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.