Current members

Louis Schipper

Louis Schipper Louis is an environmental biogeochemist with research interests in long-term changes in soil organic matter, nitrogen cycling with a focus on denitrification and nitrogen immobilisation, impacts of land use change, carbon fluxes and nutrient cycling in agricultural and indigenous ecosystems, including wetlands and soil microbial ecology. He has a strong focus on the temperature dependence of the biosphere and particularly on soil biology. He teaches soil science at undergraduate and graduate levels. Louis has frequently given interviews on national radio about soil science and biogeochemistry and been involved with a number of videos or TV appearance on soil health and greenhouse gases. Google scholar papers:

Dave Campbell

Dave Campbell
Dave’s research interests span across the zone of soil, vegetation and atmosphere and concern interactions involving exchanges of energy, water, CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Dave was one of the early adopters of the eddy covariance technique in NZ and gets some weird pleasure out of making complex instrument systems work. His research spans from NZ indigenous wetlands where he and his students work on ecosystem functioning (water and carbon) and restoration; to agricultural greenhouse research in intensively managed dairy farm systems. Peat has been a bit of a theme – from the vast intact Kopuatai bog to drained and intensively farmed peat soils. Currently Dave has research contracts with Landcare Research (peatland functioning and restoration); NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (contributes to research with Louis and the wider WaiBER team); and has recently gained ERA-GAS funding as a member of the PEATWISE Nordic/NZ consortium (sustainable peat agriculture and GHG’s). Hear Dave talk about why he enjoys his job here. Google scholar papers:

Tanya O'Neill
Tanya O’Neill

Tanya O’Neill is a lecturer at Waikato University contributing to soil and environmental science courses in the 100, 200, and 300 level undergraduate space, an MSc soil course in ‘Land and soil: resources and risks’, and supervises undergraduate and postgraduate students. Tanya completed her PhD on the human impacts on Antarctic soils with Megan Balks and is highly active in research in these fascinating environments. Tanya is also investigating changes in soil carbon stocks of NZ soils. Tanya has had six trips to Antarctica, five for science, including a two and a half month stint to the Antarctic Peninsula as a field assistant with the Spanish Antarctic Programme, and her first trip, to run a marathon on the continent.  Tanya is currently involved in a multidisciplinary project characterising the environment around Scott Base, Antarctica, as a baseline against which any environmental effects of the upcoming redevelopment of Scott Base can be measured. When not working, Tanya likes to spend her time outdoors with her husband, cycling, running, scuba-diving, fishing and traveling. Google scholar papers:

Aaron Wall and Ben Troughton

Aaron Wall is the research associate for the carbon sequestration project and is pictured with Ben Troughton whose farm we are currently working on. We have established four 6 ha blocks where we are will determining full carbon budgets. Currently two are planted in ryegrass/clover mix and one with a mix of other pasture species planted (with greater root biomass) in an attempt to increase soil carbon. Aaron speaks about some of our work on diverse pastures swards here. Aaron is concurrently undertaking a PhD examining the carbon balance of production (maize) and its subsequent consumption within dairy farms.. Google scholar papers:

Dori Torres-Rojas

Dori Torres-Rojas joined the WaiBER and WEG group as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. I completed my PhD in Soil Science at Cornell University and I have a background in Engineering. My PhD research focused on the study of thermal and biological transformations of organic N in plant residue and their effect on the persistence of pyrogenic C in terrestrial ecosystems. This work sparked my interest in understanding the mechanistic interactions that govern N removal, retention, and sequestration in agricultural and natural ecosystems. As a Research Fellow, I will be working on increasing bioreactor nitrate removal rates by activating media surface and controlling redox conditions to promote denitrification. I look forward to collaborating and learning from an incredible group of scientists while applying my expertise in soil biogeochemistry and engineering to the design of more efficient bioreactors. I am a geek at heart and I love the challenge of understanding mechanistic processes but also finding a practical solution to real world problems.

Jordan Goodrich

Jordan Goodrich. My interests span ecosystem-atmosphere interactions and the climate and management patterns that govern them. Some common threads of my research and background include ecosystem responses to environmental variability, characterizing uncertainty, and improving mechanistic knowledge through novel data analysis. During my PhD work here at the University of Waikato, I was lucky for the opportunity to work in New Zealand’s unique restiad bogs, exploring carbon and methane fluxes with eddy covariance. I’m now branching into the agricultural realm as a postdoc research fellow, where I’ll be investigating tower-based fluxes of nitrous oxide, methane, and CO2 from pasture systems with the aim of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and limiting carbon losses. I’m thrilled to be back in New Zealand working with this exciting group of scientists and look forward to the many potential collaborations in this very diverse research environment. Google scholar papers:

Graham Sparling
Graham Sparling

Graham Sparling is a long time collaborator, who pretends to be retired, but works one day a week in the soils lab on a range of projects. He is  currently focused on fractionation of soil carbon, dissolved organic matter, worms, changes in soil C as forest are converted to pastures, Cd and U accumulation with P fertiliser application and soil quality. He also contributes to educational articles and helps graduates turn their thesis into journal papers.

rich and dave
Rich Binton, Dave and the QCL

Richard Bindon has a talent for mechanical and electronic design and has contributed to recent builds of our Aerodyne quantum cascade laser eddy covariance systems (for measuring fluxes of N2O and CH4), enabling these delicate instruments to run smoothly in challenging field environments. He and Dave worked together on designing and building the all-important weatherproof and temperature-controlled enclosures with their unique subsoil air cooling systems. Rich’s careful approach to design of mechanical and electronic systems always results in professional, functional and beautiful gear.

Chris Morcom
Chris Morcom

Chris Morcom is a technician who is assisting our collaborators to partition carbon dioxide flux into plant and soil contributions at the Troughton farm. This work is being led by Landcare Research as part of a larger Global Research Alliance (GRA) project that is examining the stability of carbon entering the soil through roots. Chris is also central to our measurement of carbon dioxide, methane and water flux measurements at the restiad bogs Koupuatai and Moanatuatua.

Jasmine Robinson
Jasmine Robinson and burning poi demonstration

Jasmine Robinson is pursuing a PhD that will examine the stability of newly incorporated plant matter in soil. This project is in collaboration with Mike Beare (Plant and Food), Tim Clough (Lincoln Uni) and Pete Millard (Landcare Research) and is supported by funds from the Global Research Alliance. Jasmine previously completed an MSc project that examined whether the temperature response of soil respiration changed between soil types, through seasons and with long term incubation at different temperatures. She applied macromolecular rate theory (MMRT) in her to calculate temperature response of soil respiration.

anne wecking
Anne Wecking

Anne Wecking. The core of Anne’s PhD is wrapped around the understanding and management of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from grazed pastoral land.  Data for her work will be collected using  an eddy covariance flux tower coupled to a quantum cascade laser to identify the response of N2O emissions to fertilisation, grazing intensity and sward diversity. The approach includes considerations on farm scale aiming to support New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory and potential mitigation approaches. Anne holds a MSc in Landscape Sciences from Leibniz University Hannover, Germany, and is supervised by Louis Schipper and Dave Campbell. Her website can be found here.

Thomas Corbett

Thomas Corbett is undertaking a PhD research project developing a Diffusive Gradients in Thin-Films (DGT) sensor, integrating colourimetry to measure nitrates/nitrites and phosphates in fresh water. The aim is to develop a sensor that is easy to use, accurate, and very affordable. The project is supervised by Louis Schipper, Adam Hartland, Bill Henderson and Gerald Rys (MPI).

ingrid lindeman
Ingrid Lindeman

Ingrid Lindeman is undertaking a Masters thesis in the field of speleothem science under the supervision of Dr Adam Hartland. Her research involves growing calcite under cave-analogue conditions in the laboratory and studying the partitioning behaviour of trace elements into calcite in the presence of organic ligands. This research has the potential to help improve the use of trace elements as paleoclimate proxies during climate reconstructions from speleothem archives.

Georgie Glover-Clark

Georgie Glover-Clark investigated the controls on the spatial variation of hydrology in drained agricultural peatlands, and how these controls controlled pasture production and greenhouse gas emission for her Master’s thesis project. Her research utilized measurements from detailed hydrological transects and eddy covariance flux towers, at two sites with contrasting drainage designs and similar management practices. The research was supervised by Dave Campbell and contributed to the PEATWISE project. Georgie has now joined the team on a short-term contract supporting Dave Campbell’s peat work.

Kristyn Numa
Kristyn Numa

Kristyn Numa completed her Masters thesis examining the controls of soil respiration. In particular, she looked at the temperature dependence of respiration with different added carbon compounds (e.g. glucose) in soils. This research involved incubating soils across a temperature gradient, measuring the carbon dioxide respired and used 13C labelled carbon compounds to help partition the temperature responses. She applied the macromolecular rate theory (MMRT) to calculate these temperature responses. This research was supervised by Louis Schipper. Kristyn has now joined the team on a short-term contract supporting Louis’ research and teaching.

Emily McKay

Emily McKay is investigating the effect of different intensity cultivation/tillage on soil physical properties supervised by Tanya O’Neill. Her project is with Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) with a trial site with three different treatments – full cultivation, strip-till, and no-tillage. She will be testing for a range of soil properties such as aggregate stability, carbon and nitrogen stocks to depth, bulk density, penetrometer resistance, the remaining soil quality indicators, as well as undergoing VSA. This projects aims to provide an understanding of the potential benefits of reduced cultivation for New Zealand growers and farmers.

Reza Moghaddam
Reza Moghaddam

Reza Moghaddam. The core of my PhD project is “carbon dosing of denitrifying woodchip bioreactors”. I will be mainly investigating whether and to what extent, the dosing of denitrifying bioreactors with an added soluble source of carbon, particularly methanol, could stimulate nitrogen removal from agricultural runoff. The project also encompasses assessing the leaching risk of the added methanol either in field and mesocosm scale bioreactors. My supervisors are Louis Schipper, Dori Torres-Rojas and Adam Hartland.

Ally van de Laar

Allycia van de Laar is completing her MSc (Research) thesis investigating the temperature dependence of soil respiration and priming. The current aims of her research are to 1) develop an automated method for measuring soil priming and apply it in context; and 2) determine the temperature dependence of soil respiration and priming along a natural thermal gradient. Allycia’s research will involve the use 13 C isotopes and the application of macromolecular rate theory (MMRT) principles. Allycia is working with Louis Schipper as her supervisor.

Alice Wheatley-Wilson

Alice Wheatley-Wilson is investigating the temperature dependence of methane production from peat and drained peat soils as part of her MSc (Research). Temperature response is poorly constrained in peat ecosystem models, so Alice aims to collect useful data on the response across a larger temperature range to capture the full curvature. The sites of interest for this research include peat domes; Kopuatai and Moanatuatua as well as drained peat soil sites; Moanaleas and Gamma farm. Jordan Goodrich, Dave Campbell, and Louis Schipper will be supervising and assisting Alice with her research.

Fabio Manca and Rhianna Robinson

Fabio Manca is a third year Ph.D. student at Queensland University of Technology and has been studying denitrifying bioreactors for the last two years. He is trialing bioreactors in order to quantify nitrate removal rate, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon durability under tropical climate conditions in Australia. His trials include both denitrification walls and beds installed in Southeast and North Queensland. Here, pictured with Rhianna Robinson (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland) who is also exploring the utility of bioreactors in Queensland. Fabio’s chief supervisor is Peter Grace and he is co-supervised by Louis Schipper.