Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Congratulations Dr Kirsty Forber......

I’m delighted to share the news that my latest PhD student (co-supervised with Dr Mary Ockenden) to complete is Kirsty, who recently defended her thesis on Phosphorus Transfers to Water under Climate Change. Her examiners were Professor Helen Jarvie and Dr Alona Armstrong. Well done Kirsty, happy days.  we have to share the results with the world and get them to wake up to the issues.....

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Welcome Andy

Andy Tweedy has recently started his PhD working between myself and Marc Stutter at the James Hutton Institute and Louise Walker at EMS. Andy has an exciting project studying phosphorus mobility in soils as affected by carbon and nitrogen. He is part of the STARS Soil CDT #starsoil. Welcome Andy I’m confident you will go a long way!  Here are some pictures of our recent gathering in Lancaster. 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Extreme Climate, Extreme Phosphorus

Yesterday I spoke in an Webinair hosted by the North American Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance.  A copy of the webinar can be viewed here - thanks to Matt Scholz from the Alliance for sharing.  Regards, Phil

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Thank you Deborah: where did the 8 years go?

Today I said goodbye to Deborah Bellaby who has been working on the EdenDTC team with me for 8 years. It's been terrific to work with Deborah and I wish her all the best for her new job. Where did the time go?

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

An uncertain future? Major agricultural changes required to mitigate phosphorus losses under climate change

We have just published in Nature Communications a sobering reminder about the prospects of phosphorus transfer from land to water in the future under climate change.  Mary Ockenden, my Post Doctoral research fellow, skillfully led the paper and the abstract of the paper follows, with a link to the open access version of the paper here and a PDF here.

Phosphorus losses from land to water will be impacted by climate change and land management for food production, with detrimental impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Here we use a unique combination of methods to evaluate the impact of projected climate change on future phosphorus transfers, and to assess what scale of agricultural change would be needed to mitigate these transfers. We combine novel high-frequency phosphorus flux data from three representative catchments across the UK, a new high-spatial resolution climate model, uncertainty estimates from an ensemble of future climate simulations, two phosphorus transfer models of contrasting complexity and a simplified representation of the potential intensification of agriculture based on expert elicitation from land managers. We show that the effect of climate change on average winter phosphorus loads (predicted increase up to 30% by 2050s) will be limited only by large-scale agricultural changes (e.g., 20–80% reduction in phosphorus inputs).

Our press team did a good job in promoting the story with this simple short video and we achieved National BBC Radio 4 attention on Farming Today as well as other channels.  

This work reflects the importance of the long term data from the National Defra Demonstration Test Catchments and the NERC NUTCAT projects, all coming together. The more you think about thsi work and its implications, the more serious are the implications.  This is just the beginning...... 


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Long term phosphorus in the Thames, Maumee and Yangtze rivers basins

Thanks to Matt Scholtz from the US EPA Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance, here is a video talking head summary of our recent paper on long term in Nature Geosciences.   The doi of the paper is doi:10.1038/ngeo2693 and you can click on this for a link.  The take home point from this reminds us of the slow speed that P moves through the land water system.


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Thanks to Danilo

Danilo Almeida had spent the last 12 months working with the team in the lab on organic phosphorus mobilisation in soils. Danilo is completing his PhD on the effect of tropical grasses on soil phosphorus availability to soybean, in collaboration with São Paulo State University, Brazil. It's been a pleasure to work with you Danilo. Dan left me a bottle of Cachaca - so it looks like a summer of Caipirinha cocktails!  



Monday, 3 July 2017

Thank-you (Herr Doctor Professor) Daniel Blackburn...

Last week I said goodbye to one of the best Post Doctoral Scientists I have had working with the team, as 'Herr Dr' Daniel Blackburn moved on to start a 'grown up' academic career in the University of Oman (graduating from our mutual joke 'Herr Doctor' to 'Herr Professor'!).  Daniel has been a very active and hard working soil biogeochemist who originates from Brazil but joined the team from a job in Germany. He has helped develop new insight into phosphorus and particularly organic phosphorus forms in soil and its mobility.  We have also had a lot of fun together working and travelling the world including visits to Panama, Montpellier, Germany and Austria.  It was fun Daniel - thank you.  Here are some photos we took last week at the farewell pub lunch trip, as well as some in December 2015 in Germany.  Before he moves to Oman, Daniel will spend the summer working in collaboration with my team and Roland Bol in Germany, with whom he is pictured in 2015 here. Keep in touch fine fellow - the collaboration continues......

Friday, 30 June 2017

Farewell Jinchuan....

Today we say goodbye to Jinchuan Ma who worked with me and Ben Surridge at Lancaster University for the last 6 months. Jinchuan was visiting from the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), Beijing China, and has been studying a phosphorus mass balance at the regional scale in China, as part of his PhD.  

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The business of soil?

Today I am with Jess Davies and colleagues from Lancaster University visiting The University of Lausanne.  Jess gave a terrific vision for the business case for soil pointing out the underlying value and contribution of soil to the world economy, providing a basis for food production, clean water etc.. Whilst I cannot argue with this as an academic, I wonder how successful we really are at communicating this at 'grass roots' level.  I still think there is a lot of work to do selling the case for #soil.  Meanwhile, good job Jess....

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Elusive Entisols: STARS Soil Science Training in Tenerife #starsoil #starstnr

Last week fourteen of us, 4 teachers and 10 PhD students, spent a week long training course with Cohort 1 of the STARS Soils CDT training on the islands of Tenerife and La Gomera. It was an inspiring week where we saw many soil types in different stages of soil development among the volcanic islands .

We saw the start of soil formation on the sand dunes of El Medano with entisols:

Witnessed soil development in the more moisture rich pine forest on the sides of Mt Teide:

More entisols in the arid Caldera of Mt. Teide...

On the final day we crossed the sea to the more mature and eroded and weathered island of La Gomera, and witnessed well developed soils with some beautifully partnered oxisols....

The full team!
An inspirational week among some great students and great teachers of soils - thanks all.

My full set of pictures are here on Flickr, please use all you like but do credit the source please.