Samuel Eze

Samuel Eze

Why did you choose to study for a PhD at the University of Leeds?

I chose to study for a PhD at the University of Leeds because I found academic staff in the university who were interested in my initial PhD research proposal. As I was searching for potential supervisors for my PhD research, I found the profile of my supervisors (Dr Sheila Palmer and Professor Pippa Chapman) on the university’s website. I sent them my initial research proposal and they were happy to supervise the research. Because of the interest they showed in my proposed research, I had to cancel a fully-funded PhD scholarship I had in Australia in order to study at the University of Leeds. 

Tell us about your research

My research sought to improve understanding of the effects of land management activities and climate change on grassland carbon (C) uptake, soil C storage, and C losses. I investigated the effects of typical management regimes (conventional pasture and traditional hay meadow under agri-environment schemes) in the British upland grasslands and climate change on soil C dynamics. I employed different research approaches including systematic literature review and data modelling, C fractionation in the laboratory, C flux monitoring in the field and experimental climate manipulation in a controlled-environment facility. Results showed that the upland grasslands were a net atmospheric C sink, with significant amount of C stored in the soil. The conventional pasture site receiving inorganic nitrogen addition had the greatest C stock. However, experimental summer climate of late 21stCentury resulted in a significant decline in the C uptake of the grasslands. 

What is your favourite part of studying at Leeds?

My favourite part of studying at Leeds is having supervisors who were supportive even when it was difficult for me to continue my programme due to funding issues. I had difficulties with funding because of variation in the exchange rate of Naira (Nigerian currency). My supervisors were always supportive, ensuring that I was doing okay, and provided the encouragement I needed to continue.

What activities do you take part in outside of your studies?

I did not take part in any activities outside my studies. I just focused on my research.

What are your ambitions for the future?

My ambition for the future is to become well-established in the academia (doing research and teaching).

Any advice for prospective students?

My advice for prospective students is that they should always have positive attitude towards their research. Sometimes, comments from supervisors and reviewers may initially put them off (i.e. make them feel that their efforts and hard work are not been acknowledged). However, they should always remember that those comments are not negative but meant to help improve on the quality of their research work.