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Malcolm Coull

Staff picture: Malcolm Coull
Information and Computational Sciences
Information and Computational Sciences
+44 (0)1224 395143

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Current research interests

I come from a background in soils (I studied Soil Science at the University of Aberdeen) and now manage the National Soils Database of Scotland as well as helping oversee access to the National Soil Archive. The Institute continues to try and make both its data and samples more accessible to everybody, and I am in the process of working towards making our datasets more open and accessible, as well as compliant with the INSPIRE directive along with Allan Lilly and David Donnelly.
I have three main personal research interests. The first is making 'technical' soils: using things which are normally thoughts of as wastes, like construction waste and compost, to make substances which do the same jobs for us as real soils - for example growing plants, filtering pollutants, possibly even capturing carbon. I work on this along with  Luke Beesley and Ben Butler.
The second is trying to relate environmental data to the spread and survival of diseases in the environment. I am working on a system to collect data using remote sensors to help in the early detection of the symptoms of Johnes disease in cattle, with the help of the Institute's electronics engineer David Drummond. I also work with Eulyn Pagaling, Lisa Avery and Rupert Hough on anti-microbial resistance (AMR) in Scottish soils.
The third is using spatial data to solve environmental problems. I work with Geographic Information Systems (such as ArcGIS and QGIS) and databases (Oracle and PostgreSQL) to help combine different datasets in new ways to answer questions relating to soil, landcover and climate with a wide range of colleagues, both at the Institute and in our partner organisations, but particularly Matt Aitkenhead.


  • Aitkenhead, M.J.; Donnelly, D.; Coull, M.C.; Gwatkin, R. (2016) Estimating Soil Properties with a Mobile Phone, In: Hartemink, A., Minasny, B. (eds) Digital Soil Morphometrics. Progress in Soil Science. Springer, pp. 89-110
  • Aitkenhead, M.J.; Donnelly, D.; Coull, M.C.; Gwatkin, R. (2016) Estimating soil properties with a mobile phone., In: Hartemink, A. & Minasny, B. (eds.). Digital Soil Morphometrics (Progress in Soil Science). Springer, Chapter 7, pp89-110.
  • Dawson, L.A.; Towers, W.; Owen, J.; White, D.; Coull, M.C.; Ross, J.M.; Donnelly, D.; Cooper, P. (2010) Soils of the crofts., In: Dawson, L.A., Morrice, J. & Rodway, P. Soils of the Crofts. The James Hutton Institute Publication with Crofting Connections, Aberdeen, 130pp.
  • Blackstock, K.L.; Cooksley, S.L.; Langan, S.J.; Marshall, K.B.; Coull, M.C. (2009) CATCH: Integrated catchment planning: a handbook for project officers., Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen, 97p.

Printed from /staff/malcolm-coull on 03/02/23 03:48:06 AM

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.