Accepted version, 4.373Mb
Lowe, D. J., & Balks, M. R. (2018). Pedological and some other soil-related activities within the Earth sciences discipline at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand − the first 50 years (1969-2018). New Zealand Soil News, 66(2), 27–60.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12342
We outline teaching and research activities relating to pedology and soil survey, and some other soil-related work involving geomechanics, both in New Zealand and Antarctica, carried out by staff and students in the Earth Sciences discipline at the University of Waikato for the 50-year period from 1969 to 2018. Key features include: (i) the insightful multi-disciplinary approach using a new Earth sciences’ framework that was enacted at the outset by founding professor John D. McCraw and colleagues Michael J. Selby and Harry S. Gibbs in particular; (ii) the development of teaching and research strengths in pedology, especially involving tephra-derived soils and soil stratigraphy in the central North Island, and the concomitant advancement of prowessness in Quaternary tephrostratigraphy and tephrochronology; (iii) the development of expertise in slope studies and rock and soil mechanics (geomechanics, engineering geology), with specialist advancements regarding pyroclastic and associated reworked deposits and altered products; (iv) pathfinding research involving classical soil surveying and the subsequent growth of the use of GIS and geostatistical tools, which aided the eventual development of digital soil mapping beyond the university, and their application to a wide range of disciplines including geomorphology, sustainable plantation forestry, agriculture, and horticulture; (v) growth of expertise in multiple aspects of studies on wetlands (peatlands, lakes), and in environmental and carbon- and nitrogen-flux based research; (vi) pioneering and enduring research in Antarctica including soil surveying and studies on human impacts; and (vii) the successful development of an effective postgraduate school encompassing pedology, soil science, and geomechanics (amongst other disciplines). Waikato students have received around one half of the New Zealand Society of Soil Science annual awards for ‘best masterate thesis’, and around one third for ‘best doctoral thesis’ since 1976. In addition, staff and students in the department have led or contributed to many regional, national, and international conferences and associated field trips involving soils or Earth sciences, to the development of the “New Zealand Soil Classification”, and to the discipline of pedology in many other ways including serving as editors and in professional societies.
New Zealand Society of Soil Science
This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in the journal: New Zealand Soil News. Used with permission.