Autumn Science Lecture 2022: Climate breakdown and agriculture; can we square the circle?

An Autumn Science Lecture, by Professor Philip Poole

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum's Autumn Science Lectures are back for 2022. This year we have five, free online lectures with expert speakers exploring the world of plant microbe interactions.

Join Prof. Philip Poole for the second lecture that will introduce you to the importance of plant microbe interactions in agriculture and reducing climate impact. Agriculture depends on a complex balance of global nutrient cycles with carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous being the main drivers of agricultural productivity. Agriculture directly contributes 10% of global CO2 production, 14% to total land use and over 21% the global food system. Reactive nitrogen is now double preindustrial levels, largely driven by agricultural fertilizer use. How then can we feed an increasing population without a climate catastrophe? 


Philip Poole did his PhD in Australia before coming to the UK, he was Professor of Microbial Physiology at the University of Reading before moving to the John Innes Centre in Norwich. In 2013, he took up a personal chair as Professor of Plant Microbiology at the University of Oxford, where he is head of Molecular Plant Sciences in the new Department of Biology. He studies the physiology of bacterial growth and survival in the rhizosphere, colonisation of roots and how bacteria establish symbiotic interactions with plants. A particular focus of his research is the physiology and biochemistry of nitrogen fixation in legume nodules and how this underpins global nitrogen cycling.


The Autumn Science Lecture Series 2022 runs every other Thursday from 6 October to 1 December 2022. All lectures will be hosted online and are free to attend.

Upcoming speakers include:

3rd November - Professor Katie Field, University of Sheffield - talk title TBC

17th November - Dr Jill Kowal, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew - 'Understanding mycorrhizal fungi and their functional role to facilitate healthy soils and ecologically sustainable gardens'

1st December - Dr Mark Spencer, forensic botanist - 'It's not all love, peace and harmony; the deadly world of plant/fungal interactions'