Thursday 28 May 2020

Defra Phosphorus Webinair Haygarth and Withers, May 2020

Today it is my pleasure to be speaking to the UK Government Defra team on 'Phosphorus' as part of a joint platform shared with my colleague Paul Withers.  Paul started his career a ADAS in the earlier days when I was at IGER (now Rothamsted North Wyke).  As a nice refletion of a long journey we are both now Professors at Lancaster University, together.

Paul Withers

It is a pleasure to be workng alongside Paul (left), we have come a long road together, it is nearly 30 years since we both started work on phosphrous together.  We have worked together on phosphorus for MAFF and Defra since the early 1990s, both national coordinators for the MAFF then Defra National Phosphorus Research Programs.

Other links:

Thursday 23 April 2020

Virtual EGU Phosphorus Session Information #PhosphorusEGU20 #shareEGU20

I am pleased to share the information about the 2020 EGU Phosphorus Session below - please share


We are looking forward to hosting our EGU Phosphorus session online:

 to provide a stimulating session covering the 25 abstracts submitted.

We want to offer two exciting ways that will help you to get the best profile from your work and bring combined messages to the community even though we can’t all meet personally in Vienna.

What we are offering:

1). We are offering an online audio-visual discussion using Zoom (09.30 to 10.30 CET Tues 5th May) running immediately prior to the official EGU session. This consists of (i) an introduction to the P system of crop production, environmental cycling and recycling-recovery that we address, (ii) a keynote summary presentation (Prof. P. Haygarth, Lancaster Uni, UK) and (iii) a structured group discussion and preparation for the official EGU session.

2). The official EGU online session (10.45 to 12.30 CET Tues 5th May).  This online chat discussion session will aim to give profile to the summaries of all the uploaded materials. These presentations are available for the audience to have looked at more fully prior to our events.

What we would like you to do:
•       All abstract authors please submit a file (see guidance: onto the EGU platform where it will be available to view until end of May. We would encourage that you make the best use of brevity and clear messages to increase impact of your file. Ideally short PowerPoint or video files accompanied by speaking help make the presentation material come alive. PLEASE, give a first slide (or first part) to your presentation with an overall take-home, one sentence message. This summary page may be accompanied with one image (like a graphical abstract). We hope to use summaries during the official session as we convene the discussion (at the very least we will transfer the text of each take-home message into the session).

•       Register for an invitation to the Zoom session by sending an email to: This will allow us to manage the participation. We would like attendence to be open more widely, so if you have colleagues interested, please ask them also to register for Zoom session participation.

We are looking forward to bringing a great discussion drawing on your materials from around the world.

Best wishes from the convener team,
Marc Stutter
Andreas Voegelin
Sylvia Walter
Thilo Behrends


Thursday 19 March 2020

Coronavirus Update - NO Alternative Organic Phosphorus Workshop in September

A group of us met and decided that in the light of latest and developments with the coronavirus that we are not going ahead with this in September. We did, however, agree to keep alive the possibility of a similar interim event, to be considered whenever there is more clarity, and we will keep in touch if this option emerges. We also agreed to try to make sure that, notwithstanding, a more substantial Organic P Workshop in 2021+ does happen for the community. This call is initially with the Swedes, and if not them, it will be passed on. We will keep in touch whatever. What a difference a week makes…..sorry for the false hope, and stay safe folks, Phil

Friday 13 March 2020

Register of Interest - Alternative Organic Phosphorus Workshop 2020?

Dear Colleagues,

Register of Interest and Hold the Date - Alternative Organic Phosphorus Workshop 2020?

As you are aware, the Organic Phosphorus 2020 meeting scheduled to be held in Sweden in September has been cancelled. Having consulted with our Swedish colleagues, we are exploring the possibility of hosting an alternative workshop in Lancaster, UK.  Given the relatively short notice, this would be a scaled-down and simpler version of the original meeting, with the aim of bringing together those in the discipline to exchange research findings and discuss ideas for future work.  It looks like we have capacity for maximum of 60.  We are in the early stages of forming a small organizing group with colleagues from Lancaster University and Sweden.

Many of you had already submitted an abstract for the Sweden meeting, and we are aware of others who were planning to submit something but didn’t due to the cancellation. At this stage, could you indicate by return email whether you would be interested in attending and presenting at a meeting in Lancaster, the northwest of England during the week of 6 September (the same dates of the original meeting)?

Please use the email address to register interest by 18th March 2020.  Once we have this indication of numbers, we aim to make a firmer announcement by the end of March. 

Of course, this is all coronavirus permitting!

With best regards,

Phil Haygarth (Lancaster University)
Ben Turner (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)

Sunday 19 January 2020

Life Beyond The STARS! A Forward Look to the STARS 2020 Annual Conference

Exciting!  It is the eve before the STARS Annual Conference and it promises to be a special meeting.  We will have the pleasure of marking the graduation of some of our early cohort STARS students who are now starting to emerge from the work of the STARS CDT.  Some are now starting to make their way out of the CDT and into the wider world, to a life beyond the STARS!   In order to mark the occasion, for the annual meeting this year, the STARS students have chosen the topic Soil Science
In Policy, Industry & The Media, attempting to give a much – needed recognition to the practical, strategic and applied aspects to their training in the fields of soil science.  This also has the hope of providing the students with some ideas for future framing of their studies as they plan to launch themselves – literally - beyond STARS and into the outside world. 

To deliver this vision the student team have invited an array or inspirational visitors.   We have Jessica Bellarby from the Environment Agency Policy team, Vicky Robinson from the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust and celebrity journalist Caz Graham to provide role models and thoughts for where the discipline of soils may manifest in the twists and turns of life outside of STARS. 

We are delighted to welcome Dan Evans launching his role as the Legacy fellow to the delivery team, who will be seeking your input.  Dan is actually just in the process of completing his own soils PhD as a member of STARS and will be leading out his vision, with the students, to provide a legacy of the STARS CDT that intends to exist long after the last student has graduated.  One of the exciting examples of our legacy is the recent completion of full-length professional soil documentary on soil formation, that will be premiered at our event with Film Maker Roger Appleton from Brightmoon Media.  This is an aspect of the program not to be missed!   And we also have (on request of the students) a fabulous 5-piece Ceilidh band which also has roots in Soils Science (I will leave you to find out the links yourself). 

Thanks to the team of students who have worked with us to pull together this program, and special thanks to the CDT Administrator Olivia Lawrenson who has done such a great job in cementing together the ideas and linking with the students and staff to deliver the program.  

The full link to the program and the activites can be found here Enjoy Life Beyond The Stars 
and remember to use #STARsoil2020!

Best wishes,


Friday 10 January 2020

#EGU2020 Phosphorus cycling: interdisciplinary results linking phosphorus and other element cycles

Please consider submitting a talk to our #EGU2020 phosphorus session called Phosphorus cycling: interdisciplinary results linking phosphorus and other element cycles the deadline is the 15th January!

The full details of the prgram are:

Convener: Marc Stutter | Co-conveners: Phil Haygarth, Tom Jilbert, Federica Tamburini

Phosphorus (P) is essential to life, and as a key limiting nutrient, regulates productivity in terrestrial and aquatic systems. Strong geochemical interactions between P and other elements control the mobility and bioavailability of P in the environment, necessitating a coupled understanding of element cycles influencing P. At the same time P provides perhaps the most topical example of a critical resource element whose use is currently inefficiently managed. Leakage of mined P into the environment through a variety of processes (e.g. excess chemical fertiliser usage, or effluent discharges) is responsible for eutrophication and the acceleration of natural P cycling in terrestrial and aquatic systems. This puts P at the forefront of environmental and societal concerns and demands that our biogeochemical knowledge of P cycling ought to be developed through interdisciplinary research. This session aims to explore biogeochemical P cycling in the context of benefitting ‘systems understanding’ spanning terrestrial and aquatic compartments.
Topics included should explore:
• Links between P and wider element cycles, for example with other macro- and micro- nutrients and controls of P availability through geochemical parameters such as Fe;
• P cycling studies that bring into focus the interplay of biotic and abiotic controls within, and between, environmental compartments;
• Drivers of change (climate, management, societal) acting on the coupling of P with other element cycles.
• Processes, modelling and management against a background of the key issues for: P release from soil to plants; P release from soil to water; long term P supplies and the global P cycle.

Monday 6 January 2020

A new decade's (phosphorus) resolution....

Happy New Year Folks.  Welcome to the 20s (and the hidden phosphorus crisis).

My new decade's resoultion is to try to raise phosphorus and climate change challenge up the global agenda, for too long now it has seemed like a burried or hidden issue, perhaps not as all pervading as the Thunberg-led Climate problem, or as visual as the Attenborough-led plastics issue.  Who can do this for phosphrous?

Well I don't think I am the person who can do this and certainaly not alone, but as a small contribution here is a video that has just emerged from the Catchment Science 2019 conference that I attended in November.