Dr Damien Field
I believe in integrating good science with the needs and wants of those who work in agriculture and for the environment to solve real-world problems. This is demonstrated by my research on improving the soil’s functionality and how this benefits the communities working relying on it. I am also passionate about education and I believe that by linking good research with teaching, as well as the involvement of the broader community, can promote an environment where students can actively learn so they are inspired to solve ‘real-world’ problems.
My research raises questions on how various soil functions affect and support both agriculture and the surrounding environment. To do this I have worked with fellow researchers within and outside of the University to develop protocols to assess soil functions such as; soil structural stability, the intrinsic energy of soil aggregation, and a focus on modeling the relationships between soil structure, soil carbon and soil biology. My curiosity in this research is inspired by the need to address 'real-world' problems and my willingness to listen to the needs and attitudes of the community. Using this approach I believe we can develop relevant and practical protocols that are of interest to those concerned.
I also have a strong interest in developing the Faculty’s teaching and learning curriculum, both for undergraduates and postgraduates. I have achieved this by researching and mapping the desired skills, attributes, discipline knowledge and graduate outcomes, which are then embedded into the curriculum using innovative teaching methods. This has been supported by a number of small and large teaching grants, including Australian Learning and Teaching Council funding towards a National Curriculum (report; http://www.olt.gov.au/resource-national-soil-science-curriculum-response-needs-students-academic-staff-industry-and-wider-). This research has resulted in collaborations with 5 of Australia’s leading Universities, and subsequent collaborations with Texas A&M in the USA and Universities in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.
After completing his Bachelor of Science in Soil Science and his PhD researching the ‘effect of cotton production on soil structure’, Damien was appointed as a research fellow for the Australian Cotton CRC. In this role he developed farmer-friendly new analytical and field-based methods that are now included in Decision Support Systems for the cotton industry. He was appointed to the University of Sydney as the Coordinator for Laboratory and Field Work Teaching before accepting his current position of Senior Lecturer. During this time he has also held the responsibility of Associate Dean, Postgraduate Studies for the Faculty. In addition to his Faculty position he is currently seconded (0.2 FTE) to work for the DVC Education as the Sydney eLearning Academic Director for the Science, Technology and Business Cluster (http://sydney.edu.au/elearning), and represents Laos as its Country Coordinator in the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC: http://sydney.edu.au/southeast-asia-centre) .
Damien has also completed a Master of Education (Higher Education) and using this along with his experiences in teaching he consistently works with colleagues, nationally and internationally to develop innovative and exciting teaching and learning activities for both undergraduates and postgraduates. He has received competitive grants to develop new approaches to education. This has resulted in new approaches to teaching and the publication of the inaugural list of unique teaching principles for soil science. He has been invited to provide expert advice on future national teaching through the National Research, Development & Education Strategies for Soil Science and new developments in soil science in the USA and South-East Asia.
Working with his colleagues he has supervised both undergraduate and postgraduate students’ research in areas such as: soil structure and function, soil carbon dynamics and soil biology, use of applied physics in agronomy and land use rehabilitation, soil science and agriculture education, and archaeology.
- Daynes, C. N., Field D. J., Saleeba, J. A., Cole, M. A., McGee, P. A., (2013) Development and stabilisation of soil structure via interactions between organic matter, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and plant roots. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 57, 683-694.
- Stockmann, U., Adams, M., Crawford, J. W., Field D. J., Henakaarchchi, N., Jenkins, M., Minasny, B., de Courcelles V. de R., Singh. K., Wheeler. I., Abbott, L., Angers. D., Baldock. J., Bird. M., Brookes. P. C., Chenu. C., Jastrow. J., Lal. R., Lehmann. C. J., O’Donnell. A. G., Parton. W. J., Whitehead. D., Zimmermann. M., (2013) The knowns, known unknowns and unknowns of sequestration of soil organic carbon. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 164, 80-99.
- Field, D. J., Koppi, A. J., Jarrett, L. E., Abbott L. K., Cattle, S. R., Grant, C. D., McBratney, A B., Menzies, N. W., Weatherly, A. J. 2011. Soil science teaching principles. Geoderma. 167-168, 9-14
- Jarrett, L., Field, D. J., Koppi, T. 2011. An action learning approach to changing teaching practice using group reflection on student and graduate feedback. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education 19, (1), 43-54.
- Koppi A. J., Nolan E., Field D. J. 2010 Developing transferable research skills in first year agricultural economics students. Journal of University Learning and Teaching Vol. 7, Issue 2. Viewed 15/07/2011 http://ro.uow.edu.au/jutlp/vol7/iss2/6.
- Zhu Z., Field D. J., Minasny B. 2010. Measuring and Modeling the actual energy involved in aggregate breakdown. Catena, 82, p. 53-60.
- Zhu Z., Minasny B., Field D. J. 2009. Adapting technology for measuring soil aggregate dispersive energy using ultrasonic dispersion. Biosystems Engineering 104, 258-265.
- Zhu Z., Minasny B., Field D. J., 2009 Measurement of aggregate bond energy using ultrasonic dispersion. European Journal of Soil Science 60, 695-705.
- Malamoud K., McBratney A. B., Minasny B., Field D. J., 2009. Modelling how carbon affects soil structure. Geoderma 149, 19-26
- Minasny, B. McBratney, A. B., Field, D. J., Tranter, G., McKenzie, N. & Brough D. M. 2007. Relationship between field texture and particle size distribution in Australia and their implications. Australian Journal of Soil Research. 45 428-437.