Team profile

Julia Cooper

Job title:

Head of Research

Academic qualifications:

BSc Agr. Major: Soil Science, Minor: International Agriculture, University of Guelph, Canada

MSc Biology, Thesis: Fertilization with fresh and composted chicken manure: Effect on soil fertility and mixed hay quality, Dalhousie University, Canada

PhD Biology, Thesis: The role of temperature in C and N mineralization from selected arable Nova Scotia soils, Dalhousie University, Canada

Role and responsibilities:

I lead research activities at ORC relating to the diversification of cropping systems as a key component of agroecological production systems. I am particularly interested in how we can design cropping systems that meet multiple objectives of building soil quality, mitigating climate change, enhancing biodiversity, and optimizing water quality while providing sustainable livelihoods for UK farmers.

Research interests:

My area of expertise is soil C and N cycling in agricultural systems with an emphasis on agroecological strategies for improving soil health and nutrient use efficiency. I am interested in using our understanding of the fundamental biological processes that happen in agricultural soils to design cropping systems where C and N cycle to optimize crop production and health and minimize environmental impacts. I’m keen on using my work at ORC to help build a strong and robust evidence base around the management practices that really benefit soil health and crop production.

Interests outside of ORC:

I am a keen allotment gardener where I enjoy putting my knowledge about composting and soils to practical use in the vegetable patch. I also always have a few backyard hens that keep us supplied with eggs. I like to be active and I spend a lot of time on the tennis court, although this doesn’t translate to much match success! I am active on Twitter where I follow many innovative farmers and scientists and try to inject a bit of realism into some of the interesting discussions around crop diversity and soil health. Follow me there: @JuliaSoilsister