PhD Postgrad Intro – Monica Giona Bucci

Monica Giona Bucci has just completed her PhD in the department of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Professor Peter Almond (Lincoln University), Dr. Pilar Villamor (GNS Science), Dr. Martitia Tuttle  (Tuttle & Associates) and Dr. Carol Smith (Lincoln University) have supervised her research.

I come from Italy where I completed a Bachelor and Master degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences at “La Sapienza” University of Rome. During both my final dissertations I learnt the importance of studying pedology and GIS mapping and these skills were particularly useful during my PhD.


My PhD project was about studying the sedimentary architecture of two settings (alluvial and coastal) affected by liquefaction features triggered during the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence. My PhD research was very interesting because it allowed me to learn different techniques for liquefaction investigations and to contribute in improving the understanding of the susceptibility to liquefaction across the Canterbury Region.

PhD Postgrad Intro – Daniel Hendrie

Daniel Hendrie – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Soil Science


Daniel Martin-Hendrie is currently studying for his PhD in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Associate Professor Jim Moir, Dr. Alistar Black, Derrick Moot, Leo Condron and Dr. Nik Lehto are supervising this research.

“I am from South Canterbury and came to Lincoln way back in 2011. Having completed a BAgSci with honours I am now studying a PhD investigating lime and fertiliser application on legume production in acidic high country soils. My project is funded by the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and Callaghan Innovation.”

PhD Postgrad Intro – Carmen Medina Carmona

Carmen Medina Carmona is currently studying for her PhD in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Professor Timothy Clough, Dr. Mike Beare and Dr. Sam McNally are supervising this research.

“I am from Colombia and I grew up surrounded by mountains and coffee plantations. Then I moved to Spain where I graduated with a BSc Honours in Environmental Science from Autonomous University of Barcelona. My interest in Soil Science started when I had the opportunity to work on a project assessing the potential of carbon sequestration in a limestone quarry mine soil amended with sewage sludge.

Currently I am doing a PhD project, about the influence of irrigation on carbon soil dynamics under pastures. I hope that at the end of this project we can determine whether irrigated pastures make the soil a sink or source of carbon, and therefore their impacts in terms of CO2 emissions.”

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.”

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.