Lynette Abbott

Emeritus Professor, BSc Syd., PhD Monash, FAIAST

  • The University of Western Australia (M087), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Research in Soil Biology is a major activity within the School of Agriculture and Environment at The University of Western Australia. Our emphasis is on understanding the activities of a wide range of soil organisms in the context of their contribution to important soil processes. We are interested in soil organisms and their roles in natural ecosystems as well as in agriculture/horticulture and disturbed environments such as minesites.

Roles and responsibilities

Current Position:
Emeritus Professor
Senior Honorary Research Fellow

Previous positions include:
Deputy Director, UWA Institute of Agriculture (2014)
Vice Dean, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Head, School of Earth and Environment
Winthrop Professor, School of Earth and Environment

Industrial relevance

Land management in agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, minesite restoration; soil health; soil fertility; organic agriculture; use of soil amendments

Teaching overview

AGRI5504 Organic Agriculture (Masters level unit)


Soil health related to agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, soil biology, indicators of soil quality, soil fertility, plant-microbe symbioses (especially arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi), minesite rehabilitation and soil management (including organic agricultural practices). Agricultural research includes dryland cropping, horticulture, dairy, intensive cattle feedlots, perennial and annual pastures for sheep, dairy and cattle, restoration of farmland, use of soil amendments (compost, manures and digestate (from AD waste recycling).

Biochar-soil interactions
This research examines the potential role of biochar in the sustainability of dry-land farming, especially in relation to the provision of a habitat for beneficial microorganisms. It includes interactions between biochar, organic matter and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in agricultural soils.

Carbon sequestration in soil
This research includes the effect of land management practices on soil biological processes that influence soil carbon sequestration as well as loss of soil carbon through microbial activity. Emphasis is on identifying best management options for different soil types and environments and includes the efficacy of soil amendments such as clay, biosolids, digestates from AD systems, composts and biostimulants. Potential impacts of climate change are considered.

Soil restoration – arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
We are investigating interactions between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in plants and soil in sustainable dry-land agriculture and mine sites under rehabilitation. The impact of land management on the contributions of these symbiotic fungi is a focus.

Soil health
Clarification of the role of soil biology in sustainable farming practice and restoration of disturbed natural environments is a long-term goal of our research.

Further information for land managers and others in the community can be found at the following website

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research expertise keywords

  • Indicators of sustainability
  • Land rehabilitation
  • Microbial activity and nutrient cycling in rehabilitated soils
  • Microbial ecology
  • Mycorrhizal associations
  • Plant nutrition and soil fertility
  • Rhizobial ecology
  • Soil biology
  • Soil microbial ecology


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