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Welcome to the Applied Soil Ecology Lab

Based out of the University of Manitoba and under the leadership of Dr. Mario Tenuta, the Applied Soil Ecology Lab has highly productive and impactful research programs with several important agricultural foci: soil microbiology, nematology, and the relationship between nutrient management and greenhouse gas emissions. Our lab is home to many motivated personnel including undergraduate and graduate students as well as expert technicians.

We currently have openings for graduate students (M.Sc. and Ph.D.) and undergraduate summer research students.

Dr. Mario Tenuta

Dr. Mario Tenuta is a full professor in the Department of Soil Sciences and heads the Applied Soil Ecology Lab. His training includes a B.Sc. in Botany and Physical Geography, an M.Sc. in Soil Science, a Ph.D. in Plant Sciences, and Post-Doctoral research in Nematology. From 2006 to 2017 he served as the Canada Research Chair in Applied Soil Ecology. Mario is one of nine leading researchers in the Canadian 4R Research Network (supported by Fertilizer Canada and AAFC’s Agri-Innovation Program).

Mario is a prolific writer, and many of his journal publications are co-authored by his graduate students and technicians. He has a special ability to translate discoveries to recommendations and advice for growers, crop consultants, retailers, and industry. He frequently participates in grower and industry events, which provides valuable networking opportunities for his graduate students. Recently Mario has reached out to farmers and industry through social media platforms, including Twitter (@soilecologyUMan) and YouTube (Soil Ecology University of Manitoba Videos), to communicate research results and also learn from comments, questions, and suggestions of his followers.

The Applied Soil Ecology Lab

Our research tackles applied questions to give farmers and industry solutions to increase profitability while improving soil and environmental health. Together with our colleagues, we have addressed many soil related issues, including improving nitrogen use efficiency of crops, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, development of rapid molecular tests and field surveys of emerging soil borne diseases and nematode pests of crops, and comparison of sustainability of production systems on the Canadian Prairies. More recently, we have moved to the forefront of the emerging area of 4R Nutrient Stewardship, conducting research to document the benefits of 4R nutrient management practices.

Our research programs bolster three of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences’ existing research priorities: (1) Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Monitoring & Mitigation, (2) Agronomy & Soil Ecology, and (3) Innovative Soil Nutrient Management. Our research goals are also well aligned within the strategic research framework of the University of Manitoba: through enhanced understanding of the interaction of biophysical processes and management practices to support Sustainable Crop Production Systems for Resilience Communities.

We have trained dozens of personnel and have an extensive list of past graduate students and technicians, many of whom have gone on to establish successful careers in their field of study. Currently, we offer a wealth of technical support for our research programs and graduate students, including a greenhouse gas analyst, micrometeorologist and UAV specialist, research agronomist, soil and plant chemistry analyst, molecular biologist and 2 field & lab technicians.

Applied Soil Ecology Lab students and technicians collected soil samples at the Assiniboine Park Conservatory prior to its closure in 2018 ©Mario Tenuta

Last Updated: February 14, 2019