Name: Andy Tweedie
Project title: Soil macronutrient cycles beneathour feet: predicting how soil carbon and nitrogen manipulation regulatesphosphorus cycling for environmental benefits.
Where based: LancasterUniversity student based at James Hutton Institute (Craigiebuckler,Aberdeen)
The use of inorganic phosphorus (P) fertilisers has massively increased global agricultural output but created an unsustainable dependency. Sources of high quality rock phosphate are finite and P fertiliser run-off can cause eutrophication of water courses. Application of inorganic P fertiliser is hugely inefficient with up to 90% becoming bound and unavailable to crops according to soil chemistry and microbial cycling conditions. We propose that a build-up of P stocks in agricultural soils has occurred but that changes in land use practises could render a useful proportion of this available to crops.
The cycling of P is intimately linked to carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling and further study of these interactions in soil is required. This research will investigate the manipulation of the P cycle over agriculturally relevant timescales, by studying the fate of soil P under various C and nitrogen N treatments. Additionally, a spatial study will measure the proportions of P species found in a range of soil types in relation to C and N forms. These data will be used to model the effect of C:N stoichiometry on P cycling in soil, informing further research into the practical utilisation of existing soil P stocks.
I am lucky to have an industry partner in the project in EMS (Enivronmental Monitoring Solutions) http://www.em-solutions.co.uk/, providing expertise in in-situ soil and water sensors.
I have an educational background in plant science (BSc, 2001, University of Nottingham; MSc 2017 Queen Mary University of London / Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) and a professional background in commercial pet food R&D and marketing I.T. consultancy. The major themes linking these varied domains are an interest in processes/cycles, data handling and defining/solving problems. More detail here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-tweedie-a72a6863/. I have a growing interest in discovering how we as individuals can contribute to mitigation of negative human impacts on global and local environments (and make the most of the positive ones!). I like to keep active with Aikido, climbing (indoors mainly), yoga, hiking and cycling. I’m always up for a walk or a climb, if you fancy it.