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 teaches soil science at undergraduate and graduate levels. Louis featured on “People behind the Science” and spoke about his interest in research and how he got there.
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.
Tanya O’Neill has joined us as a Teaching Fellow supporting courses in Soils, Hydrology and Environmental Sciences at 1st 2nd and 3rd year levels helping Janine run the labs and providing support to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Tanya is also investigating temperature dependence of respiration and applying our new macro-molecular rate theory. Tanya completed her PhD on the human impacts on Antarctic soils with Megan Balks.
Liyin Liang has joined us as a research fellow recently coming from UC Riverside. Liyin will be leading our efforts to measure nitrous oxide fluxes using eddy covariance techniques. While technically very challenging these methods offer the advantage of measuring fluxes at paddock scales almost continuously.
If successful this will provide the opportunity to make integrative assessments of all greenhouse gas emission from farming systems rather than individual mitigation strategies.
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.
Janine Ryburn is the technician in charge of the soil ecosystems lab in the Earth and Ocean Science department. She ensures all the undergraduate labs run smoothly, trains graduate students, maintains equipment and the soil archive and copes generally with the impossible demands of academics.
She is involved in a wide range of soil and water research supporting students and academics.
Dean Sandwell is a technician in Earth and Ocean Sciences department. His primary responsibilities are to provide technical support for teaching and research across a broad spectrum of fields (i.e. hydrology, climate, soils and marine). Dean is in charge of the Earth Sciences workshop, hydrology laboratory and field instrumentation and equipment used for hydrological, meteorological and oceanographic research.
Aaron Wall is the research technician for the carbon sequestration project and is pictured with Ben Troughton whose farm we are currently working on. We have established two large 6 ha blocks where we will determine 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 undertaking a part-time MPhil examining the carbon balance of a farm with high feed (carbon) imports.
Chris 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.
Jack Pronger has started a PhD on water use efficiency of diverse pastures that have a deeper and greater root biomass than traditional ryegrass/clover swards. He is supported by the Flower Trust, University of Waikato and DairyNZ. Jack talks about his work here (at about 5:00 minutes) and in a video on his water use efficiency here. Previously, Jack determined rates of peat subsidence in the Waikato for his BSc (Hons). He showed current rates of peat subsidence are about 2cm per year. His BSc (Hons) was in collaboration with Waikato Regional Council (Reece Hill) and Landcare Research (Malcolm McLeod).
Mahdiyeh Salmanzadeh has started a PhD on Cd accumulation in agricultural soils. Cd has accumulative effects and is a potentially biotoxic metal. Cd is found in some fertilisers commonly used in agriculture. Mahdiyeh has a master’s degree in environmental engineering where she examined PAHs and heavy metal pollution and their ecological risk assessment in street dust of Tehran, Iran. Mahdiyeh’s main supervisor is Megan Balks and she is co-supervised by Adam Hartland and Louis Schipper. She recieved a University of Waikato PhD scholarship.
Femke Rambags has started a PhD on the use of engineered soil filters and bioreactors for improving the performance of on-site decentralised wastewater management in collaboration with NIWA’s programme “Resilient Marae and community waste and wastewater infrastructure”. The research findings will be used to develop robust, cost-effective, high-rate treatment systems, appropriate to the needs of small communities and rural facilities in New Zealand. She is co-supervised by Chris Tanner from NIWA. Femke has two MScs from the University of Utrecht and Wageningen University.
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.
Sheree Balvert has started her PhD investigating naturally-occurring inhibitors of nitrous oxide production and emissions from farm soils. Sheree is particularly interested in compounds found dairy cow urine and is carrying out this research in collaboration with AgResearch with funding from the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre. She speaks about her work here starting at 2.4 minutes.
Sheree’s main supervisor is Louis Schipper and is co-supervised by Jiafa Luo (AgResearch) and Dave Campbell.
Joss Ratcliffe has started a PhD studying carbon accumulation and decay rates in pristine and disturbed Waikato peatlands. He will aim to reconcile contemporary GHG flux data with paleoecological records in order to assess the stability of the carbon store and reveal the future trajectory of carbon storage. Joss has an MSc from the University of Highlands and Islands, Scotland and is supervised by Dave Campbell with co-supervision by Louis Schipper and David Lowe.
Jamie Millar will conduct a MSc thesis investigating whether irrigation of grazed pasture growing on pumice soils results in losses of soil carbon and nitrogen. Previous work in collaboration with Landcare Research and AgResearch demonstrated, on average, lower organic matter stocks under irrigation for a range of NZ soils. Jamie will be co-supervised by Paul Mudge (Landcare Research) and Tanya O’Neill.
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.
Jonno Rau has started a MSc conducting land suitability analysis of the Wairoa District, Hawkes Bay to identify areas with potential for horticultural development. Other objectives include using MODIS satellite imagery to identify areas prone to frost and calculate crop irrigation needs by determining each soil types available water holding capacity. Jonno is supervised by Megan Balks with co-supervision by Dave Campbell.