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EGENIS seminar series: "Connecting the plots: 176 years of Long-term Experiment data and samples" Richard Ostler (Rothamsted Research)

Egenis seminar series

The Rothamsted Long-term Experiments (LTEs), started by Lawes and Gilbert between 1843 and 1856 are among the oldest continuing agricultural field experiments in the world. Seven of these early "Classicals" continue today, and more LTEs have been added since, the most recent being the Large Scale Rotation Experiments started in 2015/16.

Event details

When Lawes and Gilbert started the first two experiments on Broadbalk and Barnfield, they had the foresight to record experiment data and metadata and archived grain, herbage and soil samples collected for analysis from the field plots. Today the Rothamsted Sample archive contains over 300,000 samples while experiment and meteorological data records range over a 175 year period. Furthermore, these archives are available to the wider scientific community and their scientific contribution, beyond the experiments original purpose, has been demonstrated many times. Researchers have used the archives to address many questions ranging from the evolution of fungicide resistance to the potential for agricultural land to mitigate climate change. Curating the archives, so that they remain accessible, interoperable and re-usable and maintaining the link between finite samples and the data generated from them remain ongoing challenges.

Worldwide many organisations have established LTEs with coverage across all agriculturally important biomes, cropping systems and management practices. Combining data from different LTEs can allow researchers to address the sustainability of farming systems. The Global Long-Term Experiments Network (GLTEN) has been established to facilitate greater use of LTE data, however, finding and accessing information about these LTEs remains difficult and this limits the re-use potential of LTE datasets. The GLTEN project is now addressing this need for consistent and interoperable infrastructure to describe, discover and "connect the plots" between diverse LTEs.


Byrne House