Dr Donatella Zona

School of Biosciences

Senior Research Fellow


Full contact details

Dr Donatella Zona
School of Biosciences
Alfred Denny Building
Western Bank
S10 2TN
  • Senior Research Fellow, School of Biosciences, University of Sheffield, UK (January 2017-present)
  • Research fellow & lecturer, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK (2012-2017)
  • Assistant Professor, San Diego State University, CA, USA (2015-present)
  • Adjunct Professor, San Diego State University, CA, USA (2011-2015)
  • Associate on Agricultural Experiment Station, University of California, Davis, USA (2011-2012)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Research Group of Plant and Vegetation Ecology, University of Antwerp, Belgium (2009-2012) and Marie Curie Fellow (September 2010-September 2012)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, CSTAR, University of California, Davis, USA (2009)
  • PhD in Ecology, University of California, Davis, USA (2009)
  • Exchange Scholar in San Diego State University, USA (2005)
  • Postgraduate Researcher, Department of Air Pollution, National Research Council, Rome, Italy (2004)
  • Laurea in Natural Science (110 with honor), University of Rome 'La Sapienza', Italy (2004)
Research interests

My background integrates the study of the functioning of a variety of ecosystems, natural (arctic tundra) and managed (oak forest, agro-ecosystems). I am particularly interested in the patterns and controls on non-CO2 gasses such as O3, CH4, N2O fluxes, whose emissions are very difficult to measure and model.

My main research emphasizes the impact of climate change on biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and greenhouse gas emission (CO2 and CH4) in the Arctic.

My interest ranges from the mechanisms allowing tundra ecosystems to adjust or avoid environmental stress and how climate change affects ecosystem functioning to the importance and the challenges of integrating different scales and approaches to understand the patterns and controls on CO2 and CH4 fluxes in the Arctic.


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All publications

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

  • De Santis F, Pasini A, Bellagotti R, Vichi F, Zona D & Allegrini I (2005) A study on tropospheric ozone concentration near an oil refinery at Falconara, Italy. Air Pollution XIII, Vol. 82 (pp 391-400) RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

PhD students

  • Scott Davidson
  • Magdalena J Matysek
  • Kassandra Reuss-Schmidt
Teaching activities


  • APS124 - Ecosystems, Climate and Environmental Change (co-teaching with Dr Gareth Phoenix)
  • APS402 - Level 4 Research Dissertation
  • APS406 - Level 4 Research Project
  • APS330 - Level 3 Research Project
  • APS331 - Level 3 Research Dissertation
  • APS222 - Level 2 Animal and Plant Science - Tutorials
  • APS135 - Level 1 Skills for Biologists 1 - Tutorials
Professional activities and memberships
  • Convener for the 5th iLEAPS Science Conference, in Oxford, UK (11-14 September 2017)
  • Organizing committee NERC Arctic Conference, held in Sheffield, UK, September 2015
  • Scientific committee of iLEAPS (intergrated Land Ecosystem - Atmosphere Process Study, 2014-present) www.ileaps.org
  • Work package 2 Leader of the COST Action (ES0804 BE) Advancing the Integrated Monitoring of Trace Gas Exchange between Biosphere and Atmosphere (Work towards comprehensive multi-species flux monitoring sites, 2011-2013)
  • Guest Editor and organizer of the Special issue in Biogeosciences (2012-2014) 'Towards a full GHG balance of the biosphere' and in (2011-2012) 'Understanding the imapcts of hydrological changes on terrestrial ecosystems: results from water manipulation experiments across different biomes'
  • Convener and organizer of the EGU session: 2015 convener: 'Understanding CO2 and CH4 fluxes from WETLANDS: reducing the gap between experimentalists and modellers'. 2014 co-convener: 'Towards a full greenhouse gas balance of the biosphere (terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems)', 2012 convener 'Towards a full GHG balance from the biosphere. How important are N2O and CH4 emissions in different ecosystems? How difficult is it to measure and model their emission?' (Co-conveners: K. Pilegaard, T. Vesala); 2010 convener: 'Understanding the impacts of hydrological changes on terrestrial ecosystems: results from large-scale water manipulation experiments across different biomes' (Co-conveners: L. Misson, W.C. Oechel)
  • Reviewer for Biogeosciences, Global Change Biology, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Annals of Forestry, Journal of Geophysical Research, Ecosystems, Polar science, Polar Biology, Arctic Antarctic and Alpine Reseach; reviewer for NSF-Arctic science, and for NERC, and NERC Arctic Research Programme.
  • Member of British Ecological Society (BES), Ecological Society of America (ESA), European Geosciences Union (EGU), American Geophysical Union (AGU)

Invited lectures

  • San Diego State University, Discovery Slam 'Ecosystem functioning and impact of climate change on ecosystems' (February 2017)
  • San Diego State University, Geography colloquium series 'Climate change in the Arctic: lessons learned and new challenges' (February 2017)
  • Point Loma Nazarene University, 19th Annual Perspectives on Science Lecture/Dinner Series, 'Why study climate change in the Arctic?' (February 2017)
  • American Geophysical Union: Liljedahl A.K, […] D. Zona. Recent circum-Arctic ice-wedge degradation and its hydrological impacts, #143778 (December 2016)
  • University of Sheffield, Departmental Seminar 'Importance and challenges of doing research in the Arctic' (March 2014)
  • University of Freiburg, Germany 'Importance and challenges of doing research in the Arctic' (February 2014)
  • University of Leicester (invited by Professor S. Page) 'Impact of climate change on greenhouse gas emissions in the Arctic: challenges and opportunities' (March 2014)
  • Royal Society International Seminar (invited by Professor H. Balzter) 'Challenges in scaling CH4 fluxes from chamber and eddy flux data to the global scale' (December 2013)
  • Max Planck, Biogeochemistry, Jena (invited by Dr M. Heimann) 'Climate change and greenhouse gas emission from Arctic tundra ecosystems, what can we learn by integrating multiple scales and approaches?' (October 2012).
  • University of Helsinki (invited by Professor T. Vesala) 'Impact of Climate Change on ecosystem functioning and GHG emission in Arctic tundra across multiple scales' (September 2012)
  • ETH Zurich, 'Impact of climate variability and change in water table on N2O fluxes in a poplar plantation in Western Europe'
  • FLAIR 2011 - Field Laser Applications in Industry and Research - Murnau, Germany, 'Towards multi-species flux monitoring site: fields measurements using CH4 and N2O analyzers' (September 2011)
  • GHG-Europe Workshop: Land use change for Bio-energy production, Dublin, Ireland 'GHG-balance of a fast growing bio-energy system' (October 2010)
  • Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting (August 2009) 'The consequence of the change in hydrology on CO2 fluxes in the Arctic tundra: results from the first large-scale water table manipulation experiment in the Alaskan arctic tundra'. Nature News (see www.nature.com/news/2009/090804/full/news.2009.778.html).