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Personal profile

Research interests

My research to date has addressed key scientific issues in global agriculture and environmental change. Areas of research include agro-environmental science, soil biogeochemistry, carbon and nitrogen cycling, nutrient dynamics, greenhouse gas emissions, visual evaluation of soil quality, soil organic matter and mineral colloid characterisation, water quality, environmental archives of atmospheric metal deposition, peat bog ecology, geochemistry.

My current research focuses on agricultural systems (arable and grassland) under different management activities. I am particularly interested in soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics, soil quality indicators and mitigation of diffuse water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.


AHDB Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland, £49,000 (Nov 2020 - Oct 2021). Co-I. Collaboration with ADAS.

Scotch Whisky Association ‘Scotch Whisky peat extraction activities: assessment of carbon footprint’. £16,000 SAC Consulting/SRUC (May – Sept 2020).

Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher, £5,000 (Sept 2019 – March 2020). Investigating the crop productivity and soil fertility benefits of an innovative soil enhancer. Joint SRUC PI with S. Buckingham. Industry Partner Sky East UK Ltd.

CREW, £70,000 (May 2019 – July 2021). Pathways of Diffuse Pollution to the Water Environment; state of knowledge and communicating best practice. SRUC PI. Joint project with the James Hutton Institute.


I currently supervise the following PhD students:

Poppy Frater Part-time EastBio PhD studentship (2020-2027) ‘Assessing the soil health and environmental benefits of mob grazing’. Principal supervisor. Prof. Christine Watson and Dr. Sarah Buckingham (SRUC), Prof. Elizabeth Baggs (University of Edinburgh) and Dr. Gillian MacKinnon (SUERC).

Kirsty Paterson SRUC REG PhD studentship (2018-2022) ‘Do UK grasslands have the ability to sequester more carbon?’, Co-supervisor. Dr. Sarah Buckingham (Principal supervisor, SRUC), Prof. Bob Rees (SRUC) and Prof. Elizabeth Baggs (University of Edinburgh).

I also co-supervise Masters by Research student Lucy Weidner 'The Impacts of Land Management on Organic Carbon Cycling in Iceland' with Dr. Anthony Newton and Prof. Andy Dugmore (University of Edinburgh).


SRUC/University of Edinburgh (2011- present)

Postgraduate teaching

I am a lecturer for the Environmental Protection and Management and Soils and Sustainability MSc/PG dip programmes.

I teach/co-ordinate the following courses:

Atmospheric Quality and Global Change (2011-present, Co-ordinator since 2012)
Soil Science Concepts and Application (2013-present)
Soil Protection and Management (2014-present)
Land Use and Environmental Interactions (2020-present)

Undergraduate teaching

I currently deliver teaching for the University of Edinburgh’s Global Academy Agricultural Science BSc programmes. I am the course organiser and lecturer for the 3rd year ‘Soil and nutrient management’ course.


I also supervise MSc and undergraduate dissertation projects

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Edinburgh


Award Date: 2 Oct 2006

Master, University of Edinburgh


Award Date: 30 May 2002

External positions

University of Edinburgh

1 Jun 201030 May 2011

University of Edinburgh

1 Nov 200630 May 2010


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