PhD Postgrad Intro – Dirk Wallace

Dirk Wallace – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Soil Science


Dirk Wallace is currently studying for his PhD in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Associate Professor Peter Almond is supervising this research.

“I grew up in Rotorua and started off studying engineering at Waikato University where I took earth science elective papers. I quickly figured out that soil science was way more fun than calculus so changed to an earth science major and chased the dream from there”
“Currently I am doing a PhD project looking at amending irrigated soils with a range of products to increase water storage and reduce drainage. Its been a great challenge and has allowed me to develop a fairly broad range of skills”

PhD Postgrad Intro – Amy Whitley

Amy Whitley – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Soil Science


Amy Whitley is currently studying for her PhD in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Associate Professor Jim Moir, Peter Almond, Derrick Moot and Dr Niklas Lehto are supervising this research.

“I am from Hamilton and came down to the South Island to study a BSc majoring in Environmental Biogeosciences at Lincoln University in 2010. Having not come from a farming background, I quickly learnt the importance of soil in agricultural systems. I had some passionate lecturers who made me excited about soils and I wanted to learn more. I decided to complete an honours year of research, which looked at the response of six forage legume species to lime, phosphorus and sulphur on an acidic high country soil”

Amy Whitley2

“My PhD thesis research focus is on soil acidity and Al toxicity on high and hill country soils in New Zealand. This has led me on many exciting adventures around New Zealand, to some picturesque places to sample soils.  I am looking forward to seeing where this will take me in the future.”

Science – Drilling deep to unearth a new frontier in the story of nitrate movement!

Here is a positive article about ground breaking research to investigate nitrate movement at depth and the role of microbes.

Science – Drilling Deep into Dirty Dairying,

How we talk about science is as important as the science itself. This research is ground-breaking stuff, positive and full of potential to provide ways of dealing with our nations environmental challenges. So why do we label articles like this with potentially misleading catch phrases? How has something so important been turned into click bait and tainted with, let’s hope, unconscious bias?

So, lets look at the exciting stuff – the science!

Dr. Gwen Grelet and Dr. David Whitehead are the lead researchers in this study, examining bacteria and fungi at depth in the soil. They will be trying to identify which parts of the microbes’ genes control the soil nitrogen processes – nitrification and denitrification, that may provide the key to keeping nitrate from reaching waterways and aquifers.

The Landcare Research science team – in collaboration with Lincoln University, Plant & Food Research and Scion – believe they’re doing something no-one else in the science community has dared to do. Something big.

What sets this experiment apart is the size of the samples and the impressive-looking 10-tonne drilling rig. McMillan Drilling group designed a custom-made drilling head to plunge sterilised PVC pipes into stony Canterbury soils to a depth of 1.7 m. The samples extracted weigh about 100kg.” –



Soil Judging is the new NBA

If you are interested in soils, want to get your hands dirty and get to know different soil types around the world you should get involved in soil judging!

I had the great opportunity of participating in the first New Zealand soil judging competition in Wanaka last year, as part of the New Zealand and Australia Soil Science Conference in Queenstown.

Not only did we have a great couple of days in the field, hands on learning about soils but we got to know fellow soil lovers, with participants from across NZ, Australia and America.

Comradery, companionship and competition! the perfect combination, all that and ‘expanding your horizons’ with great soils knowledge.

Check out Society of Soil Judgers on facebook!

Read more in our recent post ‘Learning by Doing’ by Dr Carol Smith about organising and running New Zealand’s first soil judging competition in December 2016!

Honours Postgrad Intro – Connor Edwards

Connor Edwards – Honours degree, Soil Science

Connor Edwards is currently studying for his Honours degree in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Professors Keith Cameron is supervising this research.

I grew up on my grandfather’s beef farm in the small town of Wellsford north of Auckland where I was home schooled by my mother. Being home schooled I enjoyed a lot of time on the farm with my grandfather and made up my mind early that I was going to work in the agricultural industry. This led me to begin studying at Lincoln University in 2014.  I quickly became intrigued about Soils, mainly due to the wide range of research and the fact that the research has real and direct implications for the wider world. This along with the enthusiasm of the professors have meant that I have never looked back.

Currently I am doing an Honours project about the effect a catch crop of oats following winter grazed fodder beet has on nitrate leaching losses. This project excited me because of its practical relevance to New Zealand’s agricultural sector and the positive environmental impacts this research may provide.

PhD Postgrad Intro – Roshean Woods

Roshean Woods – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Soil Science


Roshean Woods is currently studying for her PhD in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Professors Keith Cameron, Grant Edwards, Hong Di and Tim Clough are supervising this research.

“I grew up in NZ and was inspired to study at an agricultural university following a visit from DairyNZ to my high school, I loved science at school and their visit made the connection to an industry which I could see myself working in. During my Bachelor of Science degree I developed a keen interest in soil science , so I decided to continue studying soil science for my Honours degree and then now my PhD.

My PhD project is about the effect of alternative forages and gibberellic acid on nitrate leaching from New Zealand pastoral systems. An area of study which is very topical at the moment and I really enjoy.

PhD Postgrad Intro – Anna Carlton

Anna Carlton – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Soil Science


Anna Carlton is currently studying for her PhD in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Professors Keith Cameron, Hong Di, Tim Clough and Grant Edwards are supervising this research.

“I grew up in Tauranga, New Zealand and moved to Christchurch eight years ago when I started my BSc (hons) at Lincoln University. After completing my honours dissertation in the soils and physical sciences department, I started work on a dairy farm followed by work with an irrigation company which eventually lead me back to Lincoln University to start my PhD.

My PhD thesis title is ‘Effects of alternative forage species and irrigation management on plant nitrogen uptake and nitrate leaching.” The last few years have entailed a couple of frosty mornings, too much cow pee, many interesting results and a lot of great people! This PhD is part of the Forages for Reduced Nitrate Leaching program. “