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    Dr Ana Morais Natalio

    BSc MSc PhD

    Post-Doctoral Research Associate

    Photograph of Ana

    I am a soil scientist with a PhD in Soil Science - Agricultural Systems (HAU), and a background in Entomology (MSc, HAU) and Biological Sciences (BSc, Birkbeck College - University of London). I explore the intricate interactions between soil biology and the physicochemical environment. These interactions have a significant impact on soil health, nutrient cycling, pest management, and overall agricultural productivity. By bridging various scientific disciplines, I can integrate interdisciplinary methodologies and perspectives, as well as data analytics, when tackling complex research questions. These efforts hold practical implications for sustainable agriculture, ecosystem restoration, soil conservation, and the optimisation of agricultural systems while minimising their environmental impact.

    Professional Memberships

    • British Ecological Society
    • British Society of Soil Science
    • International Union of Soil Sciences
    • Shropshire Geological Society

    Researcher Profile

    My PhD research focussed on the impact of agricultural management practices on soil biological (i.e. bioindicators of soil health) and physicochemical properties. My project was affiliated to the AgroCycle EU consortium, a Horizon 2020 research and innovation project addressing the circular economy of the agri-food sector. AgroCycle EU was a collaboration between 26 partners from the EU, China and Hong Kong, and encompassed various stakeholders from practitioners, academia to industry.  

    I have been involved with EcoInsect Ltd in collaboration with Harper Adams University and University of Reading. We looked into the scaling up potential of using Black Soldier Flies (BSF) as animal feed and into the valorisation of by-products that originate from insect rearing. My role related to the latter, where I was responsible for the running of glasshouse trials aimed to better understand the response of crops and associated soil properties to BSF by-products.   

    I worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham in collaboration with Syngenta and Rothamsted, The project looked at the effects of soil pore structure of different textural classes and varied disturbances has on the movement and retention of particles. My duties involved imaging analysis using X-ray Computed Tomography, and the quantification of fluid transport through soil structure by applying techniques such as hydraulic conductivity and breakthrough curves.

    I have been involved with benchmarking soil organic carbon (SOC) across the Harper Adams University Estate, which has linked nicely with the Paludiculture Innovation Project (PIP) that I am part of. PIP aims to create a long-term experimental facility by converting from dryland farming to paludiculture (i.e. wet farming on peat soils). The team, with different levels of expertise, will be undertaking detailed monitoring and data capture of changes in soil properties, soil biodiversity, greenhouse gas fluxes, nutrient flows, water flow and quality, along with the economics and social implications.

    Academic Department: Agriculture and Environment

    Office: ACSES

    Research profile: ORCID

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