The Macronutrients Cycles Programme is launched with multiple grants approved

The Macronutrient Cycles Programme – a £9.3 million programme of research directed by Professor Paul Whitehead at Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment – has finally approved a set of grants following an extensive peer review exercise undertaken by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

The grants cover a wide range of research in macronutrients, as shown in the diagram below, and mark the start an exciting three years of integrated research of the cycles of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon and their interactions in the environment.

The doubling of global cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus has led to the degradation of soils, freshwaters and marine waters, resulting in the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Increased carbon levels in the atmosphere have been linked to global climate change. Efforts to control nutrients to date have focused largely on a single nutrient without considering the interactions between macronutrient cycles. There is a danger that mitigating impacts of a single nutrient cycle could enhance the effects of another.

The NERC Macronutrients Cycles programme aims to address these gaps in macronutrient cycles science and policy-making, delivering integrated research on the complex dynamics and interactions of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon cycles at a catchment scale.

The programme brings together researchers in the freshwater, terrestrial, atmospheric and estuarine environments. A strong focus is to deliver information, models, new data and new synthesis to policymakers in Government and the Environment Agency. The project will also link to key EU research and policy programmes and international initiatives such as the Belmont Foundation programmes.

For a more information on the programme, visit the website or read the publication by Professor Paul Whitehead and Dr Jill Crossman:

Whitehead, P.G. and Crossman, J (in press).  Macronutrient cycles and climate change: Key science areas and an international perspective. The Science of the Total Environment. 



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