Dr Sarah Batterman wins prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize for climate focused research
She was awarded for her research into tropical forests and their ability to sequester carbon emissions.
Dr Batterman, an Associate Professor in the School of Geography, received the Philip Leverhulme Prize, which is awarded to Early Career Researchers who have made significant advances in their research and show promise as leaders.
She and her collaborators discovered that tropical legume trees – which are related to beans and form a symbiotic relationship with bacteria – bring new nitrogen into tropical forests through a process called nitrogen fixation, and supply more than half of the nitrogen needed to support tropical forest recovery following deforestation.
Her research aims to deepen understanding of the role of soil nutrients and biodiversity of tree species in allowing tropical forests to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Tropical forest ecosystems can help counterbalance human carbon emissions, helping to slow climate change.
“The Philip Leverhulme Prize will enable me to expand my research to bridge fundamental gaps in our knowledge base about the plant-microbiome connection and how small scale relationships between plants and their microbial partners can stimulate forest recovery from disturbance and help tropical forests sequester more carbon,” said Dr Batterman.
The award... will enable some exciting research about biodiversity, soil nutrients and the tropical carbon sink, and the ability of tropical forests to offset human carbon emissions
“I am honoured to receive this award. It will enable some exciting research about biodiversity, soil nutrients and the tropical carbon sink, and the ability of tropical forests to offset human carbon emissions.”
Dr Batterman uses large-scale ecosystem experiments, field observations and modelling in her research.
Her work will inform policy makers, practitioners and the general public about the potential for carbon offsets in tropical regions, and how to build resilient forests to combat climate change.