Swansea University geography researcher awarded prestigious Royal Society Research Fellowship

Dr Jacqueline Rosette, Geography researcher at Swansea University, has been rewarded by the Royal Society with a University Research Fellowship

Jacqueline recently worked at NASA on carbon assessment in the USA and seasonal effects in the Amazon, and at Forest Research Northern Research Station on methods to improve our ability to monitor the UK’s public forests.

Dr Rosette specialises in research involving the assessment of forest ecosystems using satellite and airborne remote sensing. In particular she uses lidar, a technology which captures a vertical profile of the forest canopy.  This can be related to important parameters such as the amount of carbon stored and can help to answer questions regarding changes to our forests in response to climate change, human or natural disturbance.

AmazonJacqueline spent 2 years at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center working on the Carbon Monitoring System, a US Congress-directed initiative which aims to develop a protocol for estimating forest carbon using a combination of remote sensing and field assessment.

Her research also included the application of a computer simulation model, developed by Professor Peter North at Swansea University, to investigate a question which has long been puzzling scientists regarding an apparent ‘greening’ of the Amazon during its annual dry season. The analysis demonstrated that this can be explained by the effects of shadowing within the forest canopy and the relative positions of the sun and satellite sensor, rather than a greening of the forest itself.

The research, led by NASA colleagues, was published in the scientific journal Nature. The findings will help scientists to develop a more accurate picture of changes in the Amazon, which is more important now than ever, given the enormous role that the Amazon plays in regulating carbon dioxide, and influencing climate change.

In addition, Dr Rosette works in close collaboration with Forest Research, research agency of the UK Forestry Commission. This involves investigating the use of remote sensing to complement and enhance traditional survey techniques in the UK and to improve our knowledge of the processes at work in our forests.  Events over recent years have raised awareness of their vulnerability to pests and diseases, and to devastating storm damage. This partnership provides information which can enable better understanding of these risks, their effects and for protection and effective management of these important natural resources.

Jackie RosetteJacqueline is one of only 43 new University Research Fellows (URF) appointed for 2014. Swansea University is the only University in Wales to have an academic awarded a URF in 2014 competing with top Russell Group Universities.

Speaking about her award Jacqueline said: “It is a great honour to receive this research Fellowship from the Royal Society. Over the coming five years, the project aims to advance our capabilities for assessing forests and observing changes to their extent, growth and well-being.  I am also in the exciting position to explore the potential of cutting edge technology.  I am privileged to collaborate with expert scientists at Swansea University, NASA and Forest Research.  The University Research Fellowship provides an invaluable opportunity to help to address some of the important questions which remain about our planet’s forest ecosystems.”

Jacqueline joins two of her Swansea University colleagues on the recent Royal Society “honours” list. Last month, the Royal Society announced awards for two other Swansea University academics; Professor Tavi Murray, also from the Geography Department, and Dr Sophie Schirmer from the Physics Department who were awarded Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowships. Their success adds to the recognition of scientists at the University Geography Department including Emilia Urbanek, who received the Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship in 2012.

The University Research Fellowship scheme aims to provide outstanding scientists, who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields, with the opportunity to build an independent research career.

The newly appointed URFs were selected from candidates carrying out research in the full breadth of life and physical sciences. The scheme is extremely competitive and URFs are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships. The full list of appointments can be found on the Royal Society website at https://royalsociety.org/news/2014/university-research-fellowships

Please credit the Amazon satellite picture to  NASA's Earth Observatory.

 For more information about the Royal Society and its awards go to https://royalsociety.org 

For more information about the Swansea University research work with NASA concerning the Amazon and climate change go to http://www.swansea.ac.uk/science/news/theamazonandclimatechange-swansearesearchwithnasa.php and http://www.swansea.ac.uk/media/Momentum%20issue%2015.pdf

For more information about the Department of Geography at Swansea University go to http://www.swansea.ac.uk/geography

This story has also been reported in:

News Wales: http://www.newswales.co.uk/index.cfm?section=Education&F=1&id=27823

Bids Info reports that Dr Jacqueline Rosette, Swansea University geography researcher, has been rewarded by the Royal Society with a University Research Fellowship. (no link)