Dr Jessica Davies

Senior Research Associate

Research Overview

Jessica is an environmental systems modeller. She develops computer simulations to explore and predict ecosystem processes. Her work crosses hydrology, biogeochemistry and soil sciences, and crosses scales: from in-depth water flows and solute movement through preferential features in slopes and catchments, up to broad-scale erosion and nutrient cycling applied to the whole of the UK for the last 200 years.

Her current research contributes to the Long-Term Large-Scale NERC Macronutrients project (ww.ltls.org.uk) where the aim is to account for observable terrestrial and aquatic pools, concentrations and fluxes of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus (C, N, and P) in the UK using broad-brush integrated modelling analysis, and use this information to understand the future consequences for freshwater quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity.

Prior to this she worked with Professor Keith Beven developing the Multiple Interacting Pathways model – a novel approach to modelling water flow and transport using random particle tracking techniques. This model was applied to experimental data at the plot and catchment scale and was found to be a useful tool for testing process understanding, you can find out more about this work here:



Generally, she is interested in how the world works, how complexity shapes environmental and socio-economical systems, and how we can improve our understanding and management of our environment through systems modelling.

Specific current interests include:

  • Integrated effects of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c76x5yEkK_c)
  • Phosphorus weathering
  • The role of nutrient cycling in peatland function
  • Grazing as a driver of erosion
  • Non-linearities in hydrological response i.e. storage-discharge-travel time relationships

She is also interested in application of the following techniques and tools:

  • Model sensitivity and uncertainty analysis
  • Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) scientific programming
  • Data visualisation for communicating complex model outputs
  • Modern and classical control; state estimation; multi-agent systems; and model order reduction

Multi-agent control of high redundancy actuation
Davies, J., Dixon, R., Goodall, R.M., Steffen, T. 1/02/2014 In: International Journal of Automation and Computing. 11, 1, p. 1-9. 9 p.
Journal article

Atmospheric deposition of phosphorus to land and freshwater
Tipping, E., Benham, S., Boyle, J., Crow, P., Davies, J., Fischer, U., Guyatt, H., Helliwell, R., Jackson-Blake, L., Lawlor, A.J., Monteith, D., Rowe, E., Toberman, H. 2014 In: Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts. 16, p. 1608-1617. 10 p.
Journal article

Integrated modeling of flow and residence times at the catchment scale with multiple interacting pathways
Davies, J., Beven, K., Rodhe, A., Nyberg, L., Bishop, K. 08/2013 In: Water Resources Research. 49, 8, p. 4738-4750. 13 p.
Journal article

Comparison of a Multiple Interacting Pathways model with a classical kinematic wave subsurface flow solution
Davies, J., Beven, K. 2012 In: Hydrological Sciences Journal. 57, 2, p. 203-216. 14 p.
Journal article

A discrete particle representation of hillslope hydrology: hypothesis testing in reproducing a tracer experiment at Gardsjon, Sweden
Davies, J., Beven, K., Nyberg, L., Rodhe, A. 15/11/2011 In: Hydrological Processes. 25, 23, p. 3602-3612. 11 p.
Journal article

Catchment travel time distributions and water flow in soils
Rinaldo, A., Beven, K., Bertuzzo, E., Nicotina, L., Davies, J., Fiori, A., Rosso, D., Botter, G. 20/07/2011 In: Water Resources Research. 47, 13 p.
Journal article

Modelling, control and monitoring of high redundancy actuation
Davies, J. 1/06/2010 Loughborough University. 301 p.
Doctoral Thesis

Fault Detection in High Redundancy Actuation Using an Interacting Multiple-Model Approach
Davies, J., Tsunashima, H., Goodall, R.M., Dixon, R., Steffen, T. 30/06/2009 In: Fault Detection, Supervision and Safety of Technical Processes. IFAC p. 1228-1233. 6 p.

Modelling of high redundancy actuation utilising multiple moving coil actuators
Davies, J., Steffen, T., Dixon, R., Goodall, R.M., Zolotas, A., Pearson, J. 6/07/2008 In: Proceedings of the 17th IFAC World Congress, 2008. IFAC p. 3228-3233. 6 p.