October 10, 2023   •   News

PhD opportunity: Sustainable agriculture in NZ

Closing date: 27 October 2023

Location: Canterbury, New Zealand

Project title: Green boundaries: Unleashing nature’s power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in dairy farming

Are you passionate about sustainable agriculture, climate action, and soil science? Join us in an exciting PhD project focused on harnessing the potential of native vegetation along dairy paddock boundaries to combat greenhouse gas emissions, while simultaneously boosting biodiversity.

New Zealand’s dairy industry is both vital to the economy and a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Using the Lincoln University Demonstration Dairy Farm, we will investigate how “green” boundaries influence soil carbon stocks, nitrogen dynamics, soil microbial activity, and uncover the mechanisms behind these changes.

Specifically, the student will:

(1) Quantify how soil carbon stocks and microclimate factors change along native vegetation boundaries and into pasture;

(2) Test how use of these boundary areas as stock camp shelters may influence N2O emissions;

(3) Investigate the microbial mechanisms facilitating changes in carbon and nitrogen dynamics with distance from the native vegetation; and

(4) Calculate the total net reduction in GHG emissions within the pasture with the added native vegetation

Students interested in pursuing this project should have a prior degree in soil science, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, agricultural sciences, or a related field. Ideal candidates should be comfortable conducting fieldwork, running laboratory experiments, and have some background in statistics, GIS, and/or computer modelling.