Research Associate: New opportunity at The University of Western Australia at the School of Agriculture & Environment

As part of the multi-disciplinary team comprising personnel from the University of Western Australia, WA Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development, Adelaide University, Murdoch University and two fertilizer companies, the research associate will carry out the laboratory, glasshouse and field studies and other relevant research required to quantify key processes controlling soil P storage, supply and response in wheat, canola and lupins.

Tasks will include:
Formulation of specific hypotheses and optimisation of detailed experimental design to test these. Consideration will be given to (i) characterising processes governing P availability along the soil profile, (ii) determining the relationship between root structure/function and P acquisition, (iii) correcting low subsoil P availability, (iv) quantifying draw-down of soil P over time and the effect of low P fertilizer rates on crop growth and grain yield, etc.
Collect and analyse soil and plant samples
Compile/process/present data, including statistical interpretation
Contribute to writing manuscript(s) for submission to high-impact journals, and
Other duties as directed

Please see link below for full applicant information.


Final advertisement – Research Associate UWA

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New publication in Biogeosciences: Soil solution phosphorus turnover: derivation, interpretation, and insights from a global compilation of isotope exchange kinetic studies.

Helfenstein et alAbstract. The exchange rate of inorganic phosphorus (P) between the soil solution and solid phase, also known as soil solution P turnover, is essential for describing the kinetics of bioavailable P. While soil solution P turnover (Km) can be determined by tracing radioisotopes in a soil–solution system, few studies have done so. We believe that this is due to a lack of understanding on how to derive Km from isotopic exchange kinetic (IEK) experiments, a common form of radioisotope dilution study. Here, we provide a derivation of calculating Km using parameters obtained from IEK experiments. We then calculated Km for 217 soils from published IEK experiments in terrestrial ecosystems, and also that of 18 long-term P fertilizer field experiments. Analysis of the global compilation data set revealed a negative relationship between concentrations of soil solution P and Km. Furthermore, Km buffered isotopically exchangeable P in soils with low concentrations of soil solution P. This finding was supported by an analysis of long-term P fertilizer field experiments, which revealed a negative relationship between Kmand phosphate-buffering capacity. Our study highlights the importance of calculating Km for understanding the kinetics of P between the soil solid and solution phases where it is bioavailable. We argue that our derivation can also be used to calculate soil solution turnover of other environmentally relevant and strongly sorbing elements that can be traced with radioisotopes, such as zinc, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, and uranium.

For the full text please follow the link:

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Phylogenetic distribution, biogeography and the effects of land management upon bacterial non-specific Acid phosphatase Gene diversity and abundance


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Structural equation modeling for the estimation of interconnections between the P cycle and soil properties

Marcus Nutrient cycling titleMarcus Nutrient Cycling

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Symposium on Phosphorus in Plants and Soils (10-13th September 2018).

We would like to announce The Symposium on Phosphorus in Plants and Soils. The symposium will be held from 10-13 September 2018 in Leuven and will be hosted by the KU Leuven. More information is available at the website: www.psp6symposium.comIf you have more questions, you can contact Kris Dox ( or Erik Smolders ( , who is the chair of the organizing committee.
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New Administrator

I would just like to say a quick hello as the new administrator of the soil phosphorus forum. If you have any posts or requests please get in touch.

Many thanks


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Doctoral and postdoctoal opportunities at Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory at the University of Delaware

The Environmental Biogeochemistry Laboratory ( at the University of Delaware has openings for two graduate students and a postdoctoral researcher. A short description of the positions and benefits is included below:

  1. Graduate students
  2. i) Source tracking of phosphorus in a watershed. It requires general background in soil chemistry, biogeochemistry, and watershed scale processes. Experience on stable isotopes (P and N) or nutrient cycling in a watershed is a plus.
  3. ii) Residual and recalcitrant phosphorus in soil. It requires background on soil sciences/chemistry, geochemistry or related discipline.

Candidates are for PhD degree. A 12-month research assistantship of ~$25,000 will be paid to graduate students. Graduate application has be made through UD ( Successful candidates are anticipated to start late summer or Fall.

  1. Postdoctoral associate 

Fate of phytate in the environment. Phytate and other inositol phosphates in soils: detection, quantitation, and degradation and address the longstanding question on accumulation vs decomposition of phytate in the environment. A recent Ph.D. in soil sciences, chemistry or related discipline from an accredited university is required. Candidate must have knowledge and experience in one or more of the following research techniques: ion chromatography, stable isotopes, 1 and 2-D NMR spectroscopy, stereochemistry, and enzymology, and a proven record through scientific publications. Candidate must be willing to learn other research technique from his/her own expertise.

A 12-month salary of $48,000 will be paid to the postdoctoral associate. University of Delaware offers a generous health insurance and other benefits.  See for complete details of the benefit package.

Interested candidates for both positions are advised to contact Deb Jaisi ( for further information.

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