A leading UK scientist who helped map the bacterial ecosystems of British soil in a world-first study will join The University of Western Australia to lead an expert team in soil rehabilitation research.
"People take the billions of microbes under foot for granted but the bacteria are critical to soil fertility and quality, and play a key role in cycling greenhouse gases," Professor Whiteley said of his UK work.
"We have pulled back the Earth's skin to reveal how and why bacteria in the soil vary across the landscape."
Professor Whiteley's UWA research will include examining new ways to rehabilitate degraded mine site environments and increase agricultural production.
"I'm delighted to receive a prestigious WA Fellowship and join the world-class and vibrant science base at UWA," he said.
"WA represents a globally unique biodiversity hot spot but with strong economic requirements from the environment. My research will work at this interface by developing new DNA-based environmental diagnostic technologies as well as developing innovative ways to engage WA residents through ‘citizen science' projects."
Professor Whiteley is expected to take up his position at UWA in October.