UNE's strength in soils

Published 29 November 2018

UNE’s outstanding capability in soils science was on display at last week’s National Soils Conference in Canberra, where the University’s researchers set the pace in the conference competitions.

UNE PhD candidate Ivanah Oliver was the Individual Champion of the Australian Soil Judging Competition, and captained the UNE team that placed second in the team judging event.

Ivanah also won a CSIRO award for Best Overall Presentation, and the Soil Science Australia award for the Most Meritorious Oral Presentation by an early career researcher.

Along with keynote presentations by UNE’s Dr Lisa Lobry de Bruyn and Adjunct Professor Annette Cowie, the conference confirmed the depth and breadth of UNE’s capability in soil science, said UNE soil scientist Associate Professor Brian Wilson.

The University has exceptional range of expertise across the discipline, which sat behind the judging team in Canberra.

“The whole conference was a great experience," Brian said. "Our early career researchers who got the opportunity to meet national experts in the field while testing their own knowledge of the discipline — which proved exceptional.”

The UNE soil judging team was made up of Ivanah, Kirsten Drew, Sajanee Gunadasa, Emily Sears and Robin Shannon.
They were required to assess a soil pit, describing the profiles to an international standard and translating the information to land suitability for uses like pasture, viticulture or residential.

Ivanah’s winning presentation was delivered on “Motley”, a mascot who was devised to bring greater public attention to Victoria’s State soil, a mottled brown sodsol.

Her PhD research is an investigation into soil carbon.