Successful research visit to Moscow State University on peatland ecosystems research

Successful research visit to Moscow State University on peatland ecosystems research

School of Geosciences members David Muirhead, Dmitri Mauquoy and Daniel Coathup recently visited Lomonosov Moscow State University to collaborate with colleagues in the Biology and Geology departments there. The research visit was funded by the British Council, 'UK-Russia, People to People Links Project'.

 

What is your research about? We use peat bog deposits to understand the links between peatland development, carbon sequestration, climate change and disturbance. Peatland ecosystems are globally important as they store two times more carbon than the global forest biomass, so they are a highly efficient nature-based solution to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. For peatland research, the Russian Federation is an important study area, as the largest peatlands in the world are located there.

How did this collaboration start? Dr. Dmitri Mauquoy has been working with Russian colleagues Prof. Yuri Mazei and Dr. Andrey Tsyganov since 2018. Yuri and Andrey have collected a series of peat profile samples from the Russian Federation, which has benefitted our research a lot due to the challenge of collecting sample given the restrictions during the pandemic.

What did you do during your research visit? During our stay, we discussed our future research plans with Yuri and Andrey and Daniel was trained in the analyses of testate amoebae (these are small organisms preserved in peat deposits). Our Russian colleagues have world-class expertise in the taxonomy of these organisms which are preserved in peat deposits. They are sensitive to changes in mire surface wetness (due to climate change) and disturbance, for example burning, which is a problem for peatlands across the Russian Federation.

During the fellowship, QUADRAT DTP student Daniel Coathup had the opportunity to attend the Second Russia–UK University Rectors Forum as a member of the British delegation. This led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Russian and UK universities, the launching of the UK-Russia Student’s Association, and a reception at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Moscow. Daniel also presented his research at GeoZven 2022, an international conference hosted by Lomonosov Moscow State University.

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