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.

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Read more: Lincoln University Staff Profile

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

Z is for Podzol

“Podzol Soils occur in areas of high rainfall and are usually associated with forest trees with an acid litter. The soils occur mainly in materials from silica-rich rocks. They cover 13% of New Zealand.”

In the Labs for Lincoln Uni’s Level 1 Soil Science course this week we have been looking at different soil profiles, describing horizons and classifying them to the NZ Soil Classification. Podzol is one that the students get to and ponder for a while. It’s abundance of different horizons can be quite confusing at first, but after working through them, can be appreciated as a beautiful.

Podzols - Landcare Research
Photo Credit: https://soils.landcareresearch.co.nz/describing-soils/nzsc/soil-order/podzol-soils

A Podzol generally has an Ah horizon, followed by a E, then all or one of; Bh, Bs, Bfm, making for a colourful soil description and something to get fresh soil science minds working. The E horizon is an eluviated horizon, where the weathering over thousands of years has leached any nutrients, organic matter, iron and aluminium oxides out of it making it a very pale horizon.

Read more on LandcareResearch’s ‘Describing Soils’ Webpage

References:

https://soils.landcareresearch.co.nz/describing-soils/nzsc/soil-order/podzol-soils

https://www.landis.org.uk/services/soilsguide/series.cfm?serno=729

Staff Intro – Judith van Dijk Soil Science Tutor

Judith van Dijk – Tutor of Environmental Physics, Soil and Earth Sciences.

Judith grew up in the Netherlands, studying, living and working for 8 years in Utrecht completing a Bachelors in Earth Science and a Masters in Physical Geography. The Research project component of her Master degree was carried out at Lincoln University with Associate Professor Peter Almond. A couple of years before Judith permanently moved to New Zealand in 2012.

Earth Science became Judith’s desired study path after seeing a display at a careers expo. One month before her university enrollment due date she changed from being enrolled for Med School to a degree in Earth Science. What a great decision! Earth Science lead on to Physical Geography and from there into Soil Science, to where she is today.

After being at Lincoln University for her Master’s research for 8 months, Judith knew she wanted to come back to New Zealand to live here, so when the tutoring role became available she jumped at it. Having tutored throughout her studies in the Netherlands she really felt like she would fit the role at Lincoln.

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As a Tutor in Environmental Physics, Soil and Earth Sciences since early 2012, being in front of the class is what keeps Judith inspired in this role: “When I’m in front of the class, it’s fun, everything feels right and it just works. I love teaching and having the ability to teach applied science in a laboratory setting. I enjoy the practical approach and am always coming up with new ideas on teaching and blended learning, it’s exciting.”

Working in the Soils Department at Lincoln University, the reliability of morning tea-time is a highlight of each day. “There’s always going to be someone there, you’ll never end up alone, and the conversations can cover literally anything.” Another highlight is the way the department works as a team and how everyone is always helping each other out.

Squash, tramping, sewing, gardening, cycling and chain-sawing are a few of the things Judith does outside of work, not forgetting good beer and good food of course.

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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

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.

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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.

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.

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