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agroecology

Ecological Sciences (Research Page)

Ecological Sciences (ES) is a multi-disciplinary group of over 80 researchers with a unique breadth of scientific expertise, skills and knowledge in the ecology, physiology and systematics of microbes, lichens, fungi, plants, inve ... Read more

Aberdeen Entomological Club: Marvellous Mud Snails (Event)

Alasdair Lemon from Buglife will deliver this Entomological Club seminar entitled “Marvellous Mud Snails”. It will be held at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee (and screened to the Institute’s Aberdeen site). ... Read more

Field Lab: Plant Teams (Event)

The James Hutton Institute is teaming up with the Soil Association Scotland on a field lab, part of a Europe-wide project, to trial crop mixtures or ‘plant teams’. Researchers want to test the potential that inter-crop ... Read more

Calling on farmers and field managers: join the Plant Teams Field Lab (News)

The James Hutton Institute is teaming with Soil Association Scotland and Scotland's Rural College to work with farmers in a Field Lab to trial crop mixtures or ‘plant teams’. Field Labs are free to attend and open ... Read more

Crop mixtures and evolution can improve agricultural productivity (News)

Farmers and land managers can improve agricultural productivity by using crop mixtures and taking into consideration the role of evolution in shaping the plants they grow, new research by James Hutton Institute scientists and part ... Read more

Aberdeen Entomological Club: Fleas (Event)

Norman Defoe will deliver this Aberdeen Entomological Club seminar entitled “Fleas”. It will be held at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen (and screened to the Institute’s Dundee site). Fleas are of medical ... Read more

New transparent soil technology to help fight nematodes and other soil pests (News)

Scientists from the James Hutton Institute have developed a screening system which uses transparent soil technology to help fight nematodes - microscopic worms that are harmful to plants, damaging about 10% of susceptible crops an ... Read more

Plant-aphid-environment interactions (Event)

Daniel Leybourne from our Ecological Sciences Group will deliver this Entomological Club seminar entitled “Plant-aphid-environment interactions”. It will be held at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee (and screened to ... Read more

Cereals in Practice 2018 (Event)

Cereals in Practice is the annual showcase of variety trials and research organised by the James Hutton Institute, SRUC (Scotland's Rural College) and the Scottish Society for Crop Research. ... Read more

A tale of two beetles (Event)

Katrina Dainton from Forest Research will deliver this Aberdeen Entomological Club seminar entitled “A tale of two beetles”. It will be held at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee (and screened to the Institute’ ... Read more

Organic phosphorus key to future food security and sustainability (News)

Research into organic phosphorus is key to ensure future food security and environmental sustainability, according to an international group of scientists led by researchers at the James Hutton Institute, Lancaster University&rsqu ... Read more

The challenge of marginal land: efficient utilisation of the managed natural environment (News)

Research projects aiming to provide land managers with alternatives for efficient land management of upland systems will be presented at an event titled "The Challenge of Marginal Land: efficient utilisation of the managed na ... Read more

Come and experience the power of plants on Plant Power Day (News)

The James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee are taking part in the international Fascination of Plants Day on Sunday 21st May with a celebration of the power of plants. The free 'Plant Power’ event set amid ... Read more

Berries may be beneficial for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity (News)

Consumption of berries may have beneficial effects on health related to type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. The beneficial effects may be due to the presence of protective pol ... Read more

Background (Page)

The long-term viability of farming in Scotland depends on the sustainable management of our agricultural habitats. We need to achieve a balance between maximising crop production, conserving arable biodiversity and maintaining eco ... Read more

Decision to keep beavers in Scotland welcomed by Hutton scientists (News)

Scientists at the James Hutton Institute have welcomed the Scottish Government's decision to allow beavers to remain in Argyll and Tayside as a protected species, but warned continued long-term monitoring and active manag ... Read more

"Landscape management for functional biodiversity": the 7th IOBC-WPRS Working Group Meeting (Event)

Only 1 day to go! We're looking forward to welcoming all our delegates to Dundee. The next meeting of the IOBC-WPRS Working Group, in conjunction with the British Ecological Society Agricultural Ecology Special Interest Grou ... Read more

Potatosize (Research Page)

The PotatoSize app provides potato growers with information on the proportion of their crop that lies within each size range of interest. It uses image analysis to interpret a photo of potatoes sampled in the field. Development wa ... Read more

More needed to promote sustainable food production, Hutton scientists say (News)

More needs to be done to promote sustainable food production if we are to solve the apparent conflict between the interests of nature and those of modern agriculture, according to researchers at the James Hutton Institute. This wa ... Read more

Building mycological capacity for sustainable resource management in Laos (News)

A research project that aims to develop mycological capacity and promote sustainable resource management in the Lao People's Democratic Republic has made significant progress, with two researchers from the National University ... Read more

Come and experience the power of plants on Plant Power Day (News)

The James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee are coming together in the name of ‘Plant Power’. They will be hosting an event on Saturday May 21st at Dundee Botanic Garden to highlight how fascinating plant ... Read more

Evaluating Peatland Management for Multiple Ecosystem Services (Event)

Ainoa Pravia from the Ecological Sciences Group, James Hutton Institute, will deliver this Aberdeen Entomological Club seminar entitled “Evaluating peatland management for multiple ecosystem services”. It will be held ... Read more

Dragonflies and damselflies of North East Scotland (Event)

Juliette Dinning will deliver this Aberdeen Entomological Club seminar entitled “Dragonflies and damselflies of north east Scotland”. It will be held at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen (and screened to the Insti ... Read more

Dispelling the myths: a new look at wood ants (Event)

Dr Jenni Stockan from the Environmental and Biochemical Sciences Group, James Hutton Institute, will deliver this Aberdeen Entomological Club seminar entitled “Dispelling the myths: a new look at wood ants”. It will be ... Read more

Biodiversity theme day – Botany, Bugs and Biodiversity (Event)

The croplands around Scotland’s coasts are an ancient form of managed land. Hunting communities occupied the area after the last ice retreated. Farmers arrived 5000-6000 years ago, bringing their crop seed with them. For tho ... Read more

Staff and Students (Research Page)

Staff For students, follow the link here: Students ... Read more

Our Science (Research Page)

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Research Facilities (Research Page)

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Research uncovers patterns of pest infestation in yard-long beans (News)

Protein dense yard-long beans offer an affordable source of vitamins, particularly in South Asia where the crops thrive. However, the bean pod borer, Maruca vitrata, threatens the production of these vitamin-rich legumes, with pot ... Read more

Where in the UK are New Zealand flatworms and what are they up to? (News)

Members of the public are being asked to help researchers pinpoint just how far a species that wound up in the UK unintentionally has travelled across the country. The New Zealand Flatworm arrived on British soil over half a cen ... Read more

Let’s celebrate food and soil on Open Farm Sunday (News)

Fancy a great day out in Dundee? Do you want to learn where your food comes from? Then don’t miss Open Farm Sunday on 7 June, 10am to 4pm, when the James Hutton Institute will open its site in Invergowrie to visitors of all ... Read more

Stable isotopes and P cycling in the soil/plant system (Event)

In this seminar, hosted by Courtney Giles and Tim George from our Ecological Sciences group, ​Dr Federica Tamburini (ETH Zurich) will discuss a novel technique that uses oxygen stable isotopes to investigate the P cycle in ... Read more

Ten-year experiment identifies optimum upland farming system (News)

A study carried out over a 10-year period by ecologists at the James Hutton Institute and the universities of Hull and Aberdeen has shown that grazing a mixture of sheep and cattle, at low intensity, is the best approach for ... Read more

Hutton researchers promote UK-India dialogue on pollinators (News)

Land use and ecological surveys are urgently required to assess the ecology of pollinating insects within and around agricultural systems in India. That is one of the aims of the UK-Indian Initiative in Agroecology, whose first me ... Read more

2015 CLS/Hutton Distinguished Lecture: The Microbiome in Health and Agriculture (Event)

Dr Jack A Gilbert, leader of the Hospital Microbiome Project, Earth Microbiome Project, Home Microbiome Project, and co-founder of American Gut will be visiting Dundee to deliver the 2015 CLS/Hutton Distinguished Lecture on T ... Read more

Addressing complex real-world problems: a new discipline, a repository and you (Event)

This seminar by Professor Gabriele Bammer will discuss our ability to contribute effectively to the resolution of complex real-world problems, and will propose the development of a new science discipline around integration and imp ... Read more

So really, what does ‘natural’ actually mean? (News)

We all think we have some idea of what ‘natural’ is, whether it’s the green meadows we pass by on the train or the fresh and colourful vegetables we pick out in the market. However, our countryside and the food w ... Read more

Mexico and UK in joint effort against plant diseases (News)

Plant diseases cost the world enough food to feed at least half a billion people, equivalent to 100 times the population of Scotland, every year. The interaction between plants, microbes and insects is a key battleground in the gl ... Read more

Books and Book Chapters (Research Page)

Water Ecosystem Services - A Global Perspective ... Read more

Dr Helaina Black appointed Ecological Sciences group leader (News)

Senior soil ecologist Dr Helaina Black has been appointed to the leadership of the Ecological Sciences group at the James Hutton Institute, following the retirement of Dr Pete Goddard. ... Read more

Slovenian researchers visit to discuss CropSustaIn progress (News)

Researchers from the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (AIS) visited the James Hutton Institute as part of the CropSustaIn project, which looks into alternatives for sustainable crop production in Slovenia in the face of global c ... Read more

Conservation heroes honoured at Nature of Scotland Awards (News)

Conservation heroes from across the country were honoured last night at the third annual RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards, where Professor Iain Gordon, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, presented the Innovation Award to ... Read more

Soils@Hutton - Soil Information and Education (Research Page)

Introduction to Soils Exploring Scotland's Soils ... Read more

Soils@Hutton - Soil and food security (Research Page)

Soils & Sustainable production ... Read more

Agricultural journalists see environmental science in practice at Glensaugh (News)

International agricultural journalists had a unique opportunity to see environmental science in action at the James Hutton Institute farm at Glensaugh, as part of the activities organised during the International Federation of Agr ... Read more

Best Young Mycologist in Europe accolade for researcher (News)

A scientist from the James Hutton Institute has been named the best young mycologist in Europe and joined an elite group of only six researchers around the world to be awarded a similar accolade for their continent. Dr Alison Be ... Read more

Raspberry IPM system featured in global hub (News)

James Hutton Institute senior research entomologist, Professor Nick Birch, has been nominated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to present his Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme for raspb ... Read more

€3 million project underway to enhance wild plant seed industries (News)

A new EU training-partnership including the James Hutton Institute aims to promote wild plant conservation underpinned by the use of native plant seeds. The programme will train a new generation of higher level researchers, improv ... Read more

'Collaborative roots' could reduce reliance on phosphorus fertilisers (News)

Farmers could improve the efficiency of phosphorus in crop production by coupling plants with complementary traits, which would allow them to harness the ‘phosphorus bank’ already present in soils. ... Read more

The Atlantic Maritime Croplands – sustainability and environment (Research Page)

A case study on sustainable agriculture and the environment at the James Hutton Institute ... Read more

Vibrant Rural Communities workshop (Research Page)

A workshop was held at Birnam Arts and Conference Centre on 20 November 2013 to provide an update on research being conducted as part of the Vibrant Rural Communities theme of the Food, Land and People Strategic Research programme ... Read more

LandSFACTS downloads (Research Page)

The LandSFACTS software is available in several formats: with graphical interface, helpfile and tutorial [XP, W7], cf. below command-line [XP, W7, W7 x64, Linux x64], by request dynamic libraries [XP, W7, W7 x64, Linux x ... Read more

LandSFACTS publications (Research Page)

Publications relating to the LandSFACTS model. ... Read more

LandSFACTS model details (inputs/outputs) (Research Page)

The LandsFACTS model was originally (v1.6) set up to simulate cropping systems at the landscape scale. Since 2007, it was further developed to allow modelling land uses at multiple scales within an evolving environment. The diagra ... Read more

LandSFACTS (Research Page)

LANDscape Scale Functional Allocation of Crops Temporally and Spatially ... Read more

Scenarios and land use futures (Research Page)

Environmental, economic and social issues associated with agriculture are often fundamental for rural prosperity and sustainability, with consequent implications for any debate about future land use. A key to supporting the planni ... Read more

Realising Land's Potential stakeholder engagement events (Research Page)

Stakeholder engagement events relating to theme topics Health and wellbeing conferences and workshops Date Title Theme role Venue 25 November 2013 ... Read more

Bacterial endosymbionts and beneficial insects (Research Page)

A promising area for managing insect pests is through improved understanding of the importance of microbes associated with insects. Many insect species rely on symbiotic bacteria for their survival and these ‘hidden players& ... Read more

Agroecology publications (Research Page)

Below is a sample of recent peer reviewed publications by staff working in the Agroecology Group.  ... Read more

Agroecology funding (Research Page)

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Students and teaching (Research Page)

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Staff, capability, infrastructure (Research Page)

We are mainly biologists, quantitative ecologists and mathematical modellers, whose scales of interest range from landscape to community and organism. Recent changes ... Read more

Exploiting plant traits to improve pest biocontrol (Research Page)

Exploiting genetic variation in the ability of plants to resist or tolerate attack by pests and pathogens has long been a focus of crop breeding programmes, although the genetic basis for plant resistance is often poorly-understoo ... Read more

Integrated pest management - weeds (Research Page)

Expertise and capability at the James Hutton institute, Dundee ... Read more

IPM in the agroecosystem (Research Page)

IPM is also about managing the other species in agroecosystem and not just the crop and visible weeds, pathogens, pests and their symptoms. It should also include management of: ... Read more

Towards new variety ideotypes of pea and faba bean for agroecological cropping systems: Traits related to nitrogen acquisition and seed composition (Event)

This seminar given by Gerard Duc and Pascal Marget of INRA, France at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, will mostly addressing plant breeding and agronomy for an audience of scientists, breeders or advisers. It will be broadca ... Read more

Data and Archived Sample Requests (Page)

The core dataset of soil, plant and invertebrate data and samples that are collected every year from the CSC are archived and databased for future research projects on long-term trends and to allow exploration of links between dif ... Read more

Transparent soils (Research Page)

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Mountain hares (Research Page)

The Scottish mountain hare, Lepus timidus scoticus, is a subspecies of the mountain hare Lepus timidus and is native to the Highlands of Scotland. Although widespread throughout Scotland, they are typically more numerous in centra ... Read more

Glen Finglas - experimental design (Research Page)

The experiment involves 24 grazing enclosures, measuring 3.3 ha each. There are four grazing treatments with six replicates of each. These are positioned in three blocks of two replicates each, located in different parts of the es ... Read more

ESMART: web tools and apps for the Scottish environment (Research Page)

E-SMART: Environmental Sensing for Monitoring and Advising in Real-Time ... Read more

Current projects (Page)

An annual report on all Centre for Sustainable Cropping projects and activities is published in January for the previous calendar year (available on request). ... Read more

Information for new projects (Page)

To avoid duplication of effort or potential interference between projects, we have put in place the following procedure for new projects on the CSC. 1. Discuss your project requirements with the co-ordinator (Cathy Hawes). ... Read more

Tools (Research Page)

We are developing systems for live imaging of plant processes. We develop new substrate that facilitate observation of roots and apply a range of imaging techniques to make quantitative measurements. We have de ... Read more

Plant Soil Ecology (Research Page)

Increasing global demand for food, feed and energy crops requires sustainable intensification of agriculture, which must occur without impact on biodiversity or the environment. We have a strong research team that integrates kn ... Read more

Soil forensics (Research Page)

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Contact (Page)

If you are interested in contributing to the Centre for Sustainable Cropping and would like to make use of this long-term resource, please contact Cathy Hawes in the first instance. For more information please follow the followi ... Read more

News (Page)

Members of the team can access agendas and actions for Centre for Sustainable Cropping meetings here (from within The James Hutton Institute) or here (if accessing from outwith the Institute). ... Read more

People and research groups (Page)

Agroecology Graham Begg: Landscape scale population dynamics of plant, arthropod and mammal taxa; patterns of habitat use and dispersal between them; spatial population dynamic models. Measurements: Plant, arthropod and mammal f ... Read more

Environmental data (Page)

Soil temperature and moisture content are influenced by soil management and affect many system processes including microbial and invertebrate activity, nutrient and water uptake by plants and plant growth. These variables are meas ... Read more

Farm operations (Page)

All farm operations and inputs are recorded for each crop and treatment. Economic sustainability will be assessed through calculations of gross margins based on all input costs (seed, fertiliser, crop protection, tractor time and ... Read more

Crop development, yield and quality (Page)

The primary goal of sustainable arable management is to produce good quality food at high yields and with high long-term yield stability. To achieve this, the environment in which the crop is grown needs to be maintained rather th ... Read more

Soil (Page)

Soil Microbial Diversity ... Read more

Insects (Page)

Pitfall Trapping ... Read more

Margin vegetation (Page)

Perennial vegetation in the field margin is a major contributor to biodiversity in arable landscapes and performs a range of important functions including provision of resources for pollinators and natural enemies that forage with ... Read more

Weeds (Page)

Within-field Weeds Weeds are an essential component of arable biodiversity, respond rapidly to changes in management and influence many system processes including nutrient retention and cycling, pest and natural enemy population ... Read more

Datasets (Page)

The basic minimum dataset to be collected and archived from the Centre for Sustainable Cropping every year is listed below. This will form a long-term, spatially referenced dataset, collected according to standardised sampling pro ... Read more

The Sustainable Cropping System (Page)

Data from the published literature and existing field trials are used to select management options for inclusion in the sustainable cropping system. Each is chosen with a view to improving specific aspects of environmental and eco ... Read more

Agroecology (Research Page)

Latest .... major success so far in EU H2020 bids .... TRUE, DIVERSIFY and TOMRES .... details to follow .... Newton projects begin March 2017 ....  success for doctoral students ... ... Read more

Design and Crops (Page)

The Centre for Sustainable Cropping comprises a 42 hectare block of six fields in the south-east of Balruddery Farm. The effects of sustainable (S) versus conventional (C) cropping systems are tested using a split-field design ove ... Read more

The Centre for Sustainable Cropping: a long-term platform for research on arable sustainability (Page)

For all enquiries and for access to fields, data or archived material, please contact Dr Cathy Hawes The Centre for Sustainable Cropping is an experimental research platform at Balruddery Farm near Dundee, Scotland.  The fa ... Read more

Balruddery Research Farm (Page)

Balruddery Research Farm is an 170 ha arable farm located seven miles west of Dundee and between 70 and 124m above sea level on the lower slopes of the Sidlaw Hills. There are 23 fields varying in size from 2.0 ha to 11 ha. The so ... Read more

Glensaugh News 28 February 2011 (Page)

At Glensaugh we have started calving our suckler cows. The latest bovine celebrity is L5 who calved a pair of Charolais twins. Multiple births in hill cows are regarded as a disaster because the demands of two calves (who incident ... Read more

Glensaugh News 20 December 2010 (Page)

At Glensaugh a new production year has begun with the tupping of our ewes with the tupps (rams) introduced into the Cheviot and blackface flocks. The date for the tupping of hill ewes is “set in stone” (usually 22 Nove ... Read more


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.