Soil Scientist

Sustainable Agriculture Sciences


Martin is a soil biogeochemist with a background in phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) cycling. His work focuses on P dynamics in grassland soils and the development of organic P analysis techniques. He is a council member of the British Society of Soil Science and chairs the Southwest England Soils Discussion Group. His interests include phosphorus research in soils and water, especially the role of organic P and its analysis using 31P-NMR and cycling using δ18O-PO4 techniques; effects of soil drying and rewetting on nutrient cycling in soils and losses to surface waters; mitigation of diffuse pollution from agriculture, especially the role and management of buffer strips; nitrogen cycling in fresh and intertidal wetland systems and development of functional assessment procedures for wetland assessment; improving phosphorus use efficiency in agriculture; Ecosystem Services tools for grassland and arable systems; and catchment scale projects for the mitigation of diffuse agricultural pollution and improvement of surface water quality. His current and developing areas of work include novel fertilisers for improving yields and nutritional quality of crops; development of Ecosystem Services tools for grassland and arable systems; determination of better fertiliser recommendations, especially for phosphorus; and improving phosphorus use efficiency and recycling in agriculture.




    +44 (0) 1837 883 522


      North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon, EX20 2SB



        • 2010
          Dixon, E. R.,Blackwell, M. S. A.,Dhanoa, M. S.,Berryman, Z.,De La Fuente-Martinez, N.,Junquera, D.,Martinez, A.,Murray, P. J.,Kemp, H. F.,Meier-Augenstein, W.,Duffy, A.,Bol, R.

          Measurement at the field scale of soil delta13C and delta15N under improved grassland

          Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 24 : pp.511-518
          doi: 10.1002/rcm.4345

        • 2009
          Blackwell, M. S. A.,Williams, J. K.,Snars, K. E.,Brookes, P. C.,De La Fuente-Martinez, N.,Michallon, L.,Murray, P. J.,Haygarth, P. M.

          Significance of root-attached soil and soil preparation for microbial biomass phosphorus measurement

          Soil Science Society of America Journal 73 : pp.1861-1863
          doi: 10.2136/sssaj2009.0021N

        • 2009
          Vega, F. E.,Goettel, M. S.,Blackwell, M. S. A.,Chandler, D.,Jackson, M. A.,Keller, S.,Koike, M.,Maniania, N. K.,Monzon, A.,Ownley, B. H.,Pell, J. K.,Rangel, D. E. N.,Roy, H. E.

          Fungal entomopathogens: new insights on their ecology

          Fungal Ecology 2 : pp.149-159
          doi: 10.1016/j.funeco.2009.05.001

        • 2009
          Blackwell, M. S. A.,Brookes, P. C.,De La Fuente-Martinez, N.,Murray, P. J.,Snars, K. E.,Williams, J. K.,Haygarth, P. M.

          Effects of soil drying and rate of re-wetting on concentrations and forms of phosphorus in leachate

          Biology and Fertility of Soils 45 : pp.635-643
          doi: 10.1007/s00374-009-0375-x

        • 2004
          Kenny, C.,Yamulki, S.,Blackwell, M. S. A.,Maltby, E.,French, P.,Birgand, F.

          The release of nitrous oxide from the intertidal zones of two European estuaries in response to increased ammonium and nitrate loading

          Water, Air and Soil Pollution: Focus 4(6) : pp.61-66

        • 2004
          Bol, R.,Rockmann, T.,Blackwell, M. S. A.,Yamulki, S.

          Influence of flooding on delta15N, delta18O, 1delta15N and 2delta15N signatures of N2O released from estuarine soils - a laboratory experiment using tidal flooding chambers

          Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 18(14) : pp.1561-1568

        • Snars, K. E.,Swain, A.,Brookes, P. C.,Welham, S. J.,Todd, A. D.,Blackwell, M. S. A.,Murraym, P. J.,Williams, J.,Haygarth, P. M.

          Modifications to soil microbial biomass technqie by fumigation-extraction to permit rapid analysis of field soils

          Soil Biology and Biochemistry


        Strategic programme

        • Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems (ASSIST)
        • Soil 2 Nutrition (S2N)

        Science project

        • DTC Implementing Component 2 of Demonstration Test Catchments - to test integrated diffuse pollution migration measures for arable cropping, livestock, dairy and other farming systems
        • Exploiting root exudation of organic acids and phytases to enhance plant utilisation
        • SIP: opportunities and risks for farming and the environment at landscape scales (LM0302)
        • Impacts of different vegetation in riparian buffer strips on hydrology and water quality

        PhD project

        • Ecological Protection of Water Quality
        • Benefits of controlled soil drying for crop yields: disentangling nutritional and phytohormonal effects
        • In-soil trophic interactions between plants, rhizosphere bacteria and nematodes
        • Impact of soil drying-rewetting on phosphorus losses in leachate


        • 1991 BSc (Hons, upper second) Environmental Science, University of Stirling, Scotland, UK
        • 1998 PhD in Science, 'Zones of enhanced denitrification in river marginal wetlands', Royal Holloway, University of London, UK


        • Council Member of the British Society of Soil Science
        • Chair of Southwest UK Soils Discussion Group (SWESDG)