Prof. Tim Cavagnaro is Professor of Soil Ecology in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, and Associate Dean Research Partnerships in the Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology, at The University of Adelaide. Tim’s research is focused on soil ecological processes, with an emphasis on the impacts of land management and environmental change on soil ecosystem services. His work focuses on soil microbiomes, ecological intensification, soil carbon sequestration and plant-microbe interactions. Tim’s current projects are in agrosystems including broad acre cropping, vineyards, orchards and urban agriculture. Spanning the science-policy interface is also a key feature in his work. You can learn more about Tim’s research activities here and follow him on Twitter @IDigSoil.
Dr Thomas Lines is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine. Before starting his Postdoc at UofA, Tom graduated his PhD in freshwater ecology at Monash University. He also has undergraduate degrees in chemical engineering and biotechnology. Tom is currently managing four trial sites throughout South Australia, collecting and analysing data on microbiomes, soil and plant physiology to better understand how management of the under-vine area in vineyards affects productivity and soil health. He is passionate about applied science and providing value to the hard working grape growers that fund his research. You can learn more about Tom’s research here.
Dr Matthias (Matt) Salomon is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with previous degrees in agri- and horticultural-sciences. His PhD thesis focused upon soil health in urban agriculture with an emphasis on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). This work involved soil testing of various urban agriculture sites in the metropolitan area of Adelaide. Soils were tested towards safety and fertility, and, whether crop productivity can be bolstered using beneficial microorganisms, such as AMF. Matt has a strong interest in applied research and the application of hypotheses within real-life scenarios. This involves the cooperation with stakeholders and farmers, as well as extensive field work. As an extension of his interest in applied research, Matt is working as a carbon accountant to facilitate the sustainable development of businesses. You can learn more about Matt’s research here.
Dr Krista Sumby is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on The Microbiome Poject looking at “Past, Present and Future Drivers of Soil Change” utilising her expertise in microbial ecology and molecular biology. Dr Sumby has over fifteen years of scientific research experience and has worked on several molecular and microbiology-based projects. She completed an MSc in Microbiology at the University of Canterbury leading to work in the dairy industry on microbial genetic projects. Dr Sumby completed a PhD in Wine Microbiology in 2013, working on bacterial enzymes involved in flavour production in wine, before further work in wine microbiology and microbial ecology isolating and identifying yeast and bacteria from the environment. Dr Sumby was most recently a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production at The University of Adelaide (2017-2022) investigating vine and grape attributes that favour particular yeast species. You can learn more about Krista’s research here
Dr Joseph (Joe) Marks is a PhD student with previous degrees in Ecology, Geography and International Studies. His PhD research focuses broadly on under-vine (grapevine) floor management practices across several vineyard sites in South Australia. Specifically, his research focuses on the influence of cover crops on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, soil organic carbon dynamics and plant litter decomposition. Joe’s primary aim is to communicate with grape-growers to better understand challenges and convey the outcomes of his research to enhance sustainability within the Australian wine industry. Joe has a strong interest in exploring the ecological intensification of agroecosystems – applying ecological thinking to practical solutions in industry. Joe aims to focus more intensely on quantifying soil-carbon dynamics throughout South Australian vineyards and other agroecosystems. You can learn more about Joe’s research here.
Isobel Hume is currently trying to answer the question ‘Self-sufficiency through urban agriculture: nice idea or plausible reality?’ through her PhD. Isobel’s research focuses upon spatial and resource requirements for self-sufficiency in vegetable and rainwater harvesting. Isobel takes a quantitative approach, with data analysis and spatial modelling performed in Python and ArcMap – combining multispectral optical imagery; LiDAR; cadastral, climate, and biological data. You can learn more about Isobel’s research here.
Hannah Thwaites is exploring urban agriculture’s potential for building community resilience in the face of climate change. Hannah’s PhD studies lie at the intersection of the biophysical sciences and social sciences disciplines, aiming to demonstrate how urban agricultural practices can address social-ecological system challenges of climate change, particularly in fostering community engagement and resilience. You can learn more about Hannah’s research here.
Jade Rose is interested in plant pathology, soil science and general agronomy. Through her PhD studies, Jade is investigating the nitrogen cycle and effect on microbial communities of above and below-ground pulse residues in mixed cropping systems in South Australia. Jade has a strong passion for applied research and communicating research that improves sustainability, viability and profitability of farm businesses. A key focus within her career is to facilitate capacity building within the agricultural and research community to bring together farmers, agronomists and researchers. You can learn more about Jade’s research here.
Kate Matthews is interested in the role of soil in maintaining the health of agricultural and natural ecosystems. Her PhD research investigates the use of soil microbiomes as indicators of soil health. She aims to demonstrate the ability of ecologically based principals to transform agroecosystems for positive social and environmental outcomes.
Alex Mason is a PhD candidate working on bioinoculants for sustainable agriculture, specifically the development and utilisation of soil microbes for soil carbon retention and plant productivity. Alex has a background in restoration ecology and evolutionary biology, and is interested in incorporating elements of these fields into largescale production systems. Alex works part-time at Duxton Capital (Australia), who are also supporting his research.
Stephen Lang is a PhD student with a varied background across both agricultural research and production. He is interested in the management of soil constraints to improve crop production both locally and internationally. Stephen’s current research explores root growth in sandy soils to better understand how crops respond to deep ripping and other amelioration strategies.You can learn more about Stephen’s research here.
Diem Nguyen is undertaking research into determining the functions of Arbuscular mycorrhizas (AM) fungi on cereal crops such as rice and wheat with regards to micronutrient uptake and phytate accumulation to improve grain bio-available nutrition levels. Diem’s PhD research will also demonstrate whether the micronutrition being location on grain and the related interest gene expression are affected by AM fungi. You can learn more about Diem’s research here.