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Phosphorus: Past and Future

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February 23 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

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Drs. Jim Elser and Phil Haygarth–two big names in the field of phosphorus sustainability–have joined forces to write a book for lay audiences that describes the nature and history of phosphorus, its uses, and its twin role as both an essential ingredient of agriculture and a major contaminant of our waters. “Phosphorus: Past and Future”, available from Oxford University Press, discusses emerging efforts and innovations to develop phosphorus sustainability solutions to protect our food supply and water quality. We’ll have a high-level tour of the book with the authors and hear about the insights they gained from writing it. We’ll have plenty of time for the audience to ask questions of the authors.


Dr. Jim Elser
Director @Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance
Dr. Elser has joint faculty appointments at the University of Montana and Arizona State University and directs Flathead Lake Biological Station in Montana. His work investigates the theory of biological stoichiometry — the study of the balance of energy and multiple chemical elements in living systems. He and his international team of collaborators seek to understand how the coupling of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus shapes the ecology and evolution of living things.

Dr. Phil Haygarth
Professor @Lancaster University
Dr. Phil Haygarth conducts research on the interface between soils and freshwaters, with a focus on diffuse (particularly phosphorus) pollution and runoff control in a catchment context. His research studies the way in which soils can be encouraged to hold phosphorus at an optimal level to supply plants for food production, whist defining conditions that prevent the unwanted leakage to fresh-waterways. The practical impact of his research has been to help the UK government, and others around the world, develop policies that help farmers and catchment managers optimize plant uptake of phosphorus but minimize losses to water. Often this involves efforts to reduce runoff energy, which can have dual benefits for both diffuse pollution and flood control.



February 23

11:30 am - 1:00 pm