I’m happy to join the Special group and glad Professor Sandy Harrison agreed to be my supervisor during my stay here at the University of Reading.

I currently work as an assistant professor at the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland, and for the next five months, I’ll be preparing a project proposal to be submitted under the ERC Starting Grant Programme scheme. My visit to the University of Reading is supported by the National Science Centre under the Uwertura 2 fellowship.

The ERC project proposal will be primarily focused on spatio-temporal dependences of wind disturbances in European forests with a thorough evaluation of their consequences to hillslope microrelief and soils due to tree uprooting. Tree uprooting (or windthrow in forestry nomenclature) is the process when a tree is overthrown by a strong wind and its root system is uplifted together with soil material attached to it. It is responsible for biotransport and soil mixing and in a long-term perspective, it influences denudation rates and soil development. I hope to heavily rely on SPECIAL group members’ knowledge and experience while writing the proposal and with a plan to build a long-term international cooperation between our institutions. Most importantly, I would like to benefit from the previous experience of the SPECIALs on how to use existing large data sets in a model building and predictions.

Diagram showing the concept of hillslope biomorphodynamics and how it can be affected by natural disturbances of forest ecosystems. All three components (climate change, forest dynamics and hillslope dynamics) can be linked but their specific mutual relationships require further testing.