Personnel

Since its inception in 2002, the Applied Soil Ecology Lab has employed more than 40 undergraduate summer research students, hosted 13 B.Sc., 19 M.Sc., and 10 Ph.D. students, provided career development opportunities for 6 Research Associates / Post Doctoral Fellowships, and trained 23 expert technicians.

Many of our past personnel have gone on to further their education and establish successful careers in their field of study, including positions with major agronomic associations and businesses, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), as professors / researchers at Canadian or American universities, and proprietors of agronomic businesses / consulting firms.

CURRENT PERSONNEL

Post Doctoral Fellows & Research Associates

Dr. Xiaopeng Gao (2012-) is a research associate in the Applied Soil Ecology Lab and also a research scientist in the Chinese Academy of Science. His current research programs concentrate on the impact of agronomic practices on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from soils. Dr. Gao is highly experienced and interested in the research areas of development and modeling of 4R management strategies to reduce N2O emissions from agricultural systems.

PhD Students

Mingyuan Yin (2018-) is a visiting PhD candidate from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. During his tenure with the Applied Soil Ecology Lab, he worked under the supervision of Dr. Xiaopeng Gao to study the relationships between nitrous oxide emissions and associated functional genes (nitrifier and denitrifier) for agricultural and natural ecosystems. Mingyuan’s visit was funded by the China Scholarship Council – University of Manitoba Joint Scholarship Program. Thesis: Emissions of N2O from Grassland Ecosystem Under Different Grazing Intensities on Kunlun Mountain in Southern Xinjiang, China.

Mick (Mike) Runzika (2017-) is a PhD candidate investigating nitrogen cycling processes in soil using 15N isotopes, and how these processes contribute to the atmospheric loading of N2O.  He is investigating N2 fixation by soybean using the 15N dilution method, N2O emissions associated with N2 fixation, rotational nitrogen benefit of soybean to a subsequent spring wheat crop, and the contribution of soybean residues to N2O emissions. Mick will use his research to develop N2O emission factors pertinent to soybean residues in Manitoba. Lastly, his thesis project will examine the contribution of different pathways (e.g. nitrification and denitrification) to N2O emissions using the 15N pool dilution techniques and how these pathways are affected by different soil conditions. Thesis: The use of 15N Isotopes in the Study of N2O Emissions in Soil

Wennong Kuang (2017-) is a visiting PhD candidate from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. During his tenure with the Applied Soil Ecology Lab, he worked under the supervision of Dr. Xiaopeng Gao on 4R nitrogen fertilizer management practices to reduce soil nitrous oxide emissions from cropland. His thesis project compliments several of the Lab’s current research projects. Wennong’s visit was funded by the China Scholarship Council – University of Manitoba Joint Scholarship Program. Thesis:
Study on the Mechanism of Water and Fertilizer Management on N2O Production and Emission from Cotton Fields in Arid Regions of Northwest China

Nazanin Ghavami (2016-) is a PhD candidate investigating Manitoban soybean fields for the presence of the soybean cyst nematode (SCN), Heterodera glycines. Her project continues from surveys conducted from 2012 to 2015 that did not find the nematode. SCN is one of the most devastating disease/pest organisms of soybean worldwide and is found in all major soybean growing regions of the world, including Ontario and Quebec in Canada. It is expected to soon be present in Manitoba as the pest has progressed northward in Minnesota and North Dakota to reach the Manitoba border. Early detection of SCN before it establishes in Manitoba is critical to limit yield losses. Nazanin will also use her research to develop molecular protocols for quantification of SCN calibrated to traditional microscopic counting of eggs to replace the laborious and error-prone extraction/observation that currently exist for SCN quantification and identification. Thesis: Survey and Development of Molecular Soil Test for Soybean Cyst Nematode in Manitoba

MSc Students

Priscillar Wenyika (2016-) is an MSc student studying the economically important root-lesion nematode, Pratylenchus neglectus, which parasitizes crops including cereals, legumes and brassicas. A recent survey for plant-parasitic nematodes revealed the presence of P. neglectus in some Canadian Prairie Provinces farm fields. Priscillar’s research includes screening seven common Prairie crops (canola, chickpea, lentil, pinto bean, spring wheat, soybean, and yellow pea) to determine their host suitability for P. neglectus. To achieve this, she grew these crops in soils naturally infested with P. neglectus, and at the end of an 8-week plant growth cycle, examined the roots and soils for the presence of P. neglectus. Priscillar will compare the initial and final nematode density to determine the nematode reproductive factor (Rf) and host suitability of each crop. Thesis: Host Preference for Pratylenchus neglectus Among the Major Crops Grown in the Canadian Prairie Provinces

Technicians

Amber Aligawesa (2019-) is a soil and plant chemistry research technician in the Applied Soil Ecology Lab. Her responsibilities include processing soil and biomass samples, conducting nutrient extractions, and assisting Mervin Bilous with analyses using the Technicon auto-analyzer and CNS dry combustion analyzer.

Lanny Gardiner (2017-) is a research agronomist in the Applied Soil Ecology Lab. Lanny engages commercial farmers to obtain access to farmland for field trials. He is responsible for establishing and maintaining field sites (e.g. field site layout, applying pesticides/herbicides), precise application of fertilizer treatments, and seeding/planting and harvesting of field sites.

Megan Westphal (2017-) is a field and lab research technician in the Applied Soil Ecology Lab. She is in charge of field maintenance and activities for the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment (NCLE) long-term manure management study and the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program (AGGP) II long-term study. Her research involves monitoring greenhouse gases (CO2, N2O, CH4) from soils receiving fertilizer, ploughed-down forages, long-term manure applications and from fresh / stored / composted manure.

Marliese Peterson (2015-) is a field and lab research technician in the Applied Soil Ecology Lab. Her responsibilities include assisting graduate students with their collection, processing, and analyses of gas, soil, and biomass samples. She is also responsible for overall coordination of undergraduate summer research student training and field assignments, and managing the Lab’s social media accounts and outreach projects.

Krista Hanis-Gervais (2014-) is a field and lab research technician in the Soil Ecology Laboratory. Her expertise lies in greenhouse gas monitoring using micrometeorology (i.e. eddy covariance and flux gradient techniques) as well as various chamber methods in agricultural systems (cropping, compost and manure) in southern Manitoba and subarctic wetland/peatland systems (fen, bog and polygonal peat plateau) near Churchill, Manitoba. She has recently become involved in the collection and analysis of spectral reflectance measurements taken over the canopy of cropping systems (corn, wheat, oats, soybeans and canola) using an unmanned aerial vehicle as well as handheld instruments in order to determine soil and vegetation water contents and, ultimately, crop health.

Terri Fairman (2014-) is a molecular biology technician in the Applied Soil Ecology Lab. Terri maintains the molecular biology lab and conducts molecular diagnostics of soil-borne crop pathogens such as fungi (e.g. Verticillium spp.) and nematodes (e.g. Ditylenchus spp.). She is also responsible for training graduate and summer students in proper molecular biology techniques.

Matt Gervais (2011-) is a micrometeorology technician for the Applied Soil Ecology Lab and is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Trace Gas Analysis Manitoba long term study site near Glenlea, Manitoba. He is also an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operator and spectral reflectance technician for the Lab.

Mervin Bilous (2006-) is a soil and plant chemistry analyst in the Applied Soil Ecology Lab. Mervin is in charge of wet chemistry analyses of soil and plant samples, dry combustion analyses for determining soil and plant total nitrogen and total carbon content, and operating the Department of Soil Science’s Technicon auto-analyzer to determine ammonium-N and nitrate-N. He is also responsible for training undergraduate summer research students and graduate students on proper soil and plant chemistry analysis techniques.

Brad Sparling (2005-) is a gas analyst and GIS technician for the Applied Soil Ecology Lab. He is responsible for analyzing all gas samples collected by graduate students and field technicians, as well as maintaining the Lab’s two gas chromatographs. Brad also helps coordinate and train undergraduate summer research students in proper field sampling techniques.


PAST PERSONNEL

Post Doctoral Fellows & Research Associates

Dr. Kevin Baron (2013-2017) Field Studies of 4R® Nitrogen Management of Wheat and Canola

Dr. Mehrdad Madani (2012-2016) Molecular Diagnostic Development of Plant Parasitic Nematodes

Dr. Haben Asgedom (2009-2012) 4R® Nitrogen Management Studies for Reduction in Emissions of Nitrous Oxide from Soil

Dr. Shabeg Briar (2009-2011) Survey of Plant Parasitic Nematodes of Yellow Pea in Prairie Canada

Dr. Abdel El Hadrami (2007-2009) Green Manures to Reduce Potato Early Dying

PhD Students

Abolfazl Hajihassani (2012-2016) Studies of Plant Host Preferences of the Stem Nematodes Ditylenchus weischeri and D. dipsaci (DOWNLOAD)

Oscar Molina (2011-2016) Identification of Verticillium Species and Control Methods for Verticillium Wilt of Potato in Manitoba (DOWNLOAD)

Ainsley Hamm (2009-2014) Bacterial Community Ecology and Fate in Integrated Livestock Production Systems (DOWNLOAD)

Luca Coppi (2006-2013) Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Soil and Groundwater Following Repeated Nitrogen-based Swine Slurry Applications to a Tame Grassland on Coarse Textured Soil (DOWNLOAD)

Aaron Glenn (2006-2010) Greenhouse Gas Fluxes and Budget for an Annual Cropping System in the Red River Valley, Manitoba, Canada (DOWNLOAD)

Amro Mahran (2005-2009) Suppression of the Root-lesion Nematode Using Liquid Hog Manure (DOWNLOAD)

MSc Students

Abhishek Agarwal (2016-2018) Study on Verticillium longisporum of Canola from the First Reported Farm in North America (DOWNLOAD)

Matthew Wood (2016-2018) Right Source and Right Time: Reducing Nitrous Oxide Emissions with Enhanced Efficiency Nitrogen Fertilizers (DOWNLOAD)

Fernanda Govea Pereira (2015-2018) Survey of Plant Parasitic Nematodes of Pulse Crop Fields in the Canadian Prairies (DOWNLOAD)

Mick Runzika (2014-2017) Nitrification Rate Effect on Cumulative Nitrous Oxide Emission from Soil (DOWNLOAD)

Megan Westphal (2014-2016) Nitrous Oxide Soil Emissions from an Organic and Conventionally Managed Cropping System in Manitoba (DOWNLOAD)

William Shaw (2014-2016) Placement, Timing, and Source of Nitrogen Fertilizer on Yield of Irrigated Russet Burbank Potato in Manitoba (DOWNLOAD)

Jolene Rutter (2012-2016) Winter Composting of Separated Pig Slurry Solids and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (DOWNLOAD)

Siobhan Maas (2009-2011) Perennial Legume Phase and Annual Crop Rotation Influences on CO2 and N2O Fluxes Over Two Years in the Red River Valley, Manitoba, Canada (DOWNLOAD)

Gwen Donohoe (2009-2011) Nutrient Excretion and Soil Greenhouse Emission from Excreta of Overwintering Beef Cows Fed Forage-based Diets Supplemented with Dries Distillers’ Grains with Solubles (DOWNLOAD)

Krista Hanis-Gervais (2008-2010) Eddy Covariance Measurements of Methane Flux in a Subarctic Fen with Emphasis on Spring-melt Period (DOWNLOAD)

Rhea Lumactud (2008-2010) Spatial Distribution of Soil Nematodes in the Sub-Arctic Environment of Churchill, Manitoba (DOWNLOAD)

Oscar Molina (2007-2009) Effect of Green Manures and Organic Amendments on Verticillium Wilt of Potato in Manitoba (DOWNLOAD)

Nandakumar Rajendran (2007-2009) Dynamics of Profiles of Soil Greenhouse Gases in a Topographically Variable Landscape in Western Canada (DOWNLOAD)

Fardausi Akhtar (2006-2008) Crop Management Impacts On Mycorrhizal Colonization and Cadmium Availability in Agricultural Crops (DOWNLOAD)

Adedeji Dunmola (2005-2007) Greenhouse Gas Emission from a Prairie Pothole Landscape in Western Canada (DOWNLOAD)

Jacqueline Churchill (2005-2007) Spatial Variation of Soil Methane and Nitrous Oxide Emissions in Subarctic Environments of Churchill, Manitoba (DOWNLOAD)

Catherine Welsh (2005-2007) Organic Crop Management Can Decrease Labile Soil P and Promote Mycorrhizal Association of Crops (DOWNLOAD)

Denis Trémorin (2004-2008) Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Grassland Pasture Fertilized with Liquid Hog Manure (DOWNLOAD)

Undergraduate Thesis Students

Katie Webb (2018-2019) Comparing Greenhouse Gas Production in Stockpiled Cattle Manure

Andrew Hector (2018-2019) Does Increasing Length of Polyculture Deployment Affect Soil Health?

Samuel Steinman (2016-2018) Trends in Agronomic Nutrient Use Efficiency of Major Field Crops in Manitoba

Torrie Eggie (2015-2017) The Reliability of the Rapitest®: Soil Test Kit for Nitrogen and Phosphorus for Garden Soils

Stephanie Dheilly (2013-2015) Soil Nutrient Levels in Vegetable Gardens

Amanda Stefanson (2009-2011) Potential for Winter Composting of Separated Pig Manure Solids in Manitoba

Jolene Rutter (2009-2011) Methane Emissions in Relation of Landscape Position in a Field in the Red River Valley

Lindsey Andronak (2009-2010) Nitrous Oxide and Denitrification Fluxes for a Cropped Field in the Red River Valley, Manitoba

Andrea Bacler (2006-2007) Toxicity of Cadmium and Zinc to the Nematode, C. elegans

Dale Boswick (2006-2008) Impact of Water Logging on N2O Emissions

Siobhan Maas (2005-2007) Nutrient Accumulation in Bare Earth Patches of a Grazed Pasture

Corinne Barker (2006-2007) Sentinel Nematodes of Soil Health

Jody Blazenko (2005-2006) Nutrient Water Quality of a Cow-Calf Operations in Manitoba

Technicians

Marissa Robitaille (2016-2017) General field and laboratory technician in support of greenhouse gas research

Natasha Klassen (2014-2017) General field and laboratory technician in support of greenhouse gas research

Ian Copps (2014-2016) General field and laboratory technician in support of greenhouse gas research

Greg Wiebe (2013-2017) General field and laboratory technician in support of greenhouse gas research

Taliah Klippenstein (2015-2017) General field and laboratory technician in support of greenhouse gas research

Liam Kurbis (2014-2015) General field and laboratory technician in support of greenhouse gas research

Ulana Fries (2014-2015) General field and laboratory technician in support of greenhouse gas research

Jehn Francisco (2012-2016) Molecular biology technician; diagnostics of soybean cyst nematode populations from Ontario

Patrick Finnsson (2011-2014) General field and laboratory technician in support of greenhouse gas research

Prasanna Adikari (2011-2013) General field and laboratory technician in support of greenhouse gas research

Jenna Rapai (2008-2011) Micrometeorology technician

Syd Jones (2007-2008) Micrometeorology technician

Trevor Fraser (2007-2008) General field and laboratory technician in support of greenhouse gas research

Oscar Molina (2006-2007) Verticillium and nematology technician

Welcome to the Applied Soil Ecology Lab at the University of Manitoba