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Earth science postgraduate students top again

Waikato’s Earth science postgraduate students top again

Two postgraduate students from the Waikato University’s Department of Earth Sciences, Dr Haydon Jones and Ms Rachael Standish, have been awarded elite prizes by the New Zealand Society of Soil Science for their research.

Dr Jones, now working as a soil scientist for Ensis (CRI formerly known as Forest Research) in Rotorua, has been awarded the Morice Fieldes Memorial Award for best PhD thesis in soil science in New Zealand for 2005. The award was made jointly with Massey graduate Dr Fabio Moreno. Haydon follows in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Dr John Menneer (now at AgResearch, Hamilton), also from Waikato University.

Dr Jones worked on developing and testing new methods for predicting soil properties relevant to pine plantation forestry management in the Mahurangi area near Warkworth, Northland. The work, sponsored in part by Dr Tim Payn’s sustainable management group at Ensis, involved soil-landscape modelling and spatial analysis using geostatisitical techniques. Haydon’s chief supervisor was Associate Professor David Lowe, leader of the Soils Group in Earth Sciences.

“Dr Jones’ thesis was outstanding and it’s very gratifying that the Society has recognised this by making the award to Haydon. He is the ninth Waikato University graduate to receive the Fieldes Award, which is a great result considering we face tough competition every year from specialist soil science departments at Massey and Lincoln universities,”said Dr Lowe.

The second award was presented to Rachael Standish, currently working as an environmental scientist at Tonkin and Taylor in Auckland. Rachel was awarded the Sir Theodore Rigg Memorial Award for her masterate thesis, judged the best in soil science in New Zealand for 2005. Rachael studied the contamination of soils and groundwater in the Taupo area by organochlorine pesticides (such as dieldrin, DDT), which had been banned in the 1960s. Rachael’s award is the ninth to be made to a Waikato masterate student, and follows that by another Waikato graduate, Dave Palmer. Currently undertaking doctoral studies in Earth Science, Dave won the Rigg Award for his MSc thesis for 2003.

Both Dr Jones and Rachael Standish will be presented with their awards at the N.H. Taylor Memorial Lecture of the New Zealand Society of Soil Science, a public lecture being hosted by the Soils Group of the Department of Earth Sciences at 3.30 pm on Friday 18 November in room AG.30 (Gate 8, Hillcrest Rd). For further information, contact Dr David Lowe ph 855-0692 or email


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