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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Dr. Ian Boothroyd

Research Assistant in the Department of Earth Sciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42356
Room number: ES235

Contact Dr. Ian Boothroyd (email at


2014-Ongoing Post-Doctoral Researcher, Durham University

2010-2014 PhD, Durham University
2008-2010 Environment Agency, Flood Risk Management
2006-2007 MSc Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Reconstruction (Distinction) University of Manchester
2003-2006 BSc Geography (1st Class) University of Manchester

PhD Thesis

How does hillslope position control carbon fluxes from peat soils

Peatlands are the UK's single largest store of terrestrial carbon yet understanding the balance of carbon and greenhouse gases from this vital store is still in its infancy. A number of studies have been able to measure complete budgets for peat environments; a number of models have been developed and studies on the impact of management, vegetation and altitude are ongoing. However, one factor that is easy to map across a landscape yet has been ignored so far in studies of peat carbon is slope position. Emphasis has been placed upon altitude as it controls the climate experienced by the peat, but slope position controls water table and flowpath. 

This project hypothesizes that slope position represents a significant control upon carbon fluxes within peat soils. Such a significant contribution that will lead to enhanced carbon and greenhouse gas budget models. 

The project will seek to quantify and understand the impact of slope position upon carbon flux pathways and thus complete carbon budgets of peat soils. Specifically, the project will:

  • Measure carbon fluxes in duplicated sites across a range of slope position types, e.g. watersheds vs. accumulating areas,
  • Assess changes in proportions of flowpaths down a slope transect and consequences for carbon fluxes
  • Quantify impacts of old and new water flows across the slope for positions of equilibrium
  • Include findings in carbon and GHG models in order to assess large-scale effects of slope position.

Post-doctoral research

Much of my post-doctoral research has focused upon investigating the potential impact of the hydraulic fracking industry upon the environment in the UK. My work looks at fugitive methane emissions from the natural gas supply chain and has assessed natural migration of methane along faults in hydrocarbon basins, natural gas production emissions, transmission emissions and the impact of oil and gas well integrity following decommissioning of a well.

Research Interests

Carbon flux of peatland vegetation and soil water
Upland hydrology
Water quality
Climate change
Fugitive methane emissions
Hydraulic fracturing
Air quality

Research Groups


Journal Article