The role of Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (AM) in drought alleviation in crops: identifying the underpinning physiological mechanisms

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Animal and Plant Sciences


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011151/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
1723688 Studentship BB/M011151/1 30/09/2015 31/10/2022 Elizabeth Jessica Parker
Description "Science on the Farm" activity packs 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We created 50 activity packs to help farmers deliver science activities at LEAF Open Farm Sunday events. The packs included 2 A0 posters about the importance of soils for food production and other ecosystem services, plus an A4 brochure with details and illustrations of how to set up cheap and easy soil science experiments for public events. LEAF commissioned and distributed the packs to farmers nationwide with support from a BBSRC "Science on the Farm" grant. In addition, a digital copy of the brochure was supplied online via the LEAF website to reach a wider audience. Twitter feedback after the Open Farm Sunday event showed that many farmers had displayed the posters (for example on farms in Cornwall and Pershore) and some had use the brochure to replicate the science activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
Description Soil science activities at Our Cow Molly farm (Open farm Sunday event) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Research staff and students from our lab group helped to deliver soil science activities at the Our Cow Molly farm Open Farm Sunday event (in both 2016 and 2017). Activities included: "what can you find in the soil?" (searching for mini-beasts in trays of soil to look at under microscopes), "what can you see in the soil?" (large mural with a challenge to identify different organisms that depend on soil, plus factsheets and colouring activities), "root viewing rhizotron" (different crops grown between perspex so the roots can be compared), and "#pasturepot" (small biodegradable ice-cream tubs with Our Cow Molly branding and grass seed distributed to public in advance via retailers so that people could "grow the grass that helps produce your ice-cream" - people brought their grass along to plant on the farm). Whilst running the activities, staff and students were regularly engaged in conversations about science and their own work in particular. Much of the feedback we received highlighted how families had come to participate in activities for the children but that adults had left with a heightened interest/ understanding of soil and plant science research. In the second year, many families said they had remembered the activities from the year before and had specifically come to have another go. In 2016 we monitored children's participation by giving stickers to children who came and participated in the activities (e.g. had a go, asked a question, looked at a poster) - we gave out 350 stickers. We also gave out over 200 fact sheets. We gathered informal feedback from twitter for example: "she was fascinated! Brilliant"; "Wonderful day @OpenFarmSunday @OurCowMolly @P3_PlantScience - budding farmers & scientists! #OFS16". We were asked back again for 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017