Development and testing of a coupled vegetation / sediment-transport model for dryland environments

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Academic Profile

Jerome is a NERC-funded doctoral student in the School of Geography and the Environment. He holds a first-class BA (Hons) in Geography from the University of Oxford and an MPhil in Polar Studies from the University of Cambridge. Jerome's earlier research focused on coastal limestone environments in southern France, and glacial dynamics in western Greenland.

Prior to joining the DPhil programme, Jerome worked for an international sustainability consultancy, and as a researcher at the BBC and Channel 4. He has given several talks and lectures about Arctic research and academia in local schools.

Awards and Funding
  • 2015-2017 - Mann Senior Scholarship, Herford College (Oxford)
  • 2013-2017 - Natural Environmental Research Council Studentship
  • 2013-2016 - Graduate Scholarship, St Catherine's College (Oxford)
  • 2011-2012 - Derek Brewer MPhil Studentship, Emmanuel College (Cambridge)
  • 2011 - Gibbs Prize and H O Beckit Prize, University of Oxford
  • 2009-2011 - Undergraduate Scholarship, Worcester College (Oxford)

Current Research

Jerome is interested in the interactions between vegetation and wind in semi-arid deserts, and how complex vegetation patterns affect the movement of sediment across a desert surface.

Distinctive vegetation patterns (e.g. 'spots' and 'stripes') occur in most drylands, likely emerging from competition and facilitation between individual plants. Recognisable pattern sequences are thought to result from human- and climate-induced stress, but relatively little is known about the impact of these pattern variations on wind profiles, and therefore on sand erosion and transport. This knowledge gap must be addressed given the significant changes in climate and land use that are predicted to occur over the 21st century.

Jerome's DPhil project combines fieldwork in southern Africa with modelling techniques, in order to address the linkages between vegetation patterning, wind and sediment movement. The model he develops will hopefully improve our understanding of the potential for future desertification in socio-economically vulnerable regions around the world.

Measuring turbulence downwind of a shrub in the Kalahari Desert, Namibia

Fig. 1 - Measuring turbulence downwind of a shrub in the Kalahari Desert, Namibia.

Long-term wind monitoring station in the southern Namib Desert, Namibia

Fig. 2 - Long-term wind monitoring station in the southern Namib Desert, Namibia.

Aerial 3D survey of barchan dunes in the Skeleton Coast, Namibia, using a low-cost UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)

Fig. 3 - Aerial 3D survey of barchan dunes in the Skeleton Coast, Namibia, using a low-cost UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle).

Current Teaching

Jerome is a Stipendiary College Lecturer at Keble College, delivering the Prelims Geomorphology tutorial programme for undergraduate students. Jerome has assisted on undergraduate fieldtrips to Tenerife, and is an active member of the Oxford Rock Breakdown Laboratory.

Publications

Journal Articles

Conference Poster

  • Willis, I., Arnold, N., Banwell, A. and Mayaud, J. (2012) Modelling the seasonal evolution of supraglacial lakes on the Greenland ice sheet during the 21st Century. International Glaciological Society 2012 Conference, Fairbanks, Alaska [POSTER].