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Prof Christine Watson

Professor for Agricultural Systems
Soil Science and Systems
Crop and Soil Systems

Research interests 

My research focuses on nutrient management in agricultural systems and I have worked in a wide range of farming systems including arable, mixed farming, outdoor pig production and dairy systems as well as agroforestry. I work at a variety of scales from process based studies of nutrient fluxes associated with root turnover to crop rotation and farm scale nutrient budgets. I have recently been involved in estimating nitrogen fixation at the continental scale in the EU Legume Futures project. I am particularly interested in applying interdisciplinary approaches to address global problems. I hold a part-time guest position in the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

I am currently President of the Association of Applied Biologists (2015-2017) and serve on the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Agronomy. I am also involved in teaching on the SRUC MSc Organic Farming course by distance learning.

Selected research projects

  • Work Package Leader H2020 Redesigning European cropping systems based on species MIXtures (ReMIX) (2017-2020) (Lead INRA)
  • Work Package Leader BBSRC Sustainable economic and ecological grazing systems - learning from innovative practitioners (2018-2020) (Lead CEH)
  • Work Package Leader FACCE JPI Climate Smart Agriculture: Climate Café (2014-2017) (Lead INRA)
  • Principal Investigator Ekhaga Foundation: Healthy plants from healthy soils: Resilience and stability of organic cropping systems (2016-2017) (Lead Humboldt University)
  • Work Package co-lead ERANET CORE Organic Plus FertilCrop (2015-2018) (Lead FIBL)
  • Work Package Leader Scottish Government Alternative approaches to sustainable land management (2016-2021) (SRUC/James Hutton Institute)
  • Creative Scotland Nil by Mouth. A science/arts collaboration (2013/2014)


I teach on the PGDip/MSc in Organic Farming by flexible learning.

PhD students

  • Anastasia Fountouli (Aberdeen University)
  • Frances Ryan (Edinburgh University)
  • Moritz Reckling (SLU)
  • Tarirai Muoni (SLU)
  • Sammi Coyle (Nottingham University)
  • Elsa Lagerqvist (SLU)

Selected publications

  • Watson, C.A., Reckling, M., Preissel, S., Bachinger, J., Bergkvist, G., Kuhlman, T., Lindström, K., Nemecek, T., Topp, C.F.E., Vanhatalo, A.,  Zander, P., Murphy-Bokern, D. & Stoddard, F.L. (2017). Grain legume production and use in European agricultural systems. Advances in Agronomy 144, 236-303.
  • Nkurunziza, L., Marstorp, H., Chongtham, I.R., Watson, C.A., Öborn, I., Bergkvist, G. & Bengtsson, J. (2017) Understanding effects of multiple farm management practices on barley performance.  European Journal of Agronomy 90, 43-52.
  • Baddeley, J.A., Edwards, A.C. & Watson, C.A. (2017). Changes in soil C and N stocks and C:N stoichiometry 21 years after land use change on an arable mineral topsoil. Geoderma 303, 19-26.
  • Smith, L.G., Tarsitano, D., Topp, C.F.E., Jones, S.K., Gerrard, C.L., Pearce, B.D., Williams, A.G. & Watson, C.A. (2016). Predicting the effect of rotation design on N, P, K balances on organic farms using the NDICEA model. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 31, 471-484.
  • Zander, P., Amjath-Babu, T.S., Preissel, S., Reckling, M., Bues, A., Schläfke, N., Kuhlman, T., Bachinger, J., Uthes, S., Murphy-Bokern, D., Stoddard, F. & Watson C.A. (2016.) Can legume farming survive in Europe? A review on the drivers of its decline and the agro-economic challenges on its revival. (2016) Agronomy for Sustainable Development (DOI: 10.1007/s13593-016-0365-y)

See all of Professor Christine Watson's publications.

Prof Christine Watson

Professor of Agricultural Systems / Team Leader - Soil Science & Systems

Address: Crop & Soils Systems, SRUC Aberdeen Campus, Craibstone Estate, Aberdeen AB21 9YA

Telephone: 01224 711 143

Fax: 01224 711 293