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Symbiosis in microbial ecosystems

Soil systems are fundamentally important to the health of our planet, but the complexity of soil microbial communities makes them particularly challenging to study. Soil systems are amongst the most diverse microbial ecosystems on Earth in terms of the number of microbial species (and strains) present within individual samples, and in the breadth of functions encoded. Beyond complexity measured by counting distinct community members, interactions between microbial species including symbiosis, parasitism or commensalism are widespread and yet barely studied.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Health
School
School of Biomedical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for Microbiome Research

Keeping carbon – ensuring soil carbon gains through improved grazing management persist through drought in Australia's tropical and semi-arid grasslands

Drought is the biggest barrier to sequestering soil organic carbon (SOC) in soils over the long-term. While options are limited during dry periods, how we manage our pastures prior to drought can influence the resilience of SOC to losses and enhance recovery.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Biology and Environmental Science
Research centre(s)
Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy

Using time-controlled grazing to sequester carbon in Queensland rangelands

Time-controlled grazing (TCG), or cell grazing is a management strategy in which cattle are stocked and rotated across small paddocks or “cells” according to fodder availability. Grazing takes place in short durations at high stocking densities, in an effort to mimic the grazing patterns of wild ungulate herds.This management strategy has gained traction in recent years due to claims that it improves both pasture productivity and diversity, whilst also increasing long-term carbon pools. Limited data is available on the impact …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Biology and Environmental Science
Research centre(s)
Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy

Co-benefits of trees on farms: soil carbon

Soils are now in the ‘front line’ of global environmental change. Soils are the largest global pool of actively cycling organic C and N. Maintaining and increasing soil organic matter (SOM) is a prominent strategy for mitigating atmospheric CO2 and adapting agriculture to climate change.At the same time the global biodiversity crisis has led to increased scrutiny on supply chains to scrutinise farms ecological footprint. Planting or retaining trees in the landscape has the opportunity to achieve both outcomes, however …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Biology and Environmental Science
Research centre(s)
Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy

Coarse-grained molecular dynamics modelling in expansive soil

Expansive soil/active soil has wide applications in geotechnical engineering and other engineering disciplines due to its desirable special properties - for example, low permeability and swelling pressure under saturated condition. But these materials are highly susceptible to experiencing huge volume change and even damage due to moisture content reduction. However, the underlying mechanism of this phenomenon is still not clear for geotechnical engineers. Therefore, there is no optimum solution available to solve the problem.In this project, a special modelling approach …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Engineering
School
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Research centre(s)
Centre for Materials Science

Modelling the response of expansive soil under wetting and drying

Expansive soils are those which can experience significant volume change when water content varies and as of this reason they are considered as problematic soils in geotechnical engineering. Expansive soils are widely distributed globally and cover a significant percentage of world land surface, especially in arid and semi-arid area.In Australia, expansive soil covers around 20% of surface soils and approximately 30% of the total ‘built-up’ land area is covered by expansive soils. This figure is expected to increase, as the …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Engineering
School
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Research centre(s)
Centre for Materials Science

Using agricultural waste and organic amendments for sustainable agriculture and soil health

Optimising the application rates of organic amendments in agricultural soils is one of the most promising and practical solutions to reduce nitrogen (N) losses into the environment while maintaining an economically-adequate crop production.Organic amendments alone often don't meet the crop's needs. Consequently, a supplementary application of N synthetic fertiliser is needed in conventional farming systems to meet perceived production needs.Accounting for the amount of plant-available N (PAN) released by organic amendments and combining this with N-fertiliser will:ensure N demands of …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Biology and Environmental Science
Research centre(s)
Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy

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