2015 Soil Science Australia Award Recipients

Soil Science Australia Fellows

Professor Alex McBratney CPSS  University of Sydney
Professor McBratney has an extensive list of achievements and covers all the requirements for a Soil Science Australia Fellow.  He has worked on cutting edge science and techniques and how they may influence practice change in precision agriculture and soil assessment.  Professor McBratney has made outstanding contributions to teaching, research and international collaboration in the field Soil Science. He has supervised a number of postgraduate students in Sydney and as well internationally. He has developed new mathematical and modelling techniques to evaluate the variations in soil properties horizontally and vertically in large areas. His papers are highly cited, more than 9000 times. His h-index is 50. He is the recipient of several awards for his contributions to Soil Science, nationally and internationally.He has been invited to talk at the United Nations in New York on behalf of the Australian Government mission to the UN.  Alex McBratney is truly a great leader for the discipline of soil science and an honourable fellow within the Societys profile.
The nominees offered several papers authored by for Professor McBratney. Two of relevance:
A.B. McBratney, M.L. Mendonça-Santos, and B. Minasny (2003). On digital soil mapping. Geoderma 117, 3-52. 631 (Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators highly cited paper:This work outlines a novel generic framework for digital soil mapping).
V. Bellon-Maurel, A. McBratney. 2011. Near-infrared (NIR) and mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopic techniques for assessing the amount of carbon stock in soils. Critical review and research perspectives. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 43, 1398-1410. (53 citations: This paper is the first that critically reviews the application of infrared spectroscopy for assessing soil carbon stocks).

DeliChenUMProfessor Deli Chen  University of Melbourne
Professor Chen's contributions to Soil Science have been recognised by his peers both locally and internationally. In 2010, he was awarded Prescott Medal from Soil Science Australia for his outstanding contribution to Soil Science. He was also awarded the Deans Excellence in Research Award in 2011 in the University of Melbourne. He has supervised over 20 doctoral students. His research is of very high quality which includes developing new techniques for measuring the exchange of nitrogen gases between the land and atmosphere, GIS based agroecosystem modelling and decision support system for fertiliser management. He has collaborated with other agencies in Australia and overseas. He is an author and co-author of over 200 peer-reviewed publications. Professor Deli Chen works within the soil science discipline gaining and informing about an important component of the soil cycle, that being, the relationships between soil nutrient management with biological and biogeochemical cycles. This is an important and valuable area of research to all scientists and practitioners of the soil science discipline.
A primary focus of his work in assessing NO2 emissions and improving the efficiency of Nitrogen fertilisers is also of the highest importance to agriculture and soil science in general. Professor Chen has an excellent teaching record and his work is held in high regard both nationally and internationally.
Zhu, Z.L. and Chen, D.L. (2002) Nitrogen fertilizer use in China – Contributions to food production, impacts on the environment and best management strategies. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 63:117 – 127, 2002.

JA Prescott Medal of Soil Science


Dr Gupta Vadakattu CSIRO Waite Campus
Dr Vadakattu Gupta has made an outstanding contribution to soil science through research and education in the areas of soil biology, ecology and nutrient cycling – especially as they relate to the sustainability of agricultural systems. His research has contributed important insights into the ecology and function of a range of soil organisms with relevance to environmental and agricultural management.  Considered a key expert in his field both nationally and internationally, Gupta is held in great esteem by colleagues and peers for his extensive theoretical and practical knowledge of soil biology in agricultural systems, as well as for his capacity to communicate his knowledge with passion and ease to a broad range of stakeholders.  It is fitting testament to his scientific achievements in advancing soil science knowledge globally, and to his outstanding contributions to research, industry and education, that Gupta is awarded the 2015 JA Prescott Medal of Soil Science.



LJH Teakle Award


Dr Ann McNeill University of Adelaide

Dr Annie McNeill has been recognised by her soil science peers for the great contribution she has made in raising the profile of soil science and the soil science profession in Australia. Few soil scientists have demonstrated Annie's passion for soil science and willingness to introduce people of all ages and backgrounds to the joy of soil science, helped by her ability to explain and demonstrate complex processes to a wide range of audiences. 






Australian Society of Soil Science Publication Medal - Dr Daniela Montalvo Grijalva University of Adelaide and CSIRO Waite Campus

This study was designed to test whether natural colloidal P from soil-water extracts of 3 Andisols (from Chile, Ecuador and New Zealand) and an Australian Oxisol contribute to plant P nutrition. The study successfully showed that colloidal P from the Andisols contributed to plant uptake. The results were less definitive for the Oxisol.  A very robust experimental design was a key feature of this work focused around two key experiments, and these involved the use of the Phosphorus 33 isotope to produce unfiltered (colloidal P present) and filtered colloid free soil "solutions". The distribution of the isotope was then determined in the plant and soil solutions. A complimentary Diffusion Gradient Thin Film study gave results that supported the labelling experiments. The manuscript's content (Introduction Experimental, Results and Discussion and Conclusions are clearly expressed, well organised and easy to follow. The Conclusions from the study were consistent with the data obtained from the sound experimental design and showed that colloidal P in soils can contribute to plant nutrition. The findings are significant and this paper is likely to be highly cited in the future. The significance of the work is also reflected in achieving publication of a soil science paper in Environmental Science and Technology which has an impact factor of 5.330 and rejects many manuscripts due to the wide range of papers submitted from many environmental disciplines.. Daniela Montalvo and her co-authors are to be congratulated.

CG Stephens PhD Award in Soil Science - Dr Brooke Ryan University of Adelaide

This was a challenging and complex PhD that was extremely well carried out and carefully and systematically reported. The thesis presented a very carefully designed and nicely executed body of work on a topic of relevance to soil science. Key strengths of this thesis included its novelty, the successful optimisation of a method, and the application of new approaches in an emerging research area. The techniques and instrumentation used in this work are state of the art. One important outcome of the thesis is a revised conceptual model of potential Cu isotope fractionating mechanisms in soil-plant systems – this is a novel and thoughtful outcome of the thesis and is relevant to understanding the potential Cu uptake mechanisms and movements in soil. The thesis has produced material for several journal articles in high quality journals. 

Soil Science Australia


Soil Science Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that serves as the peak body for soil scientists across Australia, and seeks to advance soil science in the professional, academic and technical fields.  It is a member of the International Union of Soil Sciences



Visit Awards Page or download application forms below

J.A. Prescott Medal of Soil Science

J.K. Taylor, OBE, Gold Medal in Soil Science

Australian Society of Soil Science Inc Publication Medal

C.G. Stephens PhD Award in Soil Science

L.J.H Teakle Award


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