research was to improve the...
Article
Full-text available
A crucial aspect of coordinated climate action is the ability to measure, attribute, report and verify the drivers of climate change not only globally, but down to national level. This requires the enhancement of current observation infrastructures around the world, particularly in less-studied regions such as the African continent. Methodological...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Non-degraded peatlands are known to be important carbon sink; however, if they are exposed to anthropogenic changes they can act as carbon source. This study forms a part of the larger AUGER project (http://www.ucd.ie/auger). It uses the ECOSSE process-based model to predict CO2 emissions [heterotrophic respiration (Rh)] associated with different p...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Grassland represents the dominant land use in Ireland, and the estimation of soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and changes for Irish grasslands requires further improvements. This study uses the ECOSSE 6.2b process-based model in site-specific mode (Smith et al., 2010) to predict SOC stocks and changes associated with different grassland management...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ABSTRACT The presented work forms a part of the larger SOLUM project. It focuses (among others) on the current plans for upscaling of SOC predictions for Irish grasslands (under different management practices) from site-scale to country-scale [1]. Site SOC simulations based on various inputs [2], [3], [4] are currently in their final development...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ABSTRACT Peatlands in their natural state they can act as an important C sink. However, if they are exposed to anthropogenic changes (such as drainage) peatlands can act as C source. This work is performed as part of the EPA funded AUGER project [1], which uses the ECOSSE [2] process-based biogeochemical model to predict GHG emissions associated w...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ABSTRACT Peatlands are known to act as a carbon (C) sink in their natural state, but in case of anthropogenic changes (e.g. drainage) they can act as C source. Biogeochemical models are often used for modelling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from different systems, with climate data representing a crucial input [2]. This work is performed as part...
Conference Paper
ABSTRACT The work presented here forms a part of larger SOLUM project, which uses (among others) the ECOSSE process-based biogeochemical model [1] to assess the soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and changes for Irish grasslands under different grassland management practices. Insights into current plans for upscaling of ECOSSE SOC predictions for Ir...
Article
Peatlands are an important terrestrial carbon store, but disturbance has resulted in the degradation of many peatland ecosystems and caused them to act as a net carbon source. Restoration work is being undertaken but monitoring the success of these schemes can be difficult and costly using traditional field-based methods. A landscape-scale alternat...
Article
Full-text available
In the case of the African continent, the estimates of most climate forcing components are associated with large uncertainties, above all the greenhouse gas budget. The EU-funded SEACRIFOG project is designing an observation network which aims at reducing these uncertainties. In this practice paper, we present the various steps towards the design o...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ABSTRACT Biogeochemical models are often used for assessing the dynamics and changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions [1], with atmospheric data representing crucial inputs [2]. This work is performed under larger EPA funded SOLUM project, which uses the ECOSSE process-based biogeochemical model for SOC modelli...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ABSTRACT Biogeochemical models applied for modelling the soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions require (among others) the atmospheric data inputs [1]. Such is the ECOSSE model used in a larger EPA funded SOLUM project [1], which in addition to climate data also requires the input of atmospheric nitrogen deposition (ND)...
Book
The book brings together papers covering the most recent scientific research from the top endophyte researchers in the world. It presents the state of the art in our knowledge and technical capacity and explores future directions of this work. It is highly relevant and timely because of the need to improve global food security and its sustainabilit...
Article
Full-text available
The net ecosystem exchange (NEE) and methane (CH4) flux were measured by chamber measurements for five distinct ecotypes (areas with unique eco-hydrological characteristics) at Abbeyleix Bog in the Irish midlands over a 2-year period. The ecotypes ranged from those with high-quality peat-forming vegetation to communities indicative of degraded, dra...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In line with the SEACRIFOG WP4 objective of improving technical harmonisation and data quality in environmental monitoring and experimentation, this report presents the requirements for observations of the essential variables identified by SEACRIFOG and derived data products. Existing observation infrastructures and data products are then assessed...
Article
Full-text available
There are many factors that influence ecosystem scale carbon, nitrogen and greenhouse gas dynamics, including the inherent heterogeneity of soils and vegetation, anthropogenic management interventions, and biotic and abiotic disturbance events. It is important therefore, to document the characteristics of the soils and vegetation and to accurately...
Article
Full-text available
The Integrated Carbon Observation System is a Pan-European distributed research infrastructure that has as its main goal to monitor the greenhouse gas balance of Europe. The ecosystem component of Integrated Carbon Observation System consists of a multitude of stations where the net greenhouse gas exchange is monitored continuously by eddy covarian...
Article
Full-text available
Research infrastructures play a key role in launching a new generation of integrated long-term, geographically distributed observation programmes designed to monitor climate change, better understand its impacts on global ecosystems, and evaluate possible mitigation and adaptation strategies. The pan-European Integrated Carbon Observation System co...
Article
Full-text available
The Integrated Carbon Observation System is a pan-European research infrastructure providing standardized, long-term observations of greenhouse gas concentrations and earth- atmosphere greenhouse gas interactions. The terrestrial component of Integrated Carbon Observation System comprises a network of monitoring stations in terrestrial ecosystems w...
Article
Reduced tillage and cover cropping are common measures to minimize leaching losses of nutrients from cropland soils. While the efficiency of these measures for reducing inorganic N leaching has been studied intensively, their effect on dissolved, organically-bound nitrogen (DON) remains unclear. In this study, leaching of nitrate, ammonium and DON...
Article
Full-text available
All major aspects of the carbon balance – net ecosystem exchange (NEE), CH4 flux, losses of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), and open water CO2 evasion – were measured for several distinct ecotypes in a restored unharvested raised bog and an adjacent historically abandoned cutover bog over a two year period. The...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In line with the SEACRIFOG WP4 objective of improving technical harmonisation and data quality in environmental monitoring and experimentation, this report presents ‘a minimal dataset of mandatory climatic parameters and ecological and land-use assessment criteria, together with an ‘ideal’ set of criteria’. The primary aim is to identify the essent...
Article
Full-text available
There is currently a lack of representative, systematic and harmonised greenhouse gas (GHG) observations covering the variety of natural and human-altered biomes that occur in Africa. This impedes the long-term assessment of the drivers of climate change, in addition to their impacts and feedback loops at the continental scale, but also limits our...
Article
The amount of carbon uptake by vegetation is an important component to understand the functioning of ecosystem processes and their response/feedback to climate. Recently, a new diagnostic model called the Southampton Carbon Flux (SCARF) Model driven by remote sensing data was developed to predict terrestrial gross primary productivity (GPP) and suc...
Poster
Full-text available
Climate and environmental change observation in Africa • Closing the Earth's energy balance and the carbon and water cycles through observations remain outstanding scientific issues that require high quality records of key variables [1] • In the case of the African continent, there are still large observational gaps, resulting in major uncertaintie...
Poster
Full-text available
Climate change is threatening ecosystems and societies in Africa. At the same time, population growth causing land-use change, increased energy demand and the development of industry and transport infrastructure contributes to increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is estimated that the majority of GHG emissions in Africa at present occur du...
Poster
Full-text available
Ecosystems and societies on the African continent are threatened by the consequences of climate change. Similarly, the continuing trend of population growth jointly occurring with rapid land-use change, increased energy demand and the development of industry and transport infrastructure contribute to increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and su...
Article
______________________________________________________________________________________ SUMMARY Northern peatlands are important in the global carbon (C) cycle as they help regulate local, regional and global C budgets through high atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake and low net CO2 losses to the atmosphere. Since the 1900s (but particularly the...
Article
Carbon (C) emissions from anthropogenic land use have accelerated climate change. To reduce C emissions, dynamic models can be used to assess the impact of human drivers on terrestrial C sequestration. Model accuracy requires correct initialisation, since incorrect initialisation can influence the results obtained. Therefore, we sought to improve t...
Article
Full-text available
Four of five people in sub-Saharan Africa rely on the traditional use of solid biomass, mainly fuelwood, for cooking. In some areas, the current rate of fuelwood consumption will exhaust biomass reserves within the next decade or two. A largely unrecognized source of biomass are tropical wetland ecosystems which have been shown to be some of the mo...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The vast majority of households in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) depend on wood energy - comprising firewood and charcoal - for their daily energetic needs. Such consumption trends are expected to remain a common feature of SSA's wood energy production and supply chains, at least in the short- to medium-terms. Notwithstanding its importance,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Whilst it has long been recognised that leaf level measurements of photosynthesis do not translate easily to the canopy scale, our ability to assess canopy scale fluxes has improved with the development of eddy covariance techniques, which measure the exchange of carbon dioxide between the vegetation and the atmosphere over large parcels of land. U...
Article
Full-text available
Yamulki and co-authors address in their recent publication the important issue of net emissions of green- house gases (GHGs) from peatlands where land use conversion has taken place. In their case, they studied conversion to forestry versus peatland restoration after a first rotation of plantation forestry. They monitored soil-derived fluxes of car...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical papyrus wetlands have the ability to assimilate and sequester significant amounts of carbon. However, the spatial extent, productivity and carbon sink strength associated with papyrus wetlands remains poorly characterised. The objective of this study was to collate information from peer-reviewed publications and relevant government and NGO...
Article
Full-text available
Yamulki and co-authors address in their recent publication the important issue of net emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from peatlands where land use conversion has taken place. In their case, they studied conversion to forestry versus peatland restoration after a first rotation of plantation forestry. They monitored soil-derived fluxes of carbo...
Article
The energy balance at most surface-atmosphere flux research sites remains unclosed. The mechanisms underlying the discrepancy between measured energy inputs and outputs across the global FLUXNET tower network are still under debate. Recent reviews have identified exchange processes and turbulent motions at large spatial and temporal scales in heter...
Article
Full-text available
The effects of climatic factors and vegetation type on evapotranspiration (E) and water use efficiency (WUE) were analyzed using tower-based eddy-covariance (EC) data of eleven African sites (22 site years) located across a continental-scale transect. The seasonal pattern of E was closely linked to growing-season length and rainfall distribution. A...
Article
Full-text available
In this study we report on water and carbon dioxide fluxes, measured using the eddy covariance (EC) technology, from different ecosystems in Sub-Saharan Africa. These sites differed in ecosystem type (C3 plant dominated woodlands to C4 plant dominated grass savannas) and covered the very dry regions of the Sahel (250 mm rainfall, Sudan), the tropic...
Article
Full-text available
Forest ecosystems represent a significant carbon store and play an important role in climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration. The impacts of land use change through afforestation on net ecosystem greenhouse gas emissions was investigated using a mobile eddy covariance tower to measure net ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange (NEE) toget...
Article
Metabolic theory and body size constraints on biomass production and decomposition suggest that differences in the intrinsic potential net ecosystem production (NEP(POT) ) should be small among contrasting C(3) grasslands and therefore unable to explain the wide range in the annual apparent net ecosystem production (NEP(APP) ) reported by previous...
Article
Full-text available
Commercial forest plantations need to be actively managed, through tree removal, in order to improve wood quality, maintain productivity and provide an economic return, although this could compromise an important role for forests in carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation. The impact of forest thinning on net primary productivity (NPP) a...
Article
a b s t r a c t Forest thinning influences soil processes by altering key microclimatic conditions, root density, micro-bial communities, organic matter turnover and nutrient budgets. It introduces a large pulse of harvest residues (brash) to the soil surface and can alter the balance between autotrophic and heterotrophic res-piration. This study d...