Lauren first joined the School as an undergraduate in 2002 and completed her BSc (Hons) in Geography in 2005. After completing a PhD in Exeter, Lauren rejoined the School as a researcher in early 2011.
My motivation for a career in research comes from my enjoyment of geography. From a young age, I was always fascinated by the environments around me and I wanted to know how they worked. This interest has never left me and I saw a career in geographical research as the natural way to fulfil my curiosity!
I am currently involved in a number of research projects which investigate the impact of management and restoration on peatland ecosystem services. At present, I am using remote sensing, geographical information systems and field data to establish the impact of vegetation and peat coverage on water quality.
As part of my PhD I developed a methodology which enables the quantification of blanket peatland carbon stocks at a scale usable by land managers. The technique was designed to be easily transferable to other blanket peatlands. Attention from government agencies and non-governmental organisations since has shown the research to be of use in the real world and therefore I would consider it to be my most important finding.
I have always had an interest in applied research, particularly where my work develops tools for land managers and allows for justifiable management decisions. Therefore I was delighted when there was interest in my carbon inventory methodology, as I felt I had achieved what I initially set out to do.
Research is an all absorbing career and requires a lot of dedication; because of this a passion for your field is essential. So my advice would be to thoroughly investigate all your options before you make a final decision on which field to study. Making the right decision will help give you the enthusiasm and tenacity required to succeed in research.
Most people ask me why my research is important and how it might be used. As a peatland scientist, I tend to explain that peatlands are globally valuable environments, for instance they store large quantities of carbon and provide a number of unique ecosystems, and because of this we need to understand how peatlands function and how they may respond to environmental change.
I very much fulfil the stereotype of a physical geographer and enjoy being in the great outdoors. I spend much of my spare time walking, riding my bike and occasionally climbing. I am also partial to a few of Yorkshire’s finest real ales whilst camping with friends!
For more on Lauren's research and publications visit her homepage