New approaches to assess the health of our soils

Nothingham University

United Kingdom

October 31, 2021

Description

New approaches to assess the health of our soils

Reference

SCI2035

Closing Date

Sunday, 31st October 2021

Department

Biosciences

Supervisor: Sacha Mooney

Subject Area:Soil Science

Research Description

Our soils have been degraded at alarming rates in recent decades. There is increased understanding and recognition that restoring and maintaining the health of our soils is an urgent priority in both attempts to improve food security and to mitigate the consequences of climate change. One approach that is gathering significant momentum called ‘Regenerative Agriculture' (RA) could hold the key. RA seeks to reverse the impacts of soil degradation through replenishing soil organic matter levels, reducing cultivation activities and enhancing biodiversity and soil health through strategic crop rotation. Recent research suggests the subtle interactions between a soil's structure and the soil microbial community have a significant impact on the way a soil behaves. In addition, evidence is accumulating that the complexity of the “diet” of plant materials incorporated into soil has a profound influence upon the functional diversity of soil microbiomes: soils provided more complex diets support greater functional diversity. This project will combine physical (X-ray imaging) and biological (metagenomics) techniques to develop a novel approach to support the management of soils which minimise the negative environmental impacts associated with conventional agriculture. The project will address important questions including whether diversification of soil organic amendments is as effective as diverse crop rotations in supporting bio-physical aspects of soil health and can regenerative agriculture have significant positive impacts on greenhouse gas emissions and crop yields.

Award Start Date: 01/10/2021

Duration of Award: 48 months

Terms and Conditions

This studentship covers the UK tuition fee ONLY (currently £4,500 p.a.) and a tax-free stipend based on current UKRI rates (£15,609 p.a.).

Applicant Qualification Requirements

Min. 2.1 degree in relevant science

How to Apply

Please email your CV and covering letter (including names of 2 referees) to sacha.mooney@nottingham.ac.uk

  • Information for candidates ( pdf doc )
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