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Rachael Turton BSc MPhil PhD

Rachael Turton BSc MPhil PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

I am an ecologist with experience in land surface processes within global climate models, focusing on climate-vegetation interactions in the Arctic.



  • August 2018 to present: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge and British Antarctic Survey.
  • July 2017 to August 2018: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.


  • PhD: The impact of the radiation balance on snowmelt in a sparse deciduous birch forest. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford and School of GeoSciences, Edinburgh University, Funded by Centre for Ecology and Hydrology's Biogeochemistry programme.
  • MPhil: Measuring and modelling the effects of particulate deposition on plant function. Biological Sciences, Durham University. Funded by external collaborator.
  • BSc (Hons) Ecology: Biological Sciences, Durham University.


My current research at the Scott Polar Research Institute is focussed on understanding the climate vegetation interactions of the Russian boreal treeline. Using high resolution aerial images to examine recent changes in the structure, function and position of the boreal treeline.

I work on a British Council funded project jointly between the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University with Gareth Rees and Gareth Marshall at the British Antarctic Survey in Polar Climate and Prediction group, part of the Atmosphere, Ice and Climate team.

My previous research (July 2017 to August 2018, Department of Geography) was focussed on developing growth processes in the vegetation model HYBRID. I tested and developed a new version of the HYBRID model to address the carbon source-sink debate through improved representations of plant growth processes. I was a NERC-funded Research Associate working with Andrew Friend on the joint NERC NSF funded project: Addressing the plant growth carbon source-sink debate through observations, experiments, and modelling.


My research interest is using land surface models to improve our understanding of biosphere-atmosphere interactions in the Earth system. I have a background in ecology with field and modelling experience in Arctic ecosystems, with particular emphasis on snow-vegetation interactions.

I am experienced in developing and using land surface models to improve our understanding of fluxes of energy, carbon, and water across the land surface, how they may be modified with projected environmental change, and the potential feedbacks to the Earth system.


[Publications will load here automatically from the University's publications database...]


Queens' College

Teaching Associate for Geography since 2018.

Cambridge University: Geography undergraduates

  • Part IB lecturer, supervisor and demonstrator: Biogeography since 2017/18
  • Part IB Field course demonstrator: Tenerife.
  • Part IA supervisor: Life on Earth, Atmospheres and Cryosphere since 2017/18.
  • Part IA demonstrator: Geographical Skills and Methods since 2017/18.

Cambridge University: Natural Sciences undergraduates

  • Part II Ecology and Global Change supervisor 2017/18.

Edinburgh University: GeoScience undergraduates

  • Demonstrator to first year students on Principles of Ecology, Hermitage of Braid nature reserve, twelve-week research project.

Durham University: Ecology, Plant Science and Zoology undergraduate students

  • Tutor and demonstrator to first, second, and third year students.

External activities

  • European Geosciences Union (member)

Outreach activities

  • Cambridge Science Festival, University of Cambridge, March 2018, Making Sense of the World: A Polar sensory adventure at the Scott Polar Research Institute.
  • Fun Lab, The Big Weekend, Cambridge, July 2018 Auroras with the Polar Museum, SPRI.
  • Geography Sutton Trust Summer School 2018