Reports from recipients of Fellowships and Studentships:
Exploring management practices of calcareous grasslands in central Germany to inform UK management recommendations.
Ashley Lyons, Edge Hill University visiting Germany, June 2017.
Comparing herbal leys with grass/clover mixtures.
Paul Muto, Natural England visiting Institute of Grassland Science, University of Göttingen, Germany. August 2017 and April 2018.
Assessing and reducing uncertainty in estimating yield biomass, soil temperature and soil water content changes from mowed and grazed upland ecosystems under different management regimes at regional scale.
Renáta Sándor, Hungarian Academy of Sciences Sept 2017.
Modeling growth and development of white clover.
Wuping Zhang, Shanxi Agricultural University, China visiting IBERS March 2017.
Designing Supported Bimetalli Nanoalloy Catalysts for the Valorisation of Grass Fibre .
Chamundi Parambath Jijil, National Chemical Laboratory Pune India visiting Cardiff University, June 2017 .
Dr. Bhuvnesh Shrivastava (Department of Microbiology, University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi, India). Improvement of ruminant feedstock quality by sequential fermentation with white-rot and anaerobic rumen fungi. The award of a Travelling Fellowship was to support a 6-month period based at IBERS, Aberystwyth University, in 2014-15, supervised by Dr. Gareth Wyn Griffith. Experiments were conducted using wheat straw fermented using wood-rotting fungi, and results reported in detail. Additional experience was also gained in other related areas and research techniques.
Natalie Plummer (School of Agriculture, Policy & Development, University of Reading) Comparative root growth of Festulolium and Lolium grasses and wheat lines with introgression from wild emmer. The award of a student vacation bursary was made to support a 6-week period of research experience in summer 2015 under the supervision of Professor Peter Gregory at East Malling Research. The aim was to measure root growth of Festulolium grasses and wheat lines with introgression from wild emmer which may increase the resilience of grass and wheat crops to abiotic stress. Although results of both the grass and wheat experiments were not significant at p > 0.05, the study found evidence that new Festulolium grasses and wheat lines with introgression from wild emmer have more root length at depth.
Luke York (Australia). Adapting smallholder dairy production to climate change: findings from Orissa, India. The award of a Travelling Fellowship was to support the costs of travel to the UK to work during 6 months in 2014 under Dr. C. Heffernan (University of Reading) on developing a simple deterministic model capable of investigating the impacts of climate change on smallholder dairy production within the resource-constrained environment of Orissa, India. The study considered a number of climate-adaptation strategies and reported that high levels of exotic animal genetics can benefit farmers when adaptation strategies are applied.
Kester Ratcliff (University of Bristol, UK). Testing the feasibility of predicting individual parasite intensities in sheep using GPS tracking and automated analysis of variations in their flocking behaviours. The award of a graduate vacation bursary was made to support a 6-week period of supervised research in summer 2014 with Dr Eric Morgan and Christos Ioannou. The project involved the use of automatic tracking and analysis of behavioural indicators of parasite intensity, which could potentially be a cost-effective and more feasible method for frequent, widespread and ongoing use. This was a technically challenging project, outcomes of which have led to changes in the methodology.
Dr Lucy A. Akinmosin (Italy). The function of rumen microorganisms in terms of their effects on meat and milk production. The award of a 4-month Fellowship in spring 2014 was made to build on an existing link and support the recipient's research experience aimed at developing skills and furthering understanding of rumen bacteria in terms of sustainability of meat and milk production. The work was under the supervision of Dr Sharon Huws (IBERS, Aberystwyth University). Outcomes included contributions to two studies: (i) Perturbation of the forage attached rumen microbiome through addition of rumen protozoa increases plant fermentation, and (ii) Homoserine lactone based bacterial cell-cell communication within the rumen.
Professor Murray Grant (University of Exeter, UK). Understanding of how the rhizosphere fungus Trichoderma interacts with other soil organisms to generate a range of beneficial outcomes. The award of a short-term (1 month) Travelling Fellowship in 2014 was to enable development of research collaborations with New Zealand in analytical approaches around unravelling the molecular basis of the legume-Lolium-Trichoderma-Rhizobium interaction in the roots of clover which results in enhanced clover nodulation and increased pasture productivity. This fellowship was linked to a reciprocal award to Dr Donald Otter, AgResearch New Zealand, to spend a month at the University of Exeter.
- Dr Babita Bohra (World Agroforestry Centre, New Delhi, India). In-vitro methodology to predict methane emissions from ruminant livestock ingesting green forages. The award of a Travelling Fellowship was to support a 6-month period based at The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen in 2013. The work undertaken on developing in-vitro methodology on methane emissions from forages contributed to improved skills in animal research problems and in developing recommendations for working with communities.
- Professor Simon Potts (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, UK). Strengthening Anglo-Australian collaboration in landscape management and food security research. The award of a Travelling Fellowship was to support a 3-month period in Australia, based at the University of Queensland and CSIRO, in late 2013. Outcomes included the development of a novel framework for managing landscapes for improved food security.
- Dr David Barber (Agri-Science, Queensland, Australia). The effect of dietary factors on nitrogen-use efficiency and the relationship with feed utilisation with dairy productions systems. The award of a Travelling Fellowship was to support a 2-month period with Prof C. Reynolds at the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, UK, in 2013. Outcomes included regression analyses based on a study database compiled from 14 long-term experiments.
- Dr Abner A. Rodríguez-Carías (Department of Animal Science, University of Puerto Rico). Ensiling characteristics and aerobic stability of temperate grasses containing different concentrations of water-soluble carbohydrates. This was a short-term Travelling Fellowship to support a period at IBERS, Aberystwyth University, UK, in 2013, to enable the applicant to carry out experiments and learn new experimental techniques on degradability of ensiled grasses.
- Dr Rocío Rosa García (Servicio Regional de Investigación y Desarrollo Agroalimentario, Asturias, Spain). Responses of foliage arthropod fauna to different management strategies.The award of a Travelling Fellowship was to support a 2-month period at IBERS, Aberystwyth University, UK, in 2013, working with Dr Mariecia Fraser on biodiversity in upland grassland. The study included assessments on arthropod fauna and made use of existing long-term plots set up to test effects of management on botanical diversity and vegetation dynamics.
- Dr Katherine Tozer (AgResearch, Ruakura New Zealand). A GIS assessment of pasture species and their relationships with soil physical, chemical and management factors on the North Wyke Farm Platform. The award of Travelling Fellowship was to provide partial support (co-funded by the Trimble Foundation) for a short-term research project at Rothamsted Research, North Wyke, UK, with Mr Robert Orr and colleagues in 2013. Outcomes included learning new research approaches and methods; in particular, a method to assess botanical composition in pastures and an approach for assessing long-term changes in pasture botanical composition and other factors, using a GIS grid-based sampling.
- Ms Alice Court (Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University). The selenium status of Welsh sheep: spatial distribution and associations with stream sediments and soil geochemical data.. The award of a Student Bursary (under the Trust's undergraduate / recent graduate awards scheme) was to provide support for a research project carried out in summer 2013, prior to commencing a Master's degree. The main aim was to build an effective model that would (a) predict the Se status of sheep-grazing pastures in Wales, and (b) identify field sites for future research where the soil-plant-animal and soil-animal pathways of Se can be investigated. Outcomes included gaining new research skills, the use of ArcGIS software and new statistics techniques.
- Dr Jenny Dungait (Rothamsted Research, North Wyke, UK). Soil erosion and macronutrient fluxes under simulated rainfall: effects of tillage and crop removal. The award was partial support for a research period during April-September 2012 at the Carbon Mitigation and Sequestration Centre at Ohio State University working with Professor Rattan Lal and his colleagues. The research included field experiments to compare conventional and no-till systems and identified benefits from no-till farming and leaving crop residues in terms of reduced macronutrient removal and soil erosion.
- Dr Sumit Singh Dagar (Dairy Microbiology Division, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal-132001, Haryana, India). Investigating plant-based factors which promote the anaerobic fungal colonisation of ryegrass. The Fellowship was for a 6-month period at IBERS, Aberystwyth University, UK, during April-September 2012 working with Dr Joan Edwards. The research was on the influences of the in vitro water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) content of Lolium perenne on (i) the rate and number of anaerobic fungal zoospores colonising plant material, and (ii) anaerobic fungal growth and fermentation of plant material.
- Dr Vilem Pavlu (Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, and the Grassland Research Station Liberec, Czech Republic). Effect of pasture composition on methane emission from ewes. The Fellowship was to support a period of 10 weeks at IBERS, Aberystwyth University, UK, during May-August 2012 working with Dr Mariecia Fraser and colleagues. His research was on the extent to which sward diversity influences ingestive behaviour and methane emissions from grazing sheep. A combination pasture cuts and observation was used to monitor intake and associated parameters such as grazing time and bite rate. Methane emissions from grazing stock were estimated using the SF6 technique.
- Dr Jennifer Firn (Queensland University of Technology, Science and Engineering Faculty, School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Science, Brisbane, Australia). Species composition and abundance on acid-soil grasslands in the Peak District, and a collection of leaf traits, known to correlate with how plants acquire and utilize resources, of grasses and forbs considered to be now globally distributed species.
The Fellowship was to support a period of research in summer 2012 based at Lancaster University with Dr Carly Stevens.
- Dr Jan Mládek (Department of Botany, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic). Plant trait assembly of semi-natural grasslands and its effect on the superiority of grazer's foraging strategies. The Fellowship was to support periods totaling 10 weeks during February-March and July-August of 2012 at the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, with Professor Robin Pakeman. The main purpose of the research was to disentangle how different management regimes (grazing vs cutting) influence community-weighted plant functional traits, and how plant trait assembly affects the superiority of foraging strategies in species-rich semi-natural grasslands.
- Dr.Ishaq A. Mian (Department of Soil & Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Crop Production Sciences, Khyber Pakthunkhwa Agricultural University Peshawar, Pakistan). Responses of C, N and P to repeated drying-rewetting cycles in soils. The Fellowship was to support a 5-month period at Rothamsted Reserach, North Wyke, in 2011, working with Dr Martin Blackwell and colleagues on gaseous outputs from soils following changes in drying and wetting.
- Dr. Stanislav Hejduk (Department of Animal Nutrition and Grassland Management, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic). Evaluation of rootzone mixes and water retentive amendment materials in sports surface constructions. The Fellowship was to support a 2-month period of research at the Sports Turf Research Institute, Bingley, Yorkshire UK. The objective were: (i) to assess the effects of a number of amendment materials and the depth of incorporation on water retention within typical profiles used for sports turf construction; and (ii) to examine how effectively water release curves can be used to predict the vertical distribution of water within sports turf rootzones.
- Ms Alison Carswell (University of Exeter). Stapledon Student Vacation Bursary Report.
The bursary was to support a 10-week vacation project carried out at Rothamsted Research, North Wyke UK with Dr Martin Blackwell and colleagues, in summer 2010. The objectives of the study were (i) to test the hypothesis that rate of re-wetting a dried soil affects the forms and concentrations of N and P in the leachate and that this will differ among varying soil types; and (ii) to measure the effects of re-wetting a dried soil and a moist control soil over time periods ranging from from 0, 0.5,....24hours on total phosphorus, molybdate reactive phosphorus (MRP), bicarbonate, extractable MRP, total oxidised nitrogen and ammonium concentrations in leachate.
- Dr Fujiang Hou (College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, China). Fellowship Report. Main purpose of the fellowship: Review existing knowledge of ruminant nutrition and methan emission of ruminant agriculture; Determine the potential for high water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) perennial ryegrass to decrease methane emissions per animal and per unit output; Learn methodologies to assess plant chemical composition and measure methane emissions from ruminants using both in vitro and in vivo methodologies.
- Development of methodology to measure rate of passage in the ruminant digestive tract.
Dr Ir. Kustantinah (Faculty of Animal Science, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia). Main purpose of the fellowship: To study techniques on feed evaluation, especially on development methodologies for rapid assessment of gut passage rate in ruminants; To increase capacity building of Gadjah Mada University staff through participation in scientific activity at the UK.
- Research on aspects of the variation in vertebrae number and their length in two areas of the spine, and the relationships to meat yield in different sheep breeds and crosses.
Mieso Guru Geda (Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, Ethiopia). Main purpose of fellowship: The fellowship was aimed to support 5-month period at the Sustainable Livestock Systems Research and Development Group at SAC, Penicuik, Scotland under the supervision of Dr Lutz Bünger. The fellowship period included experience with projects on factors affecting sheep carcass yield and quality, and knowledge of computer tomography scans and other computer skills.
- Postdoctoral research on the development of a method of ruminal degradability in situ for dietary plant material which avoids the need for fistulated animals.
José Horacio Pagella (Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad Nacional de La Pampa, Argentina). Main purpose of the Fellowship:
The Fellowship was aimed to support a postdoctoral research training based on method development for the assessing of forage rumen degradability in situ avoiding the use of surgically prepared animals.
- The effect of a sub-acute ruminal acidosis challenge induced by either grain or alfalfa-pellet based diets on the pathogenicity of rumen Escherichia coli populations in dairy cows.
Dr Patricia Aikman (Animal Science Research Group, Department of Agriculture, University of Reading, UK). Overall Objectives of the Fellowship:
Researchers at the University of Manitoba have previously demonstrated that rumen microbial populations differ in animals with sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA), depending on whether the SARA was caused by high starch, cereal-based diets or by forage-based diets with low physically-effective fibre concentrations. The primary objective of this Fellowship was to investigate the effect of method of inducing SARA on the disease-causing capabilities, or pathogenicity, of rumen microbes, in particular Escherichia coli. In addition to improving understanding of the etiology of SARA, this work may also indicate whether shedding of pathogens into the environment by animals with SARA is a cause for concern. The secondary objective of the Fellowship was to develop expertise in microbiological and molecular techniques. To achieve these objectives, E. coli isolated from rumen samples taken in the course of two previous studies conducted at the University of Manitoba (Khafipour et al., 2009a, Khafipour et al., 2009b) were used.
- Ecological studies in alpine grasslands of Bhutan.
Dr Norbert Maczey (CABI, Egham, Surrey, UK). The fellowship, which was complementary to a project funded under the UK Darwin initiative, was carried out in liaison with the Council of Renewable Natural Resources Research of the Bhutan Ministry of Agriculture during June-July 2008. The main purpose of the fellowship being to provide particular ecological baseline data for the high montane grasslands in the Jigme Dorji National Park and other protected areas in Bhutan.
- An examination of the socio-economic contribution of the equine sector in Sweden and its impact on the sustainability of grass-based agriculture.
Georgina K. Crossman (Centre for Rural Policy Research, Department of Politics, University of Exeter, UK). Worked with Professor Hans Andersson and colleagues at the Department of Economics, SLU, Uppsala, Sweden, during May-July 2008.
- Research on the development of a rapid and accurate system to determine ME concentration in fresh grass, a system similar to that of grass silage currently used in AFBI Hillsborough Feed Information System.
Dr Bai Xue (Institute of Animal Nutrition, Sichuan Agricultural University, Yaan City 625014, Sichuan Province, China). Worked with Dr Tianhai Yan at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Hillsborough, Northern Ireland UK, for six months from August 2008 to January 2009.
- Introducing cattle to a sheep-grazed hill: impacts on vegetation height, biomass and cattle performance.
Getahun Kebede Yadete (Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Centre, P.O.Box: 32, Debre Zeit, Ethiopia).
Worked with Dr Tony Waterhouse and colleagues at the SAC Bush Estate in Scotland, UK, during May to November 2008.
ON THE USE OF MARKERS AND IN-VITRO GAS PRODUCTION
TECHNIQUES FOR MEASURING NUTRITIONAL CHARACTERISTICS
OF GRAZING ANIMALS WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO DEVELOPING
Dr. Abule Ebro Gedda (Adami Tulu
Agricultural Research Centre, Oromia Agricultural
Research Institute, Ethiopia)
Worked with Dr R.W. Mayes and Dr E.R. Ørskov
of the Macaulay Institute from June to November 2007
effect of Diet on Beef quality
Lemma Gesese (Livestock Production
and Management Research Division, Adami Tulu Agricultural
Research Centre, Oromia Agricultural Research Institute,
Worked with Professor Nigel Scollan of IGER from
April to September 2007
objective: To investigate socio-ecological constraints
to the effective functioning of common property
regimes for managing the grazing of livestock on
natural rangeland, in communal areas of central
Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
Dr James Bennett (Department of
Geography, Environment and Disaster Management,Faculty
of BES,Coventry University)
Worked with Dr Andrew Ainslie of ARC-Animal
Production Institute, Grahamstown Office, South
Africa from 26th June 2007 - 31st July 2007
Impact of point source nitrogen pollution on prairie
Carly Stevens (The Open University,
Milton Keynes, UK)
Worked with Prof. David Tilman at the University of
Minnesota, USA from 2nd July - 8th August 2007
climate change cause a surge in UK clover weevil populations?
Dr Scott N Johnson (SCRI, Dundee,
Worked with Dr Pip Gerard at AgResearch, New Zealand
during two periods - from 3 December 2006 to 23 January
2007 and from 1 March to 2 May 2007
Behaviour of Grazing Livestock in Semi-Natural Pastures
Dr. Katherine Tozer (Lincoln
University, Canterbury, New Zealand)
Worked with Dr Andrew Rook and Mr Robert Orr at IGER-North
Wyke, UK during two periods - from 26 May to 29 July
2006 and from 11 May to 11 June 2007
on nutrients in cut grassland receiving long-term
Wenju Liu (Research Center for Eco-environmental
sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China)
Worked with Dr Peter Christie at Queen's University
Belfast, Northern Ireland, April - September 2006
Effect of Polyphenol Oxidase on Lipolysis in Red Clover
Dr Michael Lee (IGER, Aberystwyth, UK)
Worked with Dr M L Sullivan at US Dairy Forage Center,
Madison, Wisconsin, USA, 12 June - 1 August 2006
the Nutritive Value of Rangeland Feeds
Belete Shenkute Gemeda (Oromia
Agricultural Research Institute, Adama, Ethiopia)
Worked with Prof E R Ørskov, Macaulay Institute,
Aberdeen, Scotland, February - July 2006