Danielle Alderson

Danielle Alderson


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Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests cover terrestrial carbon redistribution, cycling and storage from upland landscapes, particularly eroding organic catchments such as blanket bog peatlands in the UK. I specialise in assessing organic matter quality in addition to quantity, using a combination of geomorphological, organic biogeochemical techniques and radiocarbon dating to assess floodplain carbon storage in upland catchments.

Floodplains are important and understudied components of the global carbon cycle. They have the capacity to actively store and process organic matter and are areas where human actions and natural processes commonly overlap. Floodplain management may have substantial implications (often detrimental) for carbon dynamics and therefore floodplains have become a focus of restoration work, as evidence of their provision of beneficial ecosystem services has expanded, together with understanding that management may enhance these benefits. Key to understanding the tipping points between carbon storage and release in floodplains and, consequently their wider role as a key feature of carbon cycling in the Anthropocene is research on the controls of carbon preservation potential.

I also have a number of years of experience working with stakeholders in peatland restoration projects and monitoring beneficial ecosystem service outcomes.

Current and recent research projects

2022-2023: Restoring Steep Bare Peat. Funded by National Trust. Co-I.

2021-2025: Yorkshire Peat Partnership Nature for Climate Peatland Restoration. Funded by Natural England. Academic Co-I

2019-present: Assessing the source of carbon respired from stored floodplain organic matter downstream of headwater eroding peatlands. Radiocarbon Analysis Allocation Award from NERC. Co-I 

Professional activities and awards

2020: Research Staff of the Year 2019/2020 winner, Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester.

2020: Highly commended in Best Outstanding Output by Research Staff, Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester.

2015-2017: Deputy Chair and Chair of Postgraduate Forum for the British Society for Geomorphology

2013: Recipient of the Eric Hardy memorial prize; awarded to an undergraduate or postgraduate student at the University of Liverpool for excellence in an investigative project in North West England or North Wales.

2012: Recipient of the undergraduate Humboldt prize in Geography; for the candidate who shows the greatest merit.


Education and Career

2018-present: Research Associate, Department of Geography, University of Manchester. Research-focused position executing high quality research related to floodplain and peatland carbon dynamics and restoration of ecosystems.

2013-2017: Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Geography, University of Manchester. Teaching focussed position in the Department of Geography at the University of Manchester whilst completing PhD.                      

2013-2017: PhD, Department of Geography, University of Manchester. Thesis title: ‘The fate of carbon in upland floodplain sediments: a combined biogeochemical and geomorphological approach’

2012-2013: MSc Environment and Climate Change (Distinction), Department of Geography and Planning, University of Liverpool. Dissertation: The organic carbon dynamics of two lakes from the UK Acid Waters Monitoring Network’

2009-2012: BSc Geography (First Class Honours), Department of Geography and Planning, University of Liverpool. Dissertation:Reconstruction of historic and pre-historic mining in mid-Cheshire using lake geochemical records’

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Member of the European Geosciences Union

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, The fate of carbon in upland floodplain sediments: a combined biogeochemical and geomorphological approach’, The University of Manchester

Sept 2013Sept 2017

Master of Science, Environment and Climate Change, University of Liverpool

Sept 2012Sept 2013

Bachelor of Science, Geography, University of Liverpool

Sept 2009Sept 2012


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