Dr Thomas Pugh

Dr Thomas Pugh

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Reader in Biosphere-Atmosphere Exchange

Contact details

Address
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

Tom Pugh is a scientist with a keen interest in interactions and feedbacks between the terrestrial biosphere and the global climate system, processes he investigates using powerful computer models. Read more about Tom's research at bioatmo.wordpress.com.

Qualifications

  • BSc (Hons) Environmental Science
  • PhD Environmental Science

Biography

Tom completed a PhD at Lancaster University studying the effects of tropical rainforests and oil palm plantations on tropospheric chemistry. He then carried out a postdoc at Lancaster investigating the interactions between plants and urban air pollution, before moving to IMK-IFU in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, where he broadened his horizons to work with global vegetation and climate models on questions of land-use change, forest mortality and food security. In 2016 he took up the position of Lecturer in GEES at Birmingham, where his work is closely linked with the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR).

Postgraduate supervision

Tom welcomes enquiries from students with interests in the interaction between terrestrial vegetation, biogeochemical cycles and climate. Please contact him at the email address above if you are interested in working with him on the following core topics, or more generally within this theme.

  • Interactions and feedbacks between climate change and forest mortality
  • CO2 fertilisation of vegetation and the global terrestrial carbon sink
  • Effects of biotic agents on forest vitality and biogeochemical cycling
  • How anthropogenic actions modify the structure and function of our forests 

Postdoctoral researchers:

Current Students:

  • Nezha Acil – Storm-related forest disturbances and influence on carbon cycling
  • Hector Carmargo Alvarez – Modelling the effect of ozone on crop yields in China
  • Yating Song (co-supervised) – Impact of habitat connectivity on biodiversity
  • Sijeh Asuk (co-supervised) – Phenology of tropical food-producing tree species
  • Joe Wayman (co-supervised) – Effect of anthropogenic drivers on biodiversity and community composition

Past students:

  • Andy Krause (co-supervised) - Climate change-land use change interactions with the terrestrial carbon cycle.

Research

Tom's research investigates the interactions and feedbacks between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere. His particular interests are:

  • Interactions and feedbacks between climate change and forest mortality, including ecosystem disturbances
  • CO2 fertilisation of vegetation and the global terrestrial carbon sink
  • Effects of environmental change and pollution on crop yields
  • How anthropogenic actions modify the structure and function of global forests

Tom is PI of the TreeMort project, which aims to improve our understanding of tree mortality across the globe

His primary tools for investigating these questions are computational models, particularly the dynamic global vegetation model LPJ-GUESS. In previous research he has used the Earth System Model EC-Earth, and outputs from ensembles of global climate models.

Tom has for several years been an active participant in the Global Gridded Crop Model Intercomparison, attempting to answer questions relating to how crop yields and water usage will develop under future climates. His current efforts here are particularly focused on disentangling the response of different crop models to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

He has also worked calculations of carbon emissions from land-use change, including how these are influenced by agriculture, by interactions between climate and society, and by spatial heterogeneities below the spatial resolution of global modelling studies. He continues to work on these questions as part of the pan-European LUC4C project.

Tom's research is explained in more detail in his research lab website: bioatmo.wordpress.com

Publications

Expertise

vegetation-climate interactions; terrestrial carbon cycle; tree mortality; climate impacts on forests/agriculture; carbon storage in ecosystems