DR SHANE ROTHWELL – PLANT-AVAILABLE PHOSPHORUS AND ITS INFLUENCE ON FERTILISER RECOMMENDATIONS

A Higher National Diploma (HND) in Arboriculture at Myerscough College in the 1990s led Shane (now Dr) Rothwell to ground-breaking postdoctoral research in measuring plant-available phosphorous in the soil and the interactions this produces with the plant’s root-to-shoot signalling system and carbon assimilation. The outputs of his research are already enabling farmers and growers to make more informed decisions about fertiliser application. A key part of Dr Rothwell’s undergraduate studies were the science-based bridging modules taken as part of his top-up degree at Myerscough, in particular the module in Environmental Plant Physiology, which studies how plants respond to the environmental signals. With a first-class honours degree and MSc under his belt, Shane returned to Myerscough, which provided the field site and field-bean crop for his postdoctoral research in lime and phosphorous application rates. His current research, which is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC’s) Sustainable Agriculture Research Innovation Club (SARIC), is in developing a test to more accurately predict soil phosphorus availability following liming – a practical contribution that will benefit both farmers and the environment in preventing waste and pollution.

 

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