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Waikato research quality rewarded at soil science conference

Waikato research quality rewarded at national soil science conference

Staff and graduates of the University of Waikato’s School of Science earth sciences programme featured prominently in the awards presented at the New Zealand Society of Soil Science (NZSSS) national conference held in Hamilton in early December.

The conference - the first to be held by NZSSS in New Zealand since 2008 - attracted more than 180 delegates, including 23 from Waikato University and several international visitors.

The awards were presented at the conference dinner with six Waikato staff or students receiving recognition.

Earth Sciences Professor Louis Schipper was awarded the M.L. Leamy Award for best publication in soil science for the past three years for a paper describing a new theory on the temperature sensitivity of biological processes that applies to scales ranging from enzymes through to ecosystems in soils, which was published in Global Change Biology.

Former PhD student Dr Paul Mudge won the Fieldes Award for best PhD thesis of 2014 and current student Sam McNally won the Bert Quinn Award for best PhD student entering their third year in 2014.

MSc student Olivia Jordan won the highly competitive Tom Walker Memorial Prize for best student oral presentation at the conference while former MSc student Alice Barnett  was awarded the Rigg Award for best MSc thesis for 2013 and BSc graduate Danielle Le Lievre won the NZSSS best completing undergraduate student in soil science award for Waikato University (2014).

The conference organising committee included Professor Schipper and Dr Megan Balks along with several former Waikato students while three field trips were led by Waikato staff or alumni.

A conference stand-out was the dinner held at the Hamilton Gardens, with participants able to tour the gardens with Wiremu Puke - a keynote speaker at the conference - on hand to describe and explain the Te Parapara Garden (early Maori traditional garden).


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