Dr Alona Armstrong

Faculty Fellow - Energy Lancaster

Alona is a terrestrial carbon cycling scientist, working at the interface of biochemistry, hydrology and ecology. Predominantly a field scientist, but is also seen in the laboratory and sat behind a desk doing some modelling. Her research spans from furthering understanding of the controls on soil erosion and terrestrial carbon cycling to the effects of land management. More recently, Alona has focused on the effects of hosting land-based renewables on terrestrial carbon cycling.

 

One of Alona’s current projects examines the effects of wind turbines on the microclimate and the implications for peatland carbon cycling. Since spending many days getting cold and wet on a peat bog, her new focus has shifted to the sunnier climes of solar parks. Within this research she is establishing the microclimatic effects of solar arrays and the subsequent changes in soil conditions and carbon cycling, including the potential to double crop food and energy. This research takes a positive approach – how can we deploy renewables in our landscape for maximum benefit?

 

You can read one of her recent papers on the effect of terrestrial renewables on the microclimate and carbon cycling here:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12437/pdf

 

She’s also written a piece on the concept behind some of her research for The Guardian Sustainable Business section, which can be found here:

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/solar-power-parks-impact-environment-soil-plants-climate

 

Alona is a member of Energy Lancaster, and the LEC Ecology and Conservation and Soil and Water research groupings.

 

Roles

Alona is LEC's policy interaction officer. Within this role she is working to increase the dissemination of LEC research into policy, primarily through the House of Commons.

 

Teaching

As a research fellow, Alona's main focus is on research. However, she supervises undergraduate and masters dissertation students, and is currently designing two undergraduate modules with a focus on energy. These modules will come on line in 2015, extending existing teaching in LEC focused on the ‘grand challenge’ of affordable, secure and low carbon energy provision for all.