REP Project

June 17, 2022

Crop traits to restore degraded soils

Photo of plant roots

Location: Lancaster University, Lancaster Environment Centre

Duration: 6-10weeks

A funded opportunity is available for an undergraduate student to gain experience in soil conservation at Lancaster University Soil, Plant & Land Systems research group.

Soil degradation is the physical, chemical and biological decline in soil quality. Intensive farming practices are often responsible for the increased level of degradation, negatively impacting food production and the quality and availability of freshwater resources. Restoration activities, using of vegetation as a soil bio-engineering tool can successfully alleviate and reverse degradation.

Data on soil degradation threats, their levels of severity and their impact on yield, tillage methods, farming systems and soil physical, chemical and biological properties with data on vegetation cover used for soil conservation were collected as part of the TUdi Horizon2020 project. Data was collected on 32 long-term experimental sites, in 8 different countries including the UK. The project aims to develop sustainable restoration techniques using cover crops, as soil bio-engineering tools to successfully alleviate and reverse degradation of various soil and site conditions by using a data driven approach.

The work will involve desk-based activities to search and collate trait data, some laboratory analyses of plant trait characteristics in key crops, and there will be a possibility to join with researchers in mesocosm experimental measurements of carbon dynamics.

The placement will have the opportunity to experience:

  • working with an experienced senior research assistant,
  • analysing and evaluating complex datasets,
  • how to fit the results into a complex deliverable,
  • presenting the results to the national and international collaborators.

The successful candidate will be encouraged to write up the results for publication.

To apply

Please check you meet the eligibility criteria before completing the online data collection form; this form is a mandatory part of the application process, but contains ‘prefer not to say’ options for all questions asked.

Once you have completed the online data collection form you will receive an email with the application form and details of how to apply to the supervisor. The application form should be completed and emailed to the lead supervisor along with a reference from your personal tutor.