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 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.

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 giving courses in Soils, Hydrology and Environmental Sciences at 1st 2nd and 3rd year levels and providing support to 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.

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. The key to making these instruments run absolutely reliably for us was to provide a temperature controlled environment far more precise than one could achieve in a standard laboratory setting – all this while running unattended in a remote farmer’s field! Rich’s careful approach to design of mechanical and electronic systems always results in professional, functional and beautiful gear.

Dean Sandwell

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 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.

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.


Femke Rambags

Femke Rambags

Femke Rambags has started a PhD on the use of denitrifying 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

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.

Joss Radcliffe

Joss Radcliffe

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.

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.



Connie Daws

Connie Daws is conducting a Masters thesis focusing on the present day hydrology of a remnant peatland in the Waikato (Moanatuatua) surrounded by drained pet used for animal grazing. She is looking to establish whether the deep border drains or the late successional/shrub-dominated vegetation maintains the unnaturally low water table across the bog. Connie will use data obtained from a hydrological transect across the bog coupled to eddy covariance measurements of evaporation. She will look to identify appropriate management strategies that could return this peatland to more natural and resilient condition. Connie is supervised by Dave Campbell.

callum douglas

Callum Douglas

Callum Douglas will conduct a MSc thesis, supervised by Dave Campbell, investigating the ecohydrology of the Otakairangi wetland in Northland. The research will attempt to demonstrate the current recovery pathway this degraded remnant is currently following. He will determine the annual hydrological regime and analysing how a central drain through the wetland alters the environment and dominant surface vegetation.

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, and Bill Henderson.


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.



Yuan Liu

Yuan Liu is a visiting PhD student from Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is investigating the response of soil respiration to changing temperature and inputs of external substrate in Chinese soils. Yuan is going to make use of a temperature block technique we have established for measuring temperature dependence of soil respiration. He will also apply macromolecular rate theory (MMRT) to calculate temperature response of soil respiration and derive important temperature parameters. Yuan is broadly interested in the response of carbon and nitrogen (N) cycle and their interactions to global change factors (e.g., warming, N deposition, precipitation change, drought).



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.