Welcome to the

NSERC / Western Grains Research Foundation / Fertilizer Canada Industrial Research Chair in 4R Nutrient Management
Applied Soil Ecology Lab

Based out of the University of Manitoba and under the leadership of Dr. Mario Tenuta, the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Industrial Research Chair Program and Applied Soil Ecology Lab has highly productive and impactful research programs with several important agricultural foci: soil ecology, 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 several graduate student (MSc and PhD) opportunities in our Soil Ecology & Plant Disease research program and Nutrient Management & Greenhouse Gas research program.

Learn more about the Industrial Research Chair 4R Nutrient Management research program here.

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 Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Agri-Innovation Program). Most recently, Mario was named the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in 4R Nutrient Stewardship.

Mario is heavily invested in disseminating the findings of Applied Soil Ecology Lab research projects, and many of his peer-reviewed journal publications are co-authored by his graduate students and technicians. Mario has a special ability to translate discoveries to recommendations and advice for growers, crop consultants, retailers, and industry. He frequently conducts outreach events and participates in grower and industry events, which provides valuable networking opportunities for his graduate students. Many of the Lab’s practical research findings are communicated to the public through broadcast and text interviews and often feature graduate students and their work. Mario connects with farmers and industry through social media platforms, including Twitter (@soilecologyUMan), Facebook (@SoilEcologyUMan), and YouTube (Soil Ecology University of Manitoba Videos), to communicate research results and also learn from the comments, questions, and suggestions of his followers.

Applied Soil Ecology Lab technicians, graduate students, and undergraduate summer research technicians enjoying food and a little soccer at the annual End of Summer BBQ at Mario’s house.
A soil profile cake in honor of Mario’s birthday and World Soil Day – What a strange coincidence that they fall on the same day!

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, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, developing rapid molecular tests and field surveys of emerging soil borne diseases and nematode pests of crops, and comparing 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 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 – enhanced understanding of the interaction of biophysical processes and management practices to support Sustainable Crop Production Systems for Resilient 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 3 field & lab technicians.

Technicians Krista and Megan enjoy a well-deserved break at the Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program (AGGP) II long-term manure study site.
Holiday-themed and soil profile sugar cookies were served at the Department of Soil Science’s annual Winter Holiday Potluck in December. We also enjoy a Harvest Pot Luck in October. Both events feature the Nitty Gritty Soil Band!

Last Updated: April 12, 2022

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