A cross-disciplinary soil-proteomics and modelling approach for predicting switches between hydrophilic and hydrophobic soil surface responses

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: Institute of Life Science Medical School

Abstract

A strange property of many soils is that they do not readily wet on contact with rain, which has many implications for soil management. Although these soils may not be especially hydrophobic, wetting is slower than would be inferred from the sizes of their pores. This property is usually defined as sub-critical water repellency. Where water repellency is high (critical repellency), it causes ponding of water at soil surfaces. Water repellency affects the routes through which water and dissolved or suspended chemicals drain through the soil profile, leading to preferential surface run-off, infiltration paths resulting in serious erosion events, and flooding.
Soil water repellency may be influenced by both natural and man-made events. It is known that cycles of heating and drying (amongst many other factors) may produce quite dramatic changes in this soil property. Soil water repellency results from interactions between microbial activity and physico-chemical structure, but their complexity is such that at present they are only understood on an empirical and anecdotal basis. The purpose of this project is to develop a theoretical basis to understand soil water repellency and to predict some of its consequences. The practical implications of such an understanding are profound and widespread, since they may guide land management practice and flood prevention.
The three soils selected for study will be; (i) Malvern Hill clay loam, found in a previous study to exhibit extreme hydrophobicity under moderately moist summer conditions and also following air-drying in the laboratory, (ii) Gower silt loam, used in our NERC-funded proof-of-concept proteomics study and found to display up to medium levels of hydrophobicity, and (iii) Rothamsted Research Park Grass plot 3 silt loam, presently the subject of the large-scale soil metagenomic sequencing project 'Terragenome', and subcritically hydrophobic.
Soil water content will be adjusted to (i) just above and (ii) just below the Critical Soil-water Content, i.e. the content at which there is a transition between hydrophobic and hydrophilic behaviour. Further perturbations will include further drying at different temperatures to water contents simulating soil conditions that may be experienced during extreme drought periods, which are likely to cause further increases in hydrophobicity.
Information relating to water repellency will be obtained by the examination of soil properties at various scales of size (from nanometres to centimetres). We will establish the role of proteins in the development of water repellency using metaproteomics and specific hydrophobic protein isolation approaches. Atomic force microscopy (AFM), only recently applied to soil particles, will be used to examine their surface geography, hardness, stickiness and water repellency at this small scale. This technique combined with laser scanning microscopic techniques will be used to examine the water repellency of soil microbial proteins labelled with fluorescent dyes. Water repellency at two coarser scales will be examined using a water contact angle technique and penetration times using very small drops of water.
These estimates of water repellency and soil particle properties will be incorporated into a detailed computer model of soil structure, which will be used to predict the consequences of water repellency at the decimeter scale in soil, and will be compared with laboratory measurements of the wettability of cores of a few centimeters in diameter.
When the model is calibrated and validated, we will be able to use it, together with the experimental data, to predict how the perturbations change wettability. These effects will be incorporated into an existing climate model used by the Met Office, called JULES, so that predictions can be made about the likely effect of climate change. Then we will be able to suggest ways to manage UK and other soils to minimize run-off, erosion and flood risk.

Planned Impact

The project has many facets, from strictly basic research contributions to more pragmatic environmental management applications on a landscape scale. Therefore the beneficiaries of our efforts will range widely and include: fellow scientists, water quality managers, soil, environmental and materials scientists, irrigation and global change specialists, environmentally sustainable materials manufacturers and the general public.
A prime beneficiary is the MetOffice, who maintain and develop further the simulation package JULES (Joint UK Land Environment Simulator). The MetOffice is interested in incorporating into JULES a new climate-dependent hydrology module based on our project's parametrised output. This will enable JULES to better predict climate change-induced soil hydrological changes at the catchment and regional scale, including estimating the risks of flooding and runnoff, which will be of benefit to those concerned with larger scale land management and with global climate change.
The PoreXpert model (www.porexpert.com) is being extensively tested by 5 disparate users prior to release. Current industrial applications include the characterisation of graphite porosity to enable the longer safe running of the UK's AGR nuclear power stations, ultra high speed ink-jet paper coatings, and filter efficiency prediction. Wide academic interest is shown by 3 academic sales 3 months before its release date. Novel proteins could also be used for innovations in materials sciences.
Soil and environmental scientists, irrigation specialists and water quality managers will benefit from the better understanding in underlying molecular-level processes by offering a better prospect for developing methods of ameliorating and reducing the adverse effect of soil hydrophobicity on site productivity and environmental degradation.
The wider life and soil science community will benefit through gaining an understanding of which elements of the entire genetic potential of one of the tested soils (Rothamsted Grass plot 3) is expressed under different climatic conditions via functional ecosystems genomics by comparing our metaproteomic datasets with the publicly available metagenomic data sets from the Metasoil project.
Other beneficiaries includes the specific landowners of our sites of study (National Trust and Rothamsted Research), but other landowners, local/regional/national authorities (eg Water industry, Environment Agency, SEPA, Defra), farmers and their organisations (eg Potato Council) may also benefit, via gaining a better insight of environmental conditions that liely induce hydrophobicity and its potential impacts, for improvement of, eg monitoring policies. Other beneficiaries such as managers and specialists dealing with irrigation and water transmission and quality, especially passage of fertilisers and other amendments into and through the soil, will benefit from project results at the particulate-core scale. The rapid transfer of solutes from amendments via 'finger flow' in repellent soils, adversely affects water quality by faster movement of nutrients and contaminants into the groundwater. The quality of waterways is also affected by soil hydrophobicity through increased overland drainage of soil and nutrients via surface runoff, especially after periods of intense precipitation. More complete insight to movement of these contaminants could lead to more efficient application of soil management practices which would minimise the adverse environmental consequences of soil repellency.
The general public is also a likely beneficiary through a better understanding and interpretation of their environment and the phenomena occuring within it (eg water infiltration issues).
The UK will also benefit from the project through professional training and skills base development of the PDRAs. They will experience working in an interdisciplinary project, with close links to non-academic organisations, with many networking opportunities.
 
Description This project has involved a study of soil hydrophobicity - i.e. when soil is or becomes water-repellent. The detrimental impacts of soil hydrophobicity include increased runoff, erosion and flooding, reduced biomass production, inefficient use of irrigation water and preferential leaching of pollutants. Its impacts may exacerbate flood risk associated with more extreme drought and precipitation events predicted with UK climate change scenarios. We have studied soil hydrophobicity over length scales ranging from atomic through molecular, core and landscape scale. Our project set out to prove whether changes in soil protein abundance and localization, induced by variations in soil moisture and temperature, are major driving forces for transitions between hydrophobic and hydrophilic conditions at soil particle surfaces. Three soils were chosen based on the severity of hydrophobicity that can be achieved in the field: severe to extreme (Cefn Bryn, Gower, Wales), intermediate to severe (National Botanical Garden, Wales), and subcritical (Park Grass, Rothamsted Research near London). The latter is already highly characterised so was also used as a control. Hydrophobic/ hydrophilic transitions were measured from water drop penetration times. We have made scientific advances in the following five areas:
(i) the identification of soil proteins, including key hydrophobic proteins, by proteomic methods, using a novel separation method which reduces interference by humic acids, and allows identification by ESI and MALDI TOF mass spectrometry and database searches,
(ii) the examination of such proteins, which form ordered hydrophobic ridges, and measurement of their elasticity, stickiness and hydrophobicity at nano- to microscale using atomic force microscopy adapted for the rough surfaces of soil particles,
(iii) the novel use of a picoliter goniometer to show hydrophobic effects at a 1 um diameter droplet level, which avoids the averaging over soil cores and particles evident in microliter goniometry, with which the results are compared,
(iv) measurements at core scale using water retention and wicking experiments, and
(v) the interpretation, integration and upscaling of the results using a development of the PoreXpert void network model, a significant advance on the Van Genuchten approach.
Exploitation Route The project has not yet finished. During the planned remaining active time of the project, the results will be incorporated into the JULES hydrological model of the UK Meteorological Office, used to predict flooding for different soil types and usage. All of the key findings within this project provide an important base for further research into soil hydrophobicity at different length scales, and of ways of understanding the interplay of the effects at these different scales, both through an understanding of the processes, and how they upscale, and also by the use of scalable models. The input to JULES will generate direct societal impact, in that it will refine the Met Office forecasting of flood likelihood under moderate rainfall conditions.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description Material outputs of the project have been trialled for coating and/or adhesive properties in material manufacturing, esp in the defence sector.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Oxford Instruments AFM Training Workshop Grenoble 2018
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The research outputs leading to eg the publication in Nanoscale has resulted in an invitation from the instrument maker to train the next generation of AFM specialists including academics and people from industry interested in surface characterization using AFM in new and demanding applications on heterogeneous materials. Dr Andrea Gazze was one of the trainers in this workshop, thereby improving the education and skills level of 60-100 participants at international (European) level. The training consisted of: Day 1: Material Research: Electrical Modes, PFM for Semiconductors and Ferroelectrics Applications Day 2: Various Applications from Soft Materials, Polymers, Minerals to Calcite Growth The training activity led furthermore to exchange of contacts with geochemical experts interested in using this tool (AFM) for soil studies for novel collaborations.
URL https://afm.oxinst.com/events-and-workshops/grenoble-workshop
 
Description Policy Steering Group 'A Sustainable Future: The role of microbiology in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals'
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact This NERC Award provided expertise and knowledge towards policy development led by the Microbiology Society towards 'A Sustainable Future: The role of microbiology in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals' https://microbiologysociety.org/our-work/75th-anniversary-a-sustainable-future.html A collection of publications was advised on and made available via the URL below, resulting in increased public engagement and article views. The Policy Report is currently under development, through a series of workshops with stakeholder participation, focussing on Soil health, Circular Bio-Economy and AMR.
URL https://www.scienceopen.com/search#collection/f0f13af8-325b-4492-8b46-6d7fa1881bbc
 
Title Quantitative nanomechanical atomic force microscopy methodology for soil 
Description Trialled QNM-AFM on different soil types, established how to avoid creation of artefact images/data, data processing 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact A manuscript describing the methodology is in preparation and will be submitted for publication to enable other groups to use. A manuscript on the opportunities QNM-AFM offers to soil and microbial sciences has been published in 2016. 
URL http://www.microbiologysociety.org/publication/past-issues/future-tech.html
 
Title complementary total metaprotein extraction methodology for soil 
Description Developed and trialled total metaprotein extraction methodology for soils 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact A manuscript describing the methodology is in preparation and will be submitted soon for publication to enable other groups to use. Datasets resulting from the method have been shared already with researchers at other universities to enable in-depth exploration of the data beyond the scope of our current project. 
 
Title ultrahydrophobic/amyloid protein extraction methodology for soil 
Description Developed and trialled ultrahydrophobic/amyloid protein extraction methodology for soils 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Furthing funding received, method now being applied in full scale. A manuscript describing the methodology is in preparation and will be submitted for publication to enable other groups to use. 
 
Title ProteomeXchange PRIDE accession number PXD017392 (wettable Park Grass Experiment soil metaproteome) 
Description We have developed and applied parallel protein extraction methods to increase the diversity of proteins identified from a wettable sample of Park Grass Experiment (PGE) soil. The combined modified protein extraction method, heat/thaw/phenol/chloroform (HTPC), with the established Surfactant extraction method, yielded a data set of identified proteins after peptide matching to a custom made reference soil proteome resulting from relevant annotated soil metagenome sequences, including the PGE soil metagenome. This soil metaproteome data set entry comprises all proteins identified in the PGE soil sample which was taken when the soil was in a wettable/wetted state. Project DOI: 10.6019/PXD017392 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The data set can be explored and exploited by anyone. As the entry is very recent, notable impact has not yet been generated. 
URL http://central.proteomexchange.org/cgi/GetDataset?ID=PXD017392
 
Title metaproteome 1 
Description metaproteomic identifications with GO numbers allowing detailed analyses 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Exploratory collaboration agreed initially with other HEI for data analyses beyond project-specific objectives 
 
Description National Botanic Garden of Wales collaboration 
Organisation National Botanic Garden of Wales
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution PDRA Quinn and support techniccal staff have visited NBGW many times for sampling of land owned by NBGW.
Collaborator Contribution NBGW allowed access to land and permission to sample their land.
Impact Research activities are still ongoing, therefore no outputs or outcomes to report on.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Rothamsted Research collaboration 
Organisation Rothamsted Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution PI GVK and PDRA Quinn have visited RRes twice for sampling land owned by RRes.
Collaborator Contribution RRes allowed access to land and permission to sample a well-studied area which will yield metadata.
Impact Research activities are still ongoing, therefore no outputs or outcomes to report on.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Transatlantic collaboration partnership leading to NSF proposal submission 
Organisation Argonne National Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I (GvK) and a Swansea university academic linked but unnamed to this NERC award established a new interdisciplinary partnership between Swansea University, the British Geological Survey, the University of Chicago (USA) and the Argonne national labs (USA). The aim of the partnership was to advance on the research outcomes of this NERC award, specifically the ultraproteomics results, in providing the biomolecular rationale for development and building of a novel species-agnostic biosensor for soil water repellency for a research proposal submitted to the USA-UK NSF funding call 'Signals in the Soil (SitS)' PROGRAM SOLICITATION NSF 19-556. I informed the partnership of our proteomic results and wrote and edited the relevant parts of the proposal text.
Collaborator Contribution BGS has provided information on knowledge on soil survey samples from the UK and overseas of interest to the partnership, and contributed to the rationale and drafting of the proposal. UniChicago/Argonne provided information and knowledge on the physics and material science of building a biosensor, how to capture data from remote sensors, provided insights into the computational framework required, and was the main driver to the drafting and submission of the proposal to NSF.
Impact Interdisciplinary, transatlantic partnership established. Partnership resulted in proposal submission to NSF, which was alas not recommended for funding. Disciplines involved: microbiology, proteomics, soil sciences, climate change, physics, computing science, nanosciences, biosensors, remote sensing.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Transatlantic collaboration partnership leading to NSF proposal submission 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I (GvK) and a Swansea university academic linked but unnamed to this NERC award established a new interdisciplinary partnership between Swansea University, the British Geological Survey, the University of Chicago (USA) and the Argonne national labs (USA). The aim of the partnership was to advance on the research outcomes of this NERC award, specifically the ultraproteomics results, in providing the biomolecular rationale for development and building of a novel species-agnostic biosensor for soil water repellency for a research proposal submitted to the USA-UK NSF funding call 'Signals in the Soil (SitS)' PROGRAM SOLICITATION NSF 19-556. I informed the partnership of our proteomic results and wrote and edited the relevant parts of the proposal text.
Collaborator Contribution BGS has provided information on knowledge on soil survey samples from the UK and overseas of interest to the partnership, and contributed to the rationale and drafting of the proposal. UniChicago/Argonne provided information and knowledge on the physics and material science of building a biosensor, how to capture data from remote sensors, provided insights into the computational framework required, and was the main driver to the drafting and submission of the proposal to NSF.
Impact Interdisciplinary, transatlantic partnership established. Partnership resulted in proposal submission to NSF, which was alas not recommended for funding. Disciplines involved: microbiology, proteomics, soil sciences, climate change, physics, computing science, nanosciences, biosensors, remote sensing.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Transatlantic collaboration partnership leading to NSF proposal submission 
Organisation University of Chicago
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I (GvK) and a Swansea university academic linked but unnamed to this NERC award established a new interdisciplinary partnership between Swansea University, the British Geological Survey, the University of Chicago (USA) and the Argonne national labs (USA). The aim of the partnership was to advance on the research outcomes of this NERC award, specifically the ultraproteomics results, in providing the biomolecular rationale for development and building of a novel species-agnostic biosensor for soil water repellency for a research proposal submitted to the USA-UK NSF funding call 'Signals in the Soil (SitS)' PROGRAM SOLICITATION NSF 19-556. I informed the partnership of our proteomic results and wrote and edited the relevant parts of the proposal text.
Collaborator Contribution BGS has provided information on knowledge on soil survey samples from the UK and overseas of interest to the partnership, and contributed to the rationale and drafting of the proposal. UniChicago/Argonne provided information and knowledge on the physics and material science of building a biosensor, how to capture data from remote sensors, provided insights into the computational framework required, and was the main driver to the drafting and submission of the proposal to NSF.
Impact Interdisciplinary, transatlantic partnership established. Partnership resulted in proposal submission to NSF, which was alas not recommended for funding. Disciplines involved: microbiology, proteomics, soil sciences, climate change, physics, computing science, nanosciences, biosensors, remote sensing.
Start Year 2019
 
Description further data exploration 
Organisation Aberystwyth University
Department Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Soil proteomic datasets
Collaborator Contribution Further bioinformatic exploration of said datasets
Impact Incomplete, nothing to report yet.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Clwyd Primary School Yr6 visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact About 25 pupils from Yr6 Clwyd Primary school attended Swansea University's Institute of Life Science, where pupils took part in three rotation hands-on activities in surface water repellency, cardiology, and microneedle development, which sparked the pupils' enthusiasm for STEM subjects, encouraged thinking of studying for a university degree in STEM subjects. The school teachers reported increased interest in the subject areas and keenness for future visits.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://twitter.com/ClwydPrimary/status/918771643547291648
 
Description Departmental seminar at University of Groningen, Netherlands Dec 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Discussions on microbiology studies over magnitudes of scale in soil.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description FEMS2015 presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 2500 microbiologists attended the conference, with the contribution available throughout 2 days of the conference, possible reach to all delegates, received enquiries about data sets and methodologies used, invited to discussion on international collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Highlighted Talk at European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presented to general assembly of european geoscientists in session on interdisciplinarity in soil water repllency on 'An integrated, cross-disciplinary study of soil hydrophobicity at atomic, molecular, core and landscape scales' providing an overview of the funded project's results. The output sparked discussions, afterwards requests made for new collaborations and invitations to speak.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2017/session/24665
 
Description Hosted specialist symposium session at EGU2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation keynote/invited speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Co-I Stefan Doerr has co-organised a specialist symposium at the 2014 European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna (Austria).

'SSS7.4/HS8.3.14 Soil water repellency in a changing climate: occurrence and interactions with extreme meteorological and hydrological events'.

Abstracts for this session will be available online to the general public.

Participants reported improved knowledge of soil water repellency issues and understanding.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2014/session/14868
 
Description ISBA17/2014 conference poster presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact ~700 microbiologists attended the conference, with the contribution available throughout the conference, possible reach to all delegates, received enquiries about data sets and methodologies used, invited to discussion on international collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Invited Speaker IUPAB19/EBSA11 Biophysics Congress in Edinburgh in July 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presented to general assembly of european biophysicists in session on synthetic biology on 'Exploiting nano- and macroscale insights into water-repellent microbes and soil for anticorrosion' providing an overview of the funded project's results alongside EPSRC-EngDoc scheme generated outputs. The output sparked discussions, afterwards requests made for new collaborations and invitations to speak.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.iupab2017.org/speakers
 
Description Invited departmental seminar to the Technical University of Delft's Biotechnology department on May 14th 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited talk to address the Biotechnology department at the Technical University Delft in The Netherlands with a talk titled 'Understanding and exploiting microbial modulation of matter and metabolism over magnitudes of scales', preceded and followed by a series of discussion sessions throughout the day with employees and PGR.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited institutional seminar to the Dutch Institute for Ecological Research (NIOO) on Dec 4th 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited talk to address the NIOO Institute with talk titled 'Soil hydrophobicity: Relating effects at atomic, biomolecular and core scales', followed by a series of discussion sessions with employees and PGR.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://nioo.knaw.nl/nl/node/10269
 
Description Invited seminar to the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences of University of Brighton on Nov 30th 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited talk to address the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences of University of Brighton with a talk titled 'Capturing the potential of Streptomyces as soil chemical and material engineers', followed by a discussion session on potential for new collaborations between Swansea and Brighton Universities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Keynote Address MMEG2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact ~70 delegates of mostly early-career microbial ecologists attended the annual MMEG meeting held at Newcastle University in Jan 2017 to learn about novel methods and approaches in microbial ecology, which resulted in great discussions afterwards and changed perceptions of studies over magnitudes of scale. Afterwards an invitation for a departmental seminar was received.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Networking in Workshop The Development of Multidisciplinary Collaborative Research and Monitoring Opportunities between Welsh National Parks and Welsh Academic Institutions 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Participated in discussions and networking to:
? Develop cross-sector collaborative research opportunities driven by the needs of the Welsh National Park Authorities;
? Foster an active environment to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and ideas; and
? Identify key areas of opportunity for monitoring and research which will enable fulfilment of future targets that sustainably support the needs of all stakeholders
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.nrn-lcee.ac.uk/events/nrn-lcee-policy-engagement-workshop-32013
 
Description Oral presentation Biohydrology 2016 conference on AFM in soil 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presented to conference on AFM in soil, many questions afterwards sparking discussions, afterwards requests made for new collaborations and invitations to speak at EGU.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Oral presentation at 18th International Symposium on the Biology of Actinomycetes (ISBA18) South-Korea May 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presented to a regular conference of actinomycetes microbiologists and (bio)chemists in a Workshop on Novel Tools and Approaches on 'Novel Tools and Integrated Approaches Covering Magnitudes of Scale to Understand the Effects of Surface Hydrophobicity' providing an overview of the funded project's results. The output sparked discussions, afterwards requests made for new collaborations and invitations to speak.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://isba2017.org/program/ISBA18_Program_at_a_Glance_(tentative)_170510.pdf
 
Description Organised, delivered and participated in a street science event for public engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 14 Soapbox Scientists delivered 2x30min science talks (with props) to the public on the street, which sparked many questions from and discussions with the audience during and after the talks. Visitors also asked and were explained how the presented research related to their personal experiences.

As a result of organising, delivering and participating our street science event, PI GVK has been asked to appear on BBC Radio Wales Science Cafe program and on a news item for BBC Radio News bulletin.
PI GVK has been approached by local schools for ideas for visiting scientists.
Feedback from visitors (total ~400) to the event indicated that they thought it was a successful event, with scientists being very approachable, and loved to see the event being repeated.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://soapboxscience.org/?page_id=825
 
Description Organised, delivered and presented at a specialist focussed meeting 'Emerging Challenges and Opportunities in Soil Microbiology', held at Loughborough University. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation workshop facilitator
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The 2-day meeting hosted by PI GVK and two more co-organisers sparked many questions and discussion after talks, during the poster session and during social activities. Feedback form the audience was largely positive, enjoyed hearing about the range of different approaches used showcasing investigations from nano- to global scales.
PDRAs Quinn and Hallin were attending, with PDRA Quinn presenting his current findings on a poster.

Delegates asked if further soil microbiology focussed meetings like this could be organised again in the (near) future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.sgm.ac.uk/en/events/conferences/index.cfm/focused-meeting-emerging-challenges-and-opportu...
 
Description Poster presentation and networking at the annual conference of the British Society for Soil Science, Sep 3-4 Manchester 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact The three posters presented by PI GVK (2 posters related to 2 NERC projects, 3rd poster other project) yielded interest from delegates with questions and discussions.

The posters presented by PI GVK and further networking yielded a new collaboration with the British Geological Survey.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Poster presentation at the 5th Congress of European Microbiologists (FEMS 2013) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation poster presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Poster presentation describing the proof-of-concept results from the NERC Small Grant and networking established new contacts for metaproteomic collaboration.


Large conference with excellent opportunities to exchange knowledge with delegates
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www2.kenes.com/fems2013
 
Description Poster presentations at European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presented three posters to general assembly of european geoscientists in session on soil water repellency and advanced imaging techniques for soil titled: 'Increased ambient air temperature alters the severity of soil water repellency', 'Amyloid proteins are highly abundant in water-repellent but not wettable soils: microbial differentiation matters to soils', 'Advances in Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) for investigating soil wettability states and soil organic matter (SOM) properties at the nano-scale'. The outputs sparked discussions, afterwards requests made for new collaborations and invitations to speak.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2017/session/24665
 
Description Seminar for own department 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Overview of project presented to department, sparked discussions, and initiated plans for new proposal development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Soapbox Science Swansea 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact ~400 people from the general public, passers-by, tourists, families on beach walks etc, attended our public science engagement event, which included Van Keulen's 2x30min public debates on soil microbiology and surface-water interactions, that took place on the beach of Swansea Bay. Post-event evaluations showed improved public awareness and follow-up requests for school interactions. Other impact included:

RADIO: Van Keulen interviewed/contributing to BBC Wales Science Café episode 17/06/2014 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b046xrdx

RADIO: Van Keulen interviewed by BBC reporter David Grundy on 04/07/2014 for headlining the morning news items of BBC Radio 'Good Morning Wales' 05/07/2014: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0074hk3

E-ARTICLE: event report by Alice Grey appeared on 16/07/2014: http://www.womanthology.co.uk/neuroscience-graduate-alice-gray-inspirational-welsh-womenscientists-took-soapboxes-spread-word-women-science/

MAGAZINE INTERVIEW: Van Keulen interviewed for magazine Womanthology on past and upcoming event: http://www.womanthology.co.uk/usual-day-beach-dr-geertje-van-keulen-talks-femalescientists-sharing-passion-science-soapbox-science-swansea-bay/

POLITICS: Van Keulen invited to speak about Soapbox Science Swansea at the National Assembly Wales Cross-Party-Group for Science & Technology, presentation delivered 04/03/2015 in Ty Hywel followed by discussion on Women in STEMM and new event organisation in north Wales (invitation via email from Mr Leigh Jeffes, Public Affairs Adviser Wales and Coordinator NAWCPG-S&T, speaker title/biography as minutes available from the committee)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b046xrdx
 
Description Talk at Annual Conference Microbiology Society 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presented to annual conference of microbiologists in session on environmental microbiology on water repellency development in soil over multi-scales. The output sparked discussions, afterwards requests made for new collaborations and invitations to speak.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://microbiologysociety.org/event/annual-conference/annual-conference-2017.html#tab-1
 
Description Talk at instrumentation and user workshop on advances in applications of nanoscale mechanistic measurements 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Andrea Gazze was invited to present the project's developments and research outcomes to a workshop organised by the supplier of instrumentation used, to showcase the major stepchange achieved in how the instrumentation can be used, showing far more heteregeneous materials can be analysed with the instrumentation. Audience awareness on AFM applications outside common ones was grealt improved, eg how the instrument of QNM-AFM can be used, and the implementations needed, to analyse one of the most heterogeneous system , i.e soil.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.bruker.com/
 
Description creation of project website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Project website created by PDRA at Plymouth, with input taken from both HEIs. The website is live, but not all data, relevant outputs and other information has been uploaded yet.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.swr-switch-model.com
 
Description news item in news letter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The news item announced the project start in the Swansea University Research Newsletter (available as hardcopy and electronically)

The story was carried in online news bulletins
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.swansea.ac.uk/media/Momentum%20Issue%2011%20july%20eng.pdf
 
Description poster presentation at 2nd Th√ľnen Symposium on Soil Metagenomics in Braunschweig (Germany) from 11-13 December 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation poster presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Poster presentation at the extremly topical meeting 'Soil Metagenomics' to display initial project progress results on soil proteomic extraction successes to make scientific audience aware of metaproteomic skills, enabling discussion of new collaborative projects and networking.

The meeting was attended by postdoc Dr Quinn who also used the meeting also for personal development and networking opportunities and by PI Van Keulen who orally presented work from a different NERC studentship project on soil antibiosis and proteomics.

The networking activities led on to inviting two invited speakers to the Soil Microbiology conference PI van Keulen has organised and for PI Van Keulen being invited to a 'Perspective' recently submitted to Science and being invited to join a H2020 lobbying initiative.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description poster presentation at Soil Metagenomics conference Dec 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Poster presented on soil metaproteomics to delegates at various career stages, influencing their perceptions on possibilities and approaches in soil ecology and microbiology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description poster presentation project outline 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation poster presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Poster presentation of project outline to make the scientific audience aware of the highly interdisciplinary project and unusual combinations of methods going over different scales.

The meeting was attended by PDRA Dr Gerry Quinn who used the meeting also for personal development and networking opportunities.

establishing network contacts
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://environmentalomics.org/ieos2013
 
Description press release 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The press release 'Scientists dig for the truth behind the cause of soil 'hydrophobia' announced the project start.

The story was carried in online news bulletins
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.swansea.ac.uk/media-centre/news-archive/2013/scientistsdigforthetruthbehindthecauseofsoil...
 
Description public lecture SWMA Oct 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 75~100 people (students, industry, public, etc) attended a public lecture titled 'Perspectives on natural and engineered surface-water interactions' delivered by Van Keulen, organised by the South Wales Materials Association and the Materials and Manufacturing Academy to celebrate the start of the academic year at the newly opened Bay Campus, which sparked questions and a lively discussion, with follow-on requests for research involvement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.facebook.com/events/935942149820208/?ref=1&action_history=%5B%7B%22surface%22%3A%22perma...
 
Description specialist workshop proposal accepted 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact PI GVK has submitted a proposal to the Society of General Microbiology for organisation of a specialist workshop on the topic of Soil Microbiology with focus on advanced technology applications in soil ecology, hydrology and nutrient cycling. SGM has awarded this proposal and has given its highest tier of support for the meeting.

The title of the specialist workshop is 'Emerging Challenges and Opportunities in Soil Microbiology'.

The meeting will take place on Sep 1-2 2014, speakers are currently being invited. Specialists, stakeholders and other interested organisations will be invited to the meeting.

PI GVK and her co-organisers were financially supported to organise and host a specialist workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014