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 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

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.


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.


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.


Charlotte Robinson

Charlotte Roberston’s MSc thesis’ aim is to define management solutions that reduce nitrogen leaching by 20% in a cost-effective manner. Nitrogen leached from dairy farms contributes significantly to freshwater pollution. Charlotte’s work is aligned to the ‘Forages for Reduced Nitrate Leaching’ programme that has demonstrated that fodder beet, oats and plantain can significantly reduce nitrogen leaching, especially when managed together. Introducing these forages will affect not only nitrogen cycling, but also farm management, and possibly profitability. Her thesis will explore the environmental/economic trade-offs of reducing nitrate leaching with profitability by modelling real farms in Farmax and OVERSEER®. Supervised by Louis Schipper, from DairyNZ Álvaro Romera and Graeme Doole.

Hannah sampling in a midwest winter

Hannah Dougherty is a Fulbright US Graduate working on a Diffusive Gradients in Thin-Films (DGT) sensors with Thomas Corbett. She is trialing their use as an updated more cost-effective way to measure nitrate removal in denitrifying bioreactors compared to existing sampling methods.  Hannah holds a MSc in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA and is supervised by Louis Schipper.


Georgie Glover-Clark

Georgie Glover-Clark is investigating the controls on the spatial variation of hydrology in drained agricultural peatlands, and how these controls act to influence pasture production and greenhouse gas emission for her Master’s thesis project. Her research will utilize measurements from detailed hydrological transects and eddy covariance flux towers, at two sites with contrasting drainage designs and similar management practices. The research is supervised by Dave Campbell and will contribute to the PEATWISE project.

Jacob Hamill

Jacob Hamill’s MSc research aims to determine the magnitude of methane emissions from a drained peatland under dairy grazing and where and when these emissions occur throughout the year. In particular he is looking for methane emission hotspots as there is a high degree of temporal and spatial variability in the methane flux as a result of drainage ditches. The project is supervised by Dave Campbell.


Kristyn Numa

Kristyn Numa

Kristyn Numa is a Masters student examining the controls of soil respiration . In particular, she is looking at the temperature dependence of respiration with different added carbon compounds (e.g. glucose) in soils. This research involves incubating soils across a temperature gradient, measuring the carbon dioxide respired and potentially using C13 labelled carbon compounds to help partition the temperature responses. She will also apply the macromolecular rate theory (MMRT) to calculate these temperature responses. This research is supervised by Louis .




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.