AXA Chair in Ecosystem Engineering and Microbial Ecology

Graeme nicol

Nationality British

Year of selection 2014

Institution Ecole Centrale de Lyon

Country France

Risk Environment


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The transformation of reactive nitrogen in the environment arguably represents the most anthropogenically impacted elemental biogeochemical cycle on Earth. As well as resulting in deleterious environmental consequences in terrestrial and aquatic systems, this dramatic increase in reactive nitrogen addition has concomitantly increased emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O), which contributes to global warming and stratospheric ozone depletion. The ultimate aim of this project is to increase our understanding of the mechanisms that link the activities of soil nitrifiers with ecosystem functions and using this information to inform and develop new strategies for fertiliser use and mitigation of pollution.
This application proposes the establishment of an AXA Chair in Ecosystem and Microbial Ecology to address these issues by developing a research programme that will elucidate the fundamental role of soil microbes to these processes. Specifically, it proposes the recruitment of an established international group leader, Dr Graeme Nicol, to the AXA Chair, which would build upon and develop his interests in ammonia oxidising archaea, a recently discovered but ubiquitous and abundant group of orgasms that contribute to nitrogen cycling in all aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

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