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Sharon Rose Aarons (born 1961) is an Australian soil scientist.
Dr Sharon Rose Aarons was born in Jamaica in 1961 and completed her primary and secondary education in Suriname, St. Lucia then Trinidad and Tobago, before completing her Bachelor of Science (Hons.) at the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI; Trinidad and Tobago). She then returned with her family to Jamaica where she commenced and completed her MPhil (Biochemistry) at the Mona Campus of the UWI. On completion of her masters Aarons then moved to the University of Minnesota, USA to complete her PhD in soil science, specialising in soil biology and soil chemistry, which was awarded in December 1990. Sharon Aarons commenced working in Victoria after migrating to Australia in April 1992. She married Cameron J. P. Gourley, another soil scientist who works at Ellinbank research centre. They have three children, the oldest which is Katherine H. A. Gourley, second oldest is Andrew D. P. Gourley and the youngest is James W. P. Gourley.
In Aarons's early career, her Master's and PhD research focussed on understanding survival of cowpea rhizobia and tolerance of bean rhizobia to low pH respectively. This research aimed to improve agricultural productivity in tropical regions. After completing her PhD, Aarons undertook a Post-Doctoral position in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Minnesota between 1990 and 1992. In her research there, she used molecular techniques to understand resistance of tomatoes to bacterial wilt as this disease significantly reduces crop production in tropical regions. Since commencing work with the Victorian state government in 1994, Aarons's research has focused on nutrient cycling and improving nutrient management in grazed dairy systems and landscapes in high rainfall regions of south-eastern Australia. Her research aims to improve productivity while minimising environmental consequences through an understanding of the return and cycling of nutrients by grazing animal through the plant and soil. Aarons initially quantified phosphorus cycling in Victorian grazed dairy pastures, including the role of animal excreta in soil and microbial transformations of phosphorus. She has also investigated the cycling of phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, nitrogen and other macro nutrients in a range of dairy production systems across Australia, quantifying the impact of animals on the heterogeneous distribution of nutrients in dairy systems. In addition to the farm scale, Aarons's research has also occurred at landscape scales where she quantified the impact of dairy management on water quality and biodiversity, as well as understanding farmer management of riparian areas. Aarons's current research is quantifying at a regional scale the health of dairy soils in Victoria, including the identification of dominant Victorian dairy soil types. She is also investigating the interaction of phosphorus and potassium on a range of dairy soil types across the state and quantifying the soil and pasture responses to encourage better management of these nutrients. Through her research Aarons has aimed to identify strategies that assist farmers to effectively integrate management of the environment within productive enterprises. To this end communication and extension of research results to farmers and extension providers, via a range of media, has been an integral part of project activities. Aarons has collaborated with many scientists, both within the Victorian Department as well as nationally and internationally. Aarons also been committed to supporting the development of young scientists and has co-supervised four Honours students and three PhD students.
• Organization of American States (OAS) Research Fellow; 1983 to 1985 • International Student Work Opportunity (ISWOP) financial awards; 1988 to 1989; 1989 to 1990 • Agriculture Victoria Executive Award in Internal Partnerships; 2002