2009 – 2012

Reports from recipients of Fellowships and Studentships


Soil erosion and macronutrient fluxes under simulated rainfall: effects of tillage and crop removal
Dr Jenny Dungait (Rothamsted Research, North Wyke, UK)
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.

Investigating plant-based factors which promote the anaerobic fungal colonisation of ryegrass
Dr Sumit Singh Dagar (Dairy Microbiology Division, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal-132001, Haryana, India)
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.

Effect of pasture composition on methane emission from ewes
Dr Vilem Pavlu (Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, and the Grassland Research Station Liberec, Czech Republic)
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.

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
Dr Jennifer Firn (Queensland University of Technology, Science and Engineering Faculty, School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Science, Brisbane, Australia)
The Fellowship was to support a period of research in summer 2012 based at Lancaster University with Dr Carly Stevens.

Plant trait assembly of semi-natural grasslands and its effect on the superiority of grazer’s foraging strategies
Dr Jan Mládek (Department of Botany, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic)
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.


Responses of C, N and P to repeated drying-rewetting cycles in soils
Dr.Ishaq A. Mian (Department of Soil & Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Crop Production Sciences, Khyber Pakthunkhwa Agricultural University Peshawar, Pakistan)
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.


Evaluation of rootzone mixes and water retentive amendment materials in sports surface constructions
Dr. Stanislav Hejduk (Department of Animal Nutrition and Grassland Management, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic)
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.

Stapledon Student Vacation Bursary Report
Ms Alison Carswell (University of Exeter)
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.


Fellowship Report
Dr Fujiang Hou (College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, China)
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.