A leading UK scientist who helped map the bacterial ecosystems of British soil in a world-first study will join the University of Western Australia to lead an expert team in soil rehabilitation research. Professor Andrew Whiteley’s work will be funded by a successful UWA application under the WA Government’s WA Research Fellowships Program, which aims to attract world-class expertise to WA. “People take the billions of microbes under foot for granted but the bacteria are critical to soil fertility and quality, and play a key role in cycling greenhouse gases,” Professor Whiteley said of his UK work. “We have pulled back the Earth’s skin to reveal how and why bacteria in the soil vary across the landscape.” Professor Whiteley’s UWA research will include examining new ways to rehabilitate degraded mine site environments and increase agricultural production. He is expected to take up his position at UWA in October.
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