Soil Science Group


Dr Jianming Xue, Leader of the Soil Science Group

Jianming is a senior scientist at Scion. His areas of expertise are in integrated soil fertility and nutrient management, genetic and environmental control of resource use efficiency, the fate and transport of nutrient and contaminants in ecosystems, and reuse and land application of biowastes. His current research focusses on developing sustainable biowaste reuse solutions for improving soil quality and forest productivity with minimal environmental and ecological footprints. / +64 3 364 2987 ext 7826

Dr Alma Siggins

Alma is a senior scientist at ESR. She uses molecular ecology techniques to monitor changes in soil microbial communities associated with the land application of biowastes, including sub-surface irrigation with greywater, and surface spreading of biosolids and agricultural effluent. She also investigates potential environmental and public health risks associated with septic tank effluent. Alma leads the 'Greywater-wise' project at ESR. / +64 4 914 0689

Dr Brett Robinson

Brett is an associate professor in the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Lincoln University. In addition to teaching a range of courses on soil science, chemistry, biogeochemistry and climate change, he researches the effects of trace elements in the environment. This is important for the Soil Science group of the CIBR, as trace elements such as heavy metals can be present in biosolids and other biowastes. / +64 3 423 0790 

Robyn Simcock

Robyn Simcock is an ecologist/soil scientist based at Landcare Research in Auckland. She has experience in land rehabilitation offering expertise in major mine, roading and dam projects. She has also worked in low impact urban design such as water sensitive design, greenroofs, bioretention and raingardens. She has a strong ecological research and environmental chemistry focus, concentrating on maintenance/management to achieve ecological benefits. / +64 9 574 4153

Dr Maria Jesus Gutierrez Gines is a post-doctoral fellow at ESR. Her research aims to establish NZ native vegetation in degraded soils amended with biowaste. She seeks to discover which plant species benefit from biowaste application in low fertility soils in terms of growth and nutrient uptake; with low heavy metal uptake. Each species behave differently depending on soil type and the process of biowaste addition. That is why it is important to find the best combination of biowaste application and plant species to remediate specific degraded land.She is also investigating the development and behaviour of roots in heterogeneous distribution of biowaste in soil so guidelines about biowaste application in full scale operations can be suggested. / +64 4 914 0686

Jen Prosser 

Jen is an environmental scientist at ESR with a background in soil biochemistry and microbiology. She has been working in the soil and biowaste field for over 11 years and has expertise in the areas of soil health and microbial and chemical contamination of soil from organic wastes. Previously Jen was involved in projects looking into beneficial recycling of biosolids to land and through composting, more recent focuses have centred around the use of native New Zealand plant species with known antimicrobial properties to mitigate microbial contamination of soil. / +64 4 9140663

Dr Jürgen Esperschütz is a postdoctoral fellow at Lincoln University and has a background in microbial ecology, ecosystem development, aboveground – belowground plant interactions and stable isotope applications. He has carried out research and experiments in greenhouse, lysimeter, phytotron and field environments, designed in close cooperation with engineers, technicians and statisticians to ensure a high scientific standard and publishable results.His main interests are nutrient and trace element processes, and their interactions in the soil – microbe – plant system. At Lincoln University he is currently working with phytomanagement systems, concentrating on biowaste recycling to degraded and low fertility soil while increasing plant and food quality.