Dr Bernhard Wehr

Lecturer in Soil Chemistry

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Faculty of Science
b.wehr@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 52081

Overview

Acid soil, Aluminium toxicity, soil acidity, rhizosphere, plant roots, root growth, plant cell wall, nutrient uptake, plant nutrition

Having completed my B.Sc. majoring in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Chemistry, I completed my M.Sc. (Agric) in Horticultural Science. After completing a PhD on the effect of heavy metals and aluminium on plant root biochemistry, I have worked for various plant biotechnology companies, focussing on genetic engineering of crops, in-vitro growth, propagation systems and salinity tolerant tree crops. After rejoining the University, I have been involved in minesite rehabilitation, focussing on plant-soil-water relationships. I have completed and ARC funded research on Al toxicity, focussing on the hydrolysis of Al in plant roots. I am currently researching the effect of coal seam water application and the movement of salts in soils. I am also teaching the introductory Soil Science course to undergraduate students.

Research Interests

  • Plant-soil interactions
    Plant roots are growing in soil and plants obtain most of their water and nutrients from the soil. Hostile soil conditions can significantly lower yields and affect profitability of producers. Common soil constraints in Australia and soil salinity and alkalinity, and poor soil physical properties. Management of soil constaints is necessary to increase yield and maintain profitability.
  • Plant root physiology and plant cell walls
    Plant cell walls are the part of plants roots in intimate contact with the soil. In particular, the anionic and cations charges found in plant cell walls play an important in how the plant perceives the soil environment and this affects uptake of nutrients by plant roots. Furthermor,e the architecture of the root system affects how plants can exploit the soil for maximise uptake of water and nutrients.
  • Aluminium toxicity and tolerance in plants
    Aluminium toxicity is a significant problem in Australia and the rest of the world. In acid soils, dissolution of Al minerals releases trivalent Al ions which impair root growth. Consequently, water and nutrient uptake is decreased, resulting in yield losses. Understanding why Al is toxic to plant roots and management of acid soils to overcome Al toxicity is important to maintain or increase productivity.
  • Agroforestry
    Diversification of agricultural land use use to incorporate forestry can have a number of benefit for the environment and the producer. By setting aside less productive land for forestry, land degradation can be reversed or at least minimised by reducing wind and water erosion. In addition, forestry can provide habitat for native species and increase biodiversity. Beneficial effects are lowering of watertables in areas where dryland salinity is an issue, thereby preventing land degradation, increased soil carbon sequestration, increased visual amenity and an additional income stream.
  • Land-disposal of waste products
    Beneficial re-use of waste water and waste products such a manure and sewage can maintain or improve productivity by supplying water and nutrients to crops. Careful analysis of risks and benefits is required to evaluate the suitability of land disposal of waste products.

Qualifications

  • PhD, The University of Queensland
  • Master of Science, S.Africa
  • Bachelor of Science, S.Africa

Publications

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Grants

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Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Wehr, Johannes Bernhard, Blamey, Frederick Paxton Cardell and Menzies, Neal William (2017). Aluminum. In Lal Rattan (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of soil science 3 ed. (pp. 105-110) New York, NY, United States: CRC Press (Taylor and Francis).

  • Blamey, F. Pax C., Kopittke, Peter M., Wehr, J. Bernhard and Menzies, Neal W. (2015). Aluminum. In Allen V. Barker and David J. Pilbeam (Ed.), Handbook of Plant Nutrition 2nd ed. (pp. 567-606) Boca Raton Florida, United States: CRC Press. doi:10.1201/b18458-21

  • Wehr, J. B., Blamey, F. P. C. and Menzies, N. W. (2012). Aluminum. In Sven Erik Jorgenson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Environmental Management (pp. 269-278) Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Wehr, J. Bernhard, Scholz, Lisa, Kopittke, Peter M. , Blamey, F. Pax C., Zhou, Ya-Feng, Macfarlane, David C. , Dalzell, Scott A. and Menzies, Neal W. (2014). Environmental fate of fluoride applied to soil and plants. In: World Congress of Soil Science, Jeju, Korea, (). 8-13 June 2014.

  • Smith, T. E., Lewis, T., Menzies, N. W., Dalal, R. C., Wehr, J. B., Swift, S. A., Tindale, N., Bryant, P., Verstraten, L., McDonald, J. M., McKenna, B. A., Carrol, K. S. J. and Simpson, J. A. (2014). Soil carbon change over 15 years in subtropical forests. In: Soil Science 2014: National Soil Science Conference, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, (). 23-27 November 2014.

  • Wehr, Johannes B., Kopittke, Peter M., Scholz, Lisa and Menzies, Neal W. (2013). Managing environmental risk of fluoride in coal seam water irrigation systems. In: Unavailable, Unavailable, (). Unavailable.

  • Blamey, F. Pax C., Kopittke, Peter M., Wehr, J. Bernhard, Wang, Peng, McKenna, Brigid A. and Menzies, Neal W. (2013). Using cations to probe the question: how do roots perceive, respond to, and sometimes modify their environment?. In: Proceedings of the XVII International Plant Nutrition Colloquium, Istanbul, Turkey, (). 19-22 August 2013.

  • Wehr, J. Bernhard, Smith, Tim, Blamey, Pax and Menzies, Neal (2010). Aluminum sensitivity and optimum Ca and pH requirement of teak (Tectona grandis Linn. f.) clones used for forestry plantations in Australia. In: R. J. Gilkes and N. Prakongep, Proceedings of the 19th World Congress of Soil Science; Soil Solutions for a Changing World. 19th World Congress of Soil Science, Brisbane, Qld, Australia, (18-21). 1-6 August, 2010.

  • Kopittke, Peter M., Blamey, F. Pax C., Wehr, J. Bernhard and Menzies, Neal W. (2010). Magnitude and kinetics of metal rhizotoxicity in cowpea. In: Robert J. Gilkes and Nattaporn Prakongkep, Proceedings of: 19th World Congress of Soil Science. Soil Solutions for a Changing World. 19th World Congress of Soil Science, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, (177-180). 1-6 August 2010.

  • McKenna, Brigid A., Wehr, J. Bernhard, Kopittke, Peter M., Blamey, F. Pax C. and Menzies, Neal W. (2010). Novel methods to investigate metal interactions with plant cell walls. In: Robert J. Gilkes and Nattaporn Prakongkep, Proceedings of: 19th World Congress of Soil Science. Soil Solutions for a Changing World. 19th World Congress of Soil Science, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, (80-83). 1-6 August 2010.

  • Wehr, J.B., Blamey, F.P.C., Kerven, G.L., Horst, W.J., Hanna, J.V. and Menzies, N.W. (2009). Aluminum bound to plant cell walls - Does staining give clues about the bound Al species?. In: Liao, H., Yan, X. and Kochian, L., Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Plant-Soil Interactions at Low pH. Plant-Soil Interactions at Low pH: A Nutriomic Approach, Guangzhou, China, (63-64). 17-21 May 2009.

  • Kopittke, P.M., Blamey, F.P.C., Wehr, J.B. and Menzies, N.W. (2009). Similarities and differences in the recovery of cowpea roots from toxicities of aluminum, copper and lanthanum. In: Liao, H., Yan, X. and Kochian, L., Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Plant-Soil Interactions at Low pH. Plant-Soil Interactions at Low pH: A Nutriomic Approach, Guangzhou, China, (176-178). 17-21 May 2009.

  • Wehr, J. B., Blamey, F. P. C., Kerven, G. L., Horst, W. J., Hanna, J. V. and Menzies, N. W. NW (2008). Determination of charge density of colloids by dye binding and can it be applied to plant cell walls?. In: Soils 2008: The living skin of planet earth. Joint Conference of the Australia and New Zealand Societies of Soil Science, Palmerston North, New Zealand, (1-2). 1-5 December 2008.

  • McKenna, B. A., Wehr, J. B. and Menzies, N. W. (2008). Using Gluconacetobacter xylinus as a tool to investigate aluminium interactions with plant cell walls. In: Soils 2008: The living skin of planet earth. Joint Conference of the Australia and New Zealand Societies of Soil Science: ‘SOIL – the living skin of Planet Earth’, Palmerston North, New Zealand, (1-2). 1-5 December 2008.

  • Wehr, Bernhard, Blamey, Pax, Kerven, Graham, Horst, Walter, Hanna, John and Menzies, Neal (2006). Chemical speciation of aluminium bound to pectin as model for aluminium binding in the plant cell wall. In: Book of abstracts: Soil science solving problems : ASSSI-ASPAC-ACMS National Soils Conference. ASSSI-ASPAC-ACMS National Soils Conference, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, (24-24). 3-7 December 2006.

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Completed Supervision