Understanding the fate and response of soil carbon to climate change in the Arctic

Magdalena Matysek

Climate change is responsible for rising temperatures in high latitude areas, in particular the Arctic circle. This causes permafrost to thaw and water to drain from Arctic peatlands and creates favourable conditions for microorganisms to thrive. These microorganisms then decompose soil organic materials which, in turn, produce higher carbon dioxide emissions.

This project will measure emissions of two greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), and find the factors that influence them, such as the temperature of peat soil, water content, acidity and the depth of the permafrost. Greenhouse gas measurements will be taken using a field infra-red gas analyser and the project will deepen our understanding of how carbon is lost from Arctic peats as the climate changes.


Magdalena has published a paper that attempts to find a water table level that would balance peat preservation and crop yield for agricultural fen peat.

Impact of fertiliser, water table, and warming on celery yield and CO2 and CH4 emissions from fenland agricultural peat.‘ 



Dr Donatella Zona

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences


Jonathan Leake

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences