April 24, 2019   •   News

Six greenhouse gas inventory specialists and researchers from developing countries visit New Zealand to learn about the compilation of the New Zealand national agricultural greenhouse gas inventory. 

As part of its contribution to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA), New Zealand hosted six agricultural greenhouse gas inventory specialists, researchers, and government officials from Malawi, Uganda, Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia, and Indonesia from 8 to 12 April 2019.

During the training week, the group learnt about the New Zealand experience in developing the inventory methodology and prioritising research for inventory improvements, particularly for greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.

They attended the New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference (NZACCC) in Palmerston North, hosted by the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC). The conference was attended by more than 270 scientists, farmers, industry representatives, and policy makers coming together to discuss climate change mitigation and adaptation in the New Zealand context, and included 20 presentations from New Zealand-based experts in their fields, as well as panel discussions and questions from the floor. The conference also included a presentation by the GRA Special Representative, Hayden Montgomery, on ten years of international leadership through GRA research projects and collaboration.

Following the conference, the group participated in the 2019 Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Inventory Research Workshop, organised by the Ministry for Primary Industries. The workshop was attended by over 50 New Zealand scientists in addition to the international guests, with 13 countries represented in total. The workshop included updates on research projects relating to the New Zealand Agriculture Inventory, and four research priority discussion sessions on soil carbon, nitrous oxide emissions, methane and manure management emissions, and finally on data and modelling. The international guests presented their national perspectives on the strengths of their national inventories, as well as issues they are currently facing in improving their inventory methodologies.

Finally, the group met with officials from the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment,  the New Zealand agency in charge of compiling the New Zealand inventory, and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. They learnt about New Zealand’s inventory arrangements and how statistics are collected for the agricultural inventory, and how they might tackle improvements in their inventories through drawing on experience from New Zealand’s senior agriculture inventory expert from the Ministry for Primary Industries.

At the New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference

May 28, 2018   •   News

NZAGRC Senior Scientist – AgResearch

An opportunity has opened for an experienced and passionate scientist to join the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC).

The role requires monitoring New Zealand’s science input into the Global Research Alliance and providing underpinning advice on collaborative research between New Zealand and international scientists from a range of disciplines. This will include overseeing the administration of large integrated research programmes. You will provide the NZAGRC with advice and leadership in climate change research.

Job Description

  • Assess quality and delivery of science inputs against programme milestones
  • Assist in the development of a new, collaborative research programme
  • Provide underpinning knowledge on climate change and climate change policy
  • Compile written science recommendations suitable for policy audiences
  • Ensure research contracted by the NZAGRC is of the highest standards
  • Establish sound working relations and collaboration between key stakeholders

Ideal candidate background

  • PhD degree in a climate change related discipline with particular emphasis on agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation
  • Proven track record of research and development in agriculture
  • Experience in negotiation, administration and monitoring of research contracts and research outputs
  • Working knowledge of evidence informed policy establishment
  • Knowledge and interest in New Zealand pastoral agriculture industries

AgResearch provide a diverse range of benefits including flexible working options that help our staff balance their own lifestyle and needs with their work commitments.

Applications

For a confidential discussion contact Harry Clark, NZAGRC Director on 06 351 8334

See here for more information and to apply. Applications close 5pm, Thursday 14 June 2018

March 21, 2018   •   News

Scientists in the LRG’s Rumen Microbial Genomics Network have had their work to develop a global reference set of genome sequences of rumen microbes published in Nature Biotechnology

The project, called the Hungate1000*, was led by New Zealand scientists Dr Bill Kelly and Dr Sinead Leahy and brought together nearly 60 scientists from 14 research organisations across nine countries**. This global collaboration has generated a reference catalogue of 501 rumen microbial genomes—before Hungate1000, just 15 rumen microbial genomes were available to the scientific community.

Dr Kelly says the project gives a new understanding of what exactly is taking place inside a rumen.

“Hungate1000 means we can now start to reveal the intricacies of how the rumen microbial community functions, and provide a roadmap for where to take the science next,” he says. “This data can be translated into interventions that are globally useful, such as identifying targets for vaccines and inhibitors to reduce methane emissions and improve productivity, among other things.”

Dr Leahy says the project represents a major scientific advancement in the field of rumen microbiology, an area of science that up until recently had largely been unexplored.

“These microbes in the stomachs of ruminants are crucially important—they convert grass and other dietary components into smaller compounds that the sheep or cow uses to make meat and milk,” she says. “The data we’ve made available with Hungate1000 will underpin the development of technologies to target these microbes and aid productivity or reduce greenhouse gas emissions—you need to know what you’re targeting to make a specific impact on the rumen microbiome environment.”

Dr Andy Reisinger, Deputy Director of the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) and New Zealand representative in the LRG, says Hungate1000 is central to the work that the LRG and New Zealand are leading.

“Hungate1000 shows what a powerhouse the rumen is in converting digestible plant material to energy, and gives us a much better understanding of how we might be able to use science to influence that process,” he says. “This will help us find ways not only to enhance productivity but also to achieve emissions reductions and deliver solutions to farmers—such as inhibitors and vaccines—that don’t affect their economic baselines.”

In line with the GRA’s philosophy that research should be conducted in a manner that ensures the widest possible benefit, the Hungate1000 data is publicly available as a community resource on the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute website.

The Hungate1000 was funded by the New Zealand Govenrment in support of the GRA. The genome sequencing and analysis component of the project was supported by the US Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute via its Community Science Program.

Dr Harry Clark, NZAGRC Director and Co-chair of the LRG, says Hungate1000 would not have come about without the GRA and the support of the New Zealand Government.

“This project shows the power of international collaboration—we’ve been able to bring scientists together from around the world to create this resource that can benefit all countries,” he says. “We’re already looking at ways that the Hungate1000 data can be exploited in future LRG collaborations.”

One such example is RumenPredict, a European-funded project that will bring together Hungate1000 and the Global Rumen Census (an earlier New Zealand-funded LRG collaboration) to link rumen microbiome information to host genetics and phenotype and develop feed-based mitigation strategies.

Dr Kelly says he and the rest of the Hungate1000 team are delighted to see their work published in Nature Biotechnology.

“It’s the culmination of a long journey and a lot of work, and we have achieved something that I think is really worthwhile,” he says. “The kudos of getting something published in a high-impact journal like Nature Biotechnology is enormous, and highlights the value of this work to a global audience.”

* So named after Bob Hungate, an American scientist who developed the pioneering technique of growing anaerobic bacteria that has been the cornerstone of the project. 

** Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, USA, Wales