Prof Tony O’Donnell of UWA was invited to present the annual Leeper Memorial Lecture on 17 November 2017.
His talk discussed the distinct soil physicochemical properties of Western Australia and how they impact the structure and functioning of the soil microbiome in the region.
Australian soils have formed on a contrasting geological landscape and in Western Australia ancient, highly weathered, lateritic landscapes dominated by kaolinite predominate. Western Australia’s wheat belt sits on the Yilgarn Craton, one of the world’s oldest land masses where extensive and prolonged weathering of the underlying parent material has given rise to infertile soils deficient in essential elements such as phosphorus, molybdenum, zinc and copper. Extensive weathering of these parent materials can also result in soils that are acidic, high in available iron and deficient in copper.