Our faculty members leading the way for Soil Science on all horizons

19 August 2010

The soil science group in the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources have not shied away from the making a significant contribution to the success of the 2000 delegate 19th World Congress of Soil Science in Brisbane recently. As well as developing and leading an oversubscribed pre-conference tour from Sydney to Brisbane the group submitted over 20 papers from its staff and postgraduate students and have taken on some of the leading roles in the International Union of Soil Sciences.

The 'Agricultural Heartlands' Pre-Conference Tour set off early morning the 26th of July from Sydney with 37 international participants from 15 countries, making its way through the Hunter Valley, Liverpool Plains, the Namoi and Gwydir valleys the Darling Downs and Toowoomba arriving in Brisbane on the 31st August. The delegates visited many soil profiles along the way, including those on the Faculty's Farm Nowley and the I.A. Watson Research Centre, debating the finer details of the soil and how these affect local agricultural and environmental issues. Alex McBratney, Balwant Singh, Stephen Cattle and Damien Field were congratulated by the participants for organising an interesting, logistically well planned and scientifically informed tour.

The group was well supported by Michael Short and Jessica Heath who made sure there was a tour book and places to eat and sleep. Brendan Malone, Marcello Stabile and Brett Whelan presented aspects of their work during the tour.

At the congress 10 staff and 12 postgraduates presented their latest research findings giving 7 oral presentations and the remaining 14 papers as posters covering a wide range of areas of interest. The staff in the Faculty were also actively involved in convening and co-convening 8 of the Symposia. Some 15 undergraduate students also attended the conference as part of their studies in the unit of study, The Soil at Work (SOIL3010), conducting at least 30 interviews of international and local delegates of which they are now making into videos for presentation.

Alex McBratney was elected Deputy Secretary General for the International Union of Soil Sciences, while Stephen Cattle has accepted the role as Chair of Soil Education and Public Awareness (Commission 4.4) and Balwant Singh is now the Vice-Chair of Soil Mineralogy (Commission 2.4). Along with Damien Field being awarded best Oral Presentation by the Australian Soil Science Society, the organisation of the well received Agricultural Heartlands tour, the significant number of papers contributed, and using the Congress as a learning environment, the soil science group has represented the Faculty well at this truly international event.

Contact: Dr Damien Field

Phone: 02 9351 2527

Email: 37391f2314046a2a135d1e333a11351d563f137b0006216a553c