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Owen Fenton

Research Officer

Research Interests

I am a principal research officer working in the field of soil hydrology, soil water management, (land drainage and rewetting), soil physics including soil physical indicators to determine soil quality and health, hydrogeology and bio-based fertilizer use-characterisation and fertilizer equivalency value within the bio-economy. Keywords: soil, agriculture, water, bioeconomy, drainage, compaction, phosphorus, nitrogen, sediment, mitigation. I have a H-Index of 35 and have >150 web of science publications.

I am currently a member of the FACCE-JPI Scientific Advisory Board (from 2022), I am an editor of the Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research, I am adjunct Prof at NUI-Galway and Visiting Prof at University of Sheffield. I am also a visiting scientist to CAU & CAAU Beijing, China.  You can find out more about my work on Twitter @ofenton.

Current Research Team


  • John Cardiff

 Marie Curie Early Stage Researchers

  • Wenxuan Shi (EU REFLOW ITN)
  • Olha Khomenko (EU REFLOW ITN)

 PhD Students (Primary and Secondary Supervision included)

  • Emilia Palenius (Carbosol Rewetting of Peat soils and Hydrology with UCD)
  • Garima Lakhanpal (Nitrogen Time Lags with University of Waterloo, Canada)
  • Daniel Opoku (HSP -Drainage and water quality with NUI-Galway)
  • Maame Ekua Croffie (Spectroscopy with University of Queens)
  • Ian Byrne (Land drainage materials with NUI-Galway)
  • Ahmed Mohamed (dairy soiled water mitigation with NUI-Galway)
  • Emanuela Lepore (Soil Compaction Mitigation with UCD)
  • Collins Amoah (Soil Organic Amendments with University of Sheffield)

PhD Students that Graduated in last 2 years:

  • Dr Genevieve Smith (Phosphorus Loss from Saturated Soils)
  • Dr Matthias Bacher (Soil Physical and Biological Quality Indicators)
  • Dr Maelle Fresne (Colloidal P loss to groundwater)
  • Dr Golnaz Ezzati (Nutrient losses and mitigation in ditches)

Current Projects

  • EJP SoilCompaC (starts 2022)
  • EU ITN REFLOW (ends 2022)
  • EU ITN INSPIRATION (ends 2022)
  • EU AgriCHemWhey (ends 2022)
  • EPA Roadrunner (ends 2022)
  • DAFM REWET (starts 2022)
  • DAFM SAFEWASTE (starts 2022)
  • Heavy Soils Programme & Carbosol
  • Water-NET (installation of water quality monitoring network to examine nitrate losses to groundwater at multiple sites around Ireland)
  • ISMON – Irish Soil Moisture Monitoring Network (Co-funded Walsh Scholar available in 2022)


  • 2010  -  PhD, Mitigation techniques for the treatment of nutirent losses from                                    agricultural systems in Ireland, NUI-Galway
  • 2005  -  M.Sc Hydrogeology, University of Birmingham
  • 2000  -  B.Sc Earth Science & Geology, Earth Science & Geology 

Prof. Owen Fenton has published more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers, H-Index 35 > 3000 citations.  His publication list can be found on the below accounts:

Owen's Publons Account

Owen's Google Scholar Account

Fan, Bingqian; Ding, Jiahui; Fenton, Owen; Daly, Karen; Chen, Shuo; Zhang, Shuai; Chen, Qing; Investigation of differential levels of phosphorus fixation in dolomite and calcium carbonate amended red soil Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 102 2 740-749 2022 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Chichester, UK

Fan, Bingqian; Wang, Hongyuan; Zhai, Limei; Li, Jungai; Fenton, Owen; Daly, Karen; Lei, Qiuliang; Wu, Shuxia; Liu, Hongbin; Leached phosphorus apportionment and future management strategies across the main soil areas and cropping system types in northern China Science of The Total Environment 805 150441 2022 Elsevier

Fresne, Maëlle; Jordan, Phil; Daly, Karen; Fenton, Owen; Mellander, Per-Erik; The role of colloids and other fractions in the below-ground delivery of phosphorus from agricultural hillslopes to streams Catena 208 105735 2022 Elsevier

Shi, W; Fenton, O; Ashekuzzaman, SM; Daly, K; Leahy, James J; Khalaf, N; Hu, Y; Chojnacka, K; Numviyimana, C; Healy, Mark G; An examination of maximum legal application rates of dairy processing and associated STRUBIAS fertilising products in agriculture Journal of Environmental Management 301 113880 2022 Academic Press.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113880

Nag, Rajat; Russell, Lauren; Nolan, Stephen; Auer, Agathe; Markey, Bryan K; Whyte, Paul; O'Flaherty, Vincent; Bolton, Declan; Fenton, Owen; Richards, Karl G; Quantitative microbial risk assessment associated with ready-to-eat salads following the application of farmyard manure and slurry or anaerobic digestate to arable lands Science of The Total Environment 806 151227 2022 Elsevier

Bacher, Matthias G; Armindo, Robson André; Schmidt, Olaf; Bondi, Giulia; Fenton, Owen; Testing numeric and logarithmic scales for hydraulic-energy indices and functions to assess physical earthworm effects on soil structure Geoderma Regional 28 e00466 2022 Elsevier. https://doi.org/10.1eodrs.2021.e00466016/j.g

Amoah-Antwi, Collins; Kwiatkowska-Malina, Jolanta; Szara, Ewa; B; Thornton, Steven F; Malina, Grzegorz; Assessing Factors Controlling Structural Changes of Humic Acids in Soils Amended with Organic Materials to Improve Soil Functionality Agronomy 12 2 283 2022 Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12020283

Bacher, M., Armindo, R., Schmidt, O., Bondi, G. and Fenton, O., 2022. Testing numeric and logarithmic scales for hydraulic-energy indices and functions to assess physical earthworm effects on soil structure. Geoderma Regional, 28.

Fan B, Fenton O, Daly K, Ding J, Chen S, Chen Q (2021). Alum split applications strengthened phosphorus fixation and phosphate sorption in high legacy phosphorus calcareous soil. Journal of Environmental Sciences 2021;101:87-97.

Fan B, Fenton O, Daly K, Ding J, Chen S, Chen Q. Alum split applications strengthened phosphorus fixation and phosphate sorption in high legacy phosphorus calcareous soil. Journal of Environmental Sciences 2021;101:87-97; doi https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jes.2020.08.007.

Nag R, Markey BK, Whyte P, O'Flaherty V, Bolton D, Fenton O, Richards KG, Cummins E. A Bayesian inference approach to quantify average pathogen loads in farmyard manure and slurry using open-source Irish datasets. Science of The Total Environment 2021;786:147474; doi https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147474.                                                            

Shi W, Healy MG, Ashekuzzaman SM, Daly K, Leahy JJ, Fenton O. Dairy processing sludge and co-products: A review of present and future re-use pathways in agriculture. Journal of Cleaner Production 2021;314:128035; doi https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.128035. 

Ashekuzzaman SM, Fenton O, Meers E, Forrestal PJ. Differing Phosphorus Crop Availability of Aluminium and Calcium Precipitated Dairy Processing Sludge Potential Recycled Alternatives to Mineral Phosphorus Fertiliser. Agronomy 2021;11(3):427; doi https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11030427   

Zhang S, Chen S, Fenton O, Li Y, Chen Q. Enhanced topsoil P leaching in a short term flooded calcareous soil with combined straw and ammonium nitrogen incorporation. Geoderma 2021;402:115322; doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2021.115322.      

Smith GJ, McDowell RW, Daly K, Ó hUallacháin D, Condron LM, Fenton O. Estimating and modelling the risk of redox-sensitive phosphorus loss from saturated soils using different soil tests. Geoderma 2021;398:115094; doi https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2021.115094.