PhD Student Profile

Cameron Copeland

Southern Cross University

My PhD project uses soil metabolomics and DNA profiling to understand how a community of microbes is affected following inoculation into a different soil type. Changes to microbial diversity profiles and the corresponding metabolites will clarify the functionality of a microbial community following inoculation and give a better understanding of the efficacy of potential microbial inoculants.

PhD Title: “Understanding the Mechanisms of Soil Microbial Function and their Role in Cropping Systems.”

PhD start date: October 2019

Supervisors: Prof. Terry Rose, Southern Cross University, Dr. Mick Rose, Department of Primary Industries, Dr. Lukas Van Zwieten, Department of Primary Industries.

What interested you about this research?
After working in agronomy, I found that soil parameters and associated microbiomes were often overlooked. I wondered to what extent soils influenced our agriculture sector and how they could be utilised for better growing environments. I found the world of soil microbes fascinating and believe they hold the key to improving our agriculture sector.

What do you love about soil?
It’s everywhere, its dynamic, and is a key indicator of environmental response to climate change.

What do you love about your PhD?
I love learning how to manage a research project and new skills associated with the project or through the PhD workshops. I have enjoyed the opportunity to network with likeminded people through the Soil CRC.

How will your PhD help to make a difference for farmers?
Soil microbiomes are a largely untapped utility for farmers. Through my PhD, I aim to provide farmers with as much information about how soil microbes work and ways they can improve growing conditions.

What do you want to do when you finish your PhD?
I would like to continue my research and test commercial microbial inoculants whilst also acting in a consultancy capacity to help growers better understand soil microbes.

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