Staff Intro – Roger McLenahgan – Senior Tutor in Soil Science

Roger McLenaghen – Senior Soil Science Tutor

Roger is a local lad through and through, born in Killinchy near Leeston, he grew up on a mixed cropping farm. After Lincoln High school Roger studied for his NZ certificate in Science and Chemistry at Christchurch polytechnic. When the job as a technician came up at Lincoln University in 1974, he jumped at it. The opportunity to get a job and to get into the work force was too good to miss, and it’s that good, he’s been here ever since. Coming off a farm, the role was one he could relate to. Progressing into a tutoring role in 1980, and now a senior tutor.

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Roger, helping out the Lincoln University Soil Judging Team at the 2016 NZ Soil Judging Competition in Wanaka.

“Rog”, as he is known by the students, is a legend in the soils department. If you asked someone about their soil science experience at Lincoln Uni, I’m sure you’ll hear about Rog. He’s full of classic jokes and makes the soil science labs a great experience. He’ll tell you all about his favourite soil, “it’s like chocolate mousse dessert,” or how to cure a hangover by eating a tablespoon of clay.

Students quotes about Rog “The Man” Roger:

“The best thing about Lincoln so far is Rog.”

“Yea, I love Rog, he’s the Man!”

“42 is the answer.”

“Coffee time is compulsory and happens multiple times of day or night”

Roger’s passion for soil science and the students, working with them to help them achieve, is what keeps him going. “Finishing the year, having a break, you always look forward to the students coming back the next year.” Also working in the Soil Science Department, “It’s like a big family.” The people make it.

Outside of University, Roger is a key part of the local volunteer fire service. Also enjoying tennis, gardening and cooking.

Roger McL

Read more: Lincoln University Staff Profile

Students quotes from “Roger is the Man” Facebook page.

Staff Intro – Senior Lecturer Carol Smith

Main Research Areas: Paleoclimate. Land-reclamation. Pedology.

Carol is originally from the UK, growing up in South-East England, before moving to New Zealand in 1993. She completed a BSc. (Hons) in geographical science at Portsmouth, followed by a MSc in pedology and soil survey at Reading and then a PhD in soil science at Aberdeen.

Paleoclimate – a climate prevalent at a particular time in the geological past.

Pedology – the study of soils in their natural environment. The scientific study of soils and their weathering profiles.

It was her undergraduate focus on geomorphology, pedology, combined with micro-morphology while at Reading, that got her into the area of research she follows today. “The paleoclimate record in soils and landscapes is relevant to our understanding of the extent of past climate change; it offers a point of reference to computer models of future climate”. Carol is also passionate about land rehabilitation and the opportunities that using recycled organic materials can have on improving soil quality.

“Looking at New Zealand’s past climate through soils is very exciting.”

Carol Smith at Soil Judging Comp 2016

Carol started at Lincoln University as a tutor alongside the legendary Phil Tokin in 1993. Following a move to Sydney in 1997 with her young family and a stint in the private sector as an environmental consultant, she returned to Lincoln in 2005 as a lecturer in soil science. She was appointed to her present role as HoD in 2017. Carol’s inspiration in this role is being able to work with people and help them do their job to the best of their ability; whether that is through teaching, research or university management.

“It’s all about the people – the staff and students in the Soil Department; we all work together as a good team. We are small enough to know each other and we also have a few adventures along the way.”

In her down time Carol makes the most of the outdoors, seeking a balance between a busy work week and active relaxation on the weekends, when she can be found hitting the Port Hills on her bike. Skiing and tramping are also favourites when the seasons allow, as well as catching up with her two young adult children (when they’re not asking for money or to borrow the car). “Exploring NZ, all those hidden, beautiful corners.”

Find out more: Carol Smith Lincoln University Staff Profile

Carol Smith Blog Photo_B&W

Staff Intro – Professor Timothy Clough

Professor Timothy Clough.

Main Research Areas: Green House Gases (GHG), Nitrogen (N) and Carbon (C).

Lincoln University has been lucky enough to have Tim here for 20 years! Tim’s enthusiasm for research and teaching in soil science hasn’t waned, saying “there’s no ground hog days, it’s always different, there’s variety and it’s very interesting. The discovery of new findings keeps me going.”

Tim is a Christchurch man, born and breed in Canterbury. After working on a Sheep station one summer he was inspired to go to Lincoln University, where he pursed a degree in Agricultural Science. Completing a BAgSc with Honours he went to work at MAF in Hamilton, before returning to Lincoln for a PhD in Soil Science. Tim’s PhD research looked at “Bovine Urine N in Peat Soils”, this lead onto nitrous oxide and where he is today, specialising in GHGs.

Tim’s role at Lincoln University includes scientific research, teaching and postgraduate supervision. The things that stand out for Tim about working in Lincoln University Soil Science Department are; the open door policy, collegiality and the expertise within the department. “We’re world leading in some of the work we do. When I came to Lincoln, you’d heard of the guys who worked here, they were well known for what they were achieving on the world stage.”

‘Collegial – an adjective describing a work environment where responsibility and authority is shared equally by colleagues. You know you work in a collegial environment when your co-workers smile at you, and you don’t have to hide from your supervisor.’

When he’s not hard at work at Lincoln University unearthing new scientific discoveries, teaching young minds and supervising postgrads, Tim enjoys the outdoors. Spending his down time; tramping, fishing, swimming and biking, also enjoying his music, having played saxophone. Who knows how he fits it all in!

Find out more – Professor Timothy Clough Lincoln University Staff Profile

TImothy Clough - Blog Photo

Staff Intro – Associate Professor Jim Moir

Associate Professor Jim Moir.

Main Research Areas: Soil Fertility & Plant Growth Relationships. Fertilisers.

Growing up on a Dairy farm in Taranaki, Jim had an eye for agriculture from a young age. While at Massey University working in detail with soil chemistry and plant growth relationships, Jim was inspired to follow the path of research he specialises in today. Completing a Bachelor of Agriculture along with a Post-grad diploma, Masters and PhD in Soil Science before coming to Lincoln University.

17 years at Lincoln University, now an Associate Professor in the Agriculture and Life Sciences, Soil Science Department. Jim is a senior researcher, postgraduate supervisor and undergraduate lecturer. As well as his on campus research and teaching, Jim spends time working on national and international projects and extension – both on and off farm science communication and research.

Investigating the unknown and making new discoveries is what keeps Jim inspired in his work. His favourite thing about the Lincoln University Soil Science Department is being able to collaborate and work with such great people; valued colleagues and students. Outside of University Jim is an avid traveler, book reader and socialite, enjoying catching up with friends for a cold one.

Jim Moir - Blog Photo

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, stuff.co.nz

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.” – stuff.co.nz

 

 

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!

Masters Postgrad Intro – Xueying Che (Sherry)

Xueying Che (Sherry)- Master of Science, Soil Science

Xueying Che is currently studying for her Master of Science degree in the field of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Associate Professor Jim Moir and Dr Alistair Black are supervising this research.

“Hi, my name is Xueying Che. I was born and grew up in the northeast of China. I did my undergraduate diploma of horticulture science in  Hainan University in China, and I just finished my postgraduate diploma in horticulture science last year in Lincoln. I am really interested in Agriculture Science and soil science in New Zealand.

Sawdon Station

Currently, I am doing a Master project about “The biological effects of Lupinus polyphylus on soil nitrogen in acid high country soils”. I feel excited and interested in my project.”