Silicates in the mycorrhizosphere:
modelling the effect of plant evolution on weathering and carbon cycling

Lyla Taylor

Prof. D.J. Beerling
Prof. S.A. Banwart

Supported by:
University of Sheffield
Hossein Farmy Scholarship

As you can see from the title, my project is highly interdisciplinary; fortunately, I have a rather interdisciplinary background.   I worked as a research assistant and computer programmer for a number of years before deciding to follow a childhood dream of studying palaeontology.  I am American, but had already been working as a programmer in Norway for several years when I enrolled at the University of Oslo to study geology (with emphasis in palaeotology).  Since I was interested in palaeobotany, I made a point of including basic biology and botany courses.  Unfortunately, there was no palaeobotanist on the staff during my tenure there, but I have managed to teach myself a few things about the subject. I had some further opportunities to teach myself something about how modern plants cope with stressful environments when I put together a field guide (to plants growing at a particular location in Mallorca) and some web pages for geography students from Queens University of Belfast, where my husband is a professor.   These experiences have made it a bit easier to understand what my colleagues are doing in the Animal and Plant Sciences department.

 I began my PhD in October 2007.  It involves computer modelling of both the carbon cycle and the chemistry of weathering.  I don't get to do any experiments or fieldwork, but am always keen to find ways to sneak plants into my project!

More details can be found by following these links:
The carbon cycle 

The GEOCARB model
Plant evolution
How plants affect weathering