Dr Jessica Davies

Lecturer in Sustainability

Research Overview

Jess is a control systems engineer and environmental scientist who is fascinated by the complexity of our natural world and our relationship with it as a society. These aspects come together in her research where she develops computer models of the environment to help make sense of this complexity, and works with corporations and policy makers to embed science into sustainable decision-making.

Jess joined the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business as a lecturer in sustainability in 2015. In 2016 she was awarded an EPSRC Living with Environmental Change Early Career Fellowship.

Current Research

Her current research focuses on sustainable soils and land-use. Improving our understanding of soil sustainability and our management of soils is critical to meeting society’s needs for food and water, for protecting communities from floods and droughts, for supporting our natural environment and regulating climate. Jess’s research aims to advance our scientific understanding of how land use change, soil degradation and altered nutrient cycles influence the sustainability of soils and the multiple services they provide.

In her EPSRC Living With Environmental Change Fellowship Jess mixes engineering and environmental science to on further our understanding of soils as a critical infrastructure that supports our societies: providing us with food, filtering and buffering flows of water, and regulating the carbon cycle. We need to better understand the value of this infrastructure to society and it's resilience to changing management and climate.

Sustainable soils and business

Jess is interested in working with corporations and policy makers to co-design more sustainable solutions for businesses, societies and our planet. Businesses are key actors in soil management: agricultural industries directly influence soil, but many major corporations indirectly influence soils through acquisition of raw materials in their supply chains. How supply chains influence soil sustainability and its links to food, water, climate and ecosystems is a complex and critical knowledge gap for science, business and governance.

Background

Prior to joining the Pentland Centre, Jess was a researcher in Lancaster Environment Centre and a visiting researcher at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Her research contributed to the Long-Term Large-Scale NERC Macronutrients project, where she collaborated with atmospheric scientists, biogeochemists, ecologists, limnologists, hydrologists, and soil scientists to create an integrated model of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles to simulate the effects of the last 200 years of industrialisation, agricultural intensification, and urbanisation on the UK’s atmosphere-plants-soil-water systems. She also 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. Jess has a PhD in Control Systems Engineering attained at Loughborough University, and she is interested in applying control theory and multi-agent concepts to environmental problems.

Selected Publications Show all 13 publications

150 years of macronutrient change in unfertilized UK ecosystems: observations vs simulations
Davies, J., Tipping, E., Whitmore, A. 1/12/2016 In: Science of the Total Environment. 572, p. 1485-1495. 11 p.
Journal article

Long-term P weathering and recent N deposition control contemporary plant-soil C, N, and P
Davies, J.A.C., Tipping, E., Rowe, E.C., Boyle, J.F., Graf Pannatier, E., Martinsen, V. 20/02/2016 In: Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 30, 2, p. 231-249. 19 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. 5/08/2013 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