Mechanisms of microbial release of nitrogen and phosphorus for nutrient recovery from waste resources

Maximising soil biological fertility in agricultural production systems

This research will investigate soil microbial mechanisms of nitrogen and phosphorus release from organic soil amendments and fertilisers, aiming to maximise the contribution of soil biological fertility in agricultural production systems. The efficiency of nutrient recovery from agricultural and urban derived waste resources will be examined under field and glasshouse conditions. The goal is to understand the suitability of applying waste-derived organic soil amendments based on predicted soil microbial functions using a combination of microscopic and molecular technologies.

Students will undertake field experimentation at the UWA Farm at Pingelly in Western Australia. The project will emphasise mechanisms underpinning soil-microbe-plant interactions, including potential roles of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi with the aim of developing practical options that focus on soil biological fertility and soil health.

Suggested readings

Research Team Leader: Emeritus Professor Lynette Abbott

My area of research expertise is in soil health, soil biological fertility and plant-microbe interactions, including the roles or arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in agricultural soils. My research focuses on the role of soil biological processes linked to the efficiency of nutrient acquisition by plants and includes bio-chemical and bio-physical interactions associated with organic and mineral soil amendments.

How to apply

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different application procedures apply to domestic and international students.


Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.

Indigenous students
Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.
Forrest Foundation scholarships
All international and Australian students who wish to study towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at The University of Western Australia may apply for Forrest Scholarships.

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