PhD Postgrad Intro – Genevieve Smith

Genevieve Smith – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Soil Science

Genevieve Smith is currently studying for her PhD in the field of Soil Science at Invermay, AgResearch, Dunedin. Professor Richard McDowell and Leo Condron are supervising this research.

“I grew up in Levin, New Zealand. I completed a BScHons at Massey University in Palmerston North, my honours project looked at nutrient flow pathways and nitrogen attenuation in groundwater. Growing up I loved the outdoors and my family has always been quite involved with water quality issues around Levin, this, as well as my undergrad and honours combining soil and water sciences, has lead me to where I am today.

My PhD project: “Phosphorus mobilisation under anaerobic conditions” is funded through AgResearch and Walsh Fellowship, Teagasc.  Phosphorus is a fundamental element for living organisms and yet, is a finite resource. This research aims to help our understanding of phosphorus mobilisation; focusing on how soil anaerobic conditions contribute to P movement, with more detailed research aimed at identifying specific effects of anaerobic conditions in fragipan soils; how they effect P movement and run off. I will based in Ireland for 1 year to work with my supervisors over there, looking at the Fragipan component of my PhD research.”

PhD Postgrad Intro – Sephrah Rayner

Sephrah Rayner – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Soil Science

Sephrah Rayner is currently studying for her PhD in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Professor Timothy Clough is supervising this research.

“I grew up in the Tasman Region of New Zealand, a childhood full of adventures into local national parks started my love for the New Zealand environment. High school was followed by 5 years of travel, work and study overseas which lead me to the conclusion that I wanted to study further and gave me the passion for soil science that lead me to Lincoln University. I came back to New Zealand, studied for my bachelor of science and honours in soil science. During my undergraduate degree and honours project I was further inspired to pursue soil science, dedicated and passionate lectures, tutors and technicians urging me on.

My current PhD project: “The potential for nitrate attenuation from the paddock to steam” is funded by Environment Southland and GNS Science.

This project will focus on understanding nitrate transfers and transformations from grazed pastures focusing on nitrate fluxes (magnitude and dynamics), and their attenuation in the landscape. A broad focus will be the integration of N budget understanding at relevant scales, including integration with MPI-funded nitrous oxide emission research. Recent global research suggests that attenuation due to denitrification occurs predominately in headwater catchments (≤1st order streams) and this will be evaluated with respect to New Zealand systems.

It is an exciting area of science to be in at the moment in New Zealand, combining soil science with water quality outcomes and environmental management and policy. There is so much going on with research in soil, plant and water science in New Zealand I hope to help inspire others to pursue a career in these areas, as well as contributing to both inter-disciplinary communication and bringing science to the general public in a way that makes it both understandable and interesting.”

Publication: Accumulation and distribution of phosphorus in the soil profile under fertilized grazed pasture.

Recent publication from Soil Science PhD student Gustavo Boitt, co-author.

Tian, J., Boitt, G., Black, A., Wakelin, S.A., Chen, L. and Condron, L.M. 2017. Accumulation and distribution of phosphorus in the soil profile under fertilized grazed pasture.Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 239: 228-235.

The fate of P from long-term fertilizer inputs to the soil is of great economic and environmental concern but remains poorly understood. This publication discusses how sequential fractionation was used to investigate P accumulation and distribution in the soil profile to 100cm and its results. Findings indicated that P applied in excess of agronomic requirements and soil retention capacity was transferred below the topsoil and root zone by leaching.

Want to read more? follow the link below.

Research Gate Link to Publication: Accumulation and distribution of phosphorus in the soil profile under fertilized grazed pasture


PhD Postgrad Intro – Dharshika Welikala

Dharshika Welikala – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Soil Science

Dharshika Welikala is currently studying for her PhD in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Dr Niklas Lehto is supervising this research.

“Hi, I’m Dharshika Welikala from Sri Lanka. I’m a Chemistry (hons) graduate from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. As I was an undergraduate I was interested doing my PhD in the field of environmental chemistry.
My passion for soil science started as I got to know about Dr. Niklas Lehtos and his research interests on “use of diffusive gradient thin films for understanding the bioavailability of trace metals”. I have found that my knowledge of chemistry is useful as a base to build new ideas in this field, while I enhance my knowledge and interest in soil science.
Currently I’m doing my PhD on “Trace metal Speciation in soils and aquatic environment”. It’s really exciting to work in this field.”

PhD Postgrad Intro – Gustavo Boitt

Gustavo Boitt – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Soil Science

Gustavo Boitt is currently studying for his PhD in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Professor Leo Condron, Dr. Amanda Black and Dr. Steve Wakelin are supervising this research.

 “I was born and bred in Santa Catarina, Brazil where I studied for my bachelor (Agronomy) and master in soil science at Santa Catarina State University. During my master`s degree I studied phosphorus adsorption, P distribution and soil mineralogy of Oxisols (highly weathered soils) under the supervision of Professor Luciano Gatiboni. During that time, I knew that the master`s would be only a transition for the PhD. I have always been striked by the quality and contribution of Prof. Leo Condron`s work for the scientific community regarding phosphorus in the environment. When contacted in 2013, Prof. Condron promptly agreed to supervise the PhD and that is why I am here.
The PhD project: “Role and function of organic and microbial phosphorus in the sustainable management of intensive agroecosystems” is funded by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, MEC/CAPES.  Phosphorus is a fundamental element for living organisms and yet, is a finite resource. Understanding the biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus, and the contribution of the soil microorganisms to plant nutrition, associated with the opportunities of their management aiming the amendments in plant productivity are crucial factors for improving its efficiency of utilization. The objective of this research is to investigate the impact of different agricultural land management strategies and amendments on the quantities and nature of organic phosphorus, together with the effects on the dynamics of microbial biomass phosphorus.
There is a number of other scientists from other universities and research institutions contributing to improving the quality of this research. My main research interests are to investigate the role of biological processes in the dynamics and nature of phosphorus in agricultural systems targeting a more sustainable and efficient utilization of this nutrient.”

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