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Title: Optimising plant and soil management
Author: Heppell, James
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 6577
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is an accumulation of work regarding the role of phosphorus (P) and water in soils in relation to crop growth and food production. We use a multiscale modelling approach to initially capture the interactions of soil and water on a single cylindrical root and further expand to a growing root structure. Moreover, we have a multi-physics problem involving fluid dynamics of water uptake in plants, and reactive solute transport in the soil for plant P uptake. We use detailed climate data and the super computer at the University of Southampton (Iridis 4) to parameterise our models. These facilities allow us to analyse the root structure as well as P and water in the soil in great detail. The collaboration of mathematics, biology and operational research makes it possible to complete this project. The analytical models recently developed within our group have shown to agree remarkably well with full 3D simulation models. These analytical models help provide the structure for the models used within this thesis and will for the first time enable us to start using optimisation techniques to find the optimal conditions for increasing plant P uptake efficiency. By using mathematical models to predict plant P and water uptake within the soil, we have addressed a number of questions surrounding the optimal plant root structure for P accumulation, and the survival of crops in a low P environment. In addition, we were able to predict the behaviour of water in the soil over the course of a full year. And finally, utilising all the above, we have outlined the optimal fertiliser and soil management strategy.
Supervisor: Roose, Tiina ; Fliege, Joerg Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA Mathematics ; QH301 Biology