Link to Macaulay Land Use Research Institute homepageSoil Forensics University Network (SoilFUN)
Footprint in soil

The SoilFUN network aims to develop a coordinated network of UK Universities to produce analytical data on urban soils. The work is a ‘daughter’ project of the SOILFIT project and has the specific objective of broadening our knowledge of the urban soil environment, specifically to address between city and within city discrimination of common urban land-use vegetation (LUV) classes.

The network draws together academics from a number of Universities in the UK who, through the use of student projects, will generate analytical data on a variety of soils in their urban areas. This coordinated approach uses a high degree of similarity in experimental design and quality control (QC) between the participating Universities. Thus the SoilFUN partners aim to build a robust database of urban soils information from across the UK.

The database will include replicate analytical information from the following urban location types:

  1. Deciduous wooded areas (mixed natural deciduous woodland)
  2. Managed flowerbeds (council managed flowerbeds/border area with annual flowering plants)
  3. Disused railway embankment (railway bank/edge along railway)
  4. Student Choice: riverbanks/mudflats, canal embankments, roadsides, residential gardens, playing fields, abandoned land/ brownfield sites etc.

To address within city discrimination, four locations for each LUV class are used.

The database will include the following information from each urban location for sample characterisation:

  1. Visual inspection of each soil including digital photography of the location
  2. Colour assessment using Munsell charts
  3. Soil alkanes by GC
  4. FTIR for soil organic and mineral characterization

A list of current members of the SoilFUN network will be made available. Universities from the UK have an open invitation to join the network and interest in the network from abroad is also welcome.

The SoilFUN project contacts are Dr Lorna Dawson and Dr Andrew Morrisson.

The GIMI network is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is hosted by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute. The EPSRC Page for the GIMI network can be found here.

SOILFIT is another EPSRC funded forensics project hosted by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute. Soilfit investigates the integration of soil fingerprinting techniques for forensic applications.

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Updated: 23 Jan 2024, Content by: CN