Lynette Abbott

Emeritus Professor, BSc Syd., PhD Monash, FAIAST

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

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile


I have research experience across a broad area of soil biology with links to agriculture, horticulture, mine-site rehabilitation and forest ecology.  

I have emphasised the integration of knowledge of physical, chemical, biological and hydrological aspects of soil science in teaching within the discipline of soil science. Specific research includes: various aspects of soil health, the role of symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi in agricultural, horticultural and forest soils, the role of soil organisms in rehabilitation of degraded areas such as minesites, the ecology of root nodule bacteria associated with legume species in south-western Australia, the role of soil biota in sustainable farming systems, the role of soil biota in forest ecosystems, biology of vineyard soils, use of compost in horticulture and identification of indicators of soil health for use in agriculture and horticulture.

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.

I have promoted the importance of knowledge of soil science in management of Australian landscapes.  I have developed a comprehensive extension program on soil health that includes workshops for farmers and farm advisors, newsletters and the free SOILHEALTH app.


General Jeffery Soil Health Award 2021
This Australian award recognises an individual’s work to champion, improve and educate others in soil health.

Soil Science Australia - Society Fellow 2016
Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology Fellow 1993

UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, Research Mentorship Award 2022
Carrick Citation for Contribution to Teaching and Learning 2007
UWA Faculty of Agriculture Excellence in Teaching Award 1992

Roles and responsibilities

Current Position from 2013 (July) -       :
Emerita Professor
Senior Honorary Research Fellow

Previous positions include:
2014  Deputy Director, UWA Institute of Agriculture 
2010-2012  Vice Dean, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
2004-2007, 2009 Head, School of Earth and Environment 
2002 - 2013  Winthrop Professor, School of Earth and Environment        
1995 - 2002  Associate Professor, Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, UWA
1990 - 1995   Senior Lecturer, Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, UWA
1986 - 1989   Lecturer, Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, UWA
1977 - 1985    Research Officer, Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, UWA
1974 - 1977     Research Fellow, Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, UWA

Industrial relevance

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

Teaching overview

Previous teaching has included units across Soil Biology and Plant Nutrition, Land Management, Organic Agriculture, Environmental Change, Climate Dynamics and Environmental Policy and Planning.


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.

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
  • Soil health


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