2019 Council Members

Dr. Fran Walley, President

Fran Walley, P.Ag., is the Associate Dean (Academic) in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, and a Professor in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan. Fran also served as head of the Department of Soil Science (2004-2011) and Acting Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies (2013) in the College of AgBio, UofS. She holds a Ph.D. in soil microbiology from the U of S and maintains an active research program in the area of soil nitrogen dynamics. One aspect of this research deals with the impact of cropping systems on bioavailable N-pools, which ties into her work in the area of soil N testing for improved fertilizer N recommendations. A second focus is pulse crop fertility, with an emphasis on nitrogen fixation and the development of effective inoculation strategies, including the application and use of arbuscular mycorrhizal and biocontrol inoculants in pulse crop systems. Fran served as co-chair of the organizing committee for the CSSS meeting in 2010. Fran is author or co-author of 65+ peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and has supervised/co-supervised 30+ graduate students and post docs. Fran has long been involved in teaching introductory soil science, and is particularly committed to sharing her love of soil science with her students. I’ve never met a soil I didn’t like!

Dr. Noura Ziadi, Past President

Noura is a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Quebec City. She holds a B.Sc. (Agronomy) from Tunisia and a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. (Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition) from Laval University, Quebec, Canada. Noura is an adjunct professor at Laval University, Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Science (Beijing, China), and Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue. Noura has a distinguished career in soil science especially soil fertility and plant nutrition and she’s conducting her research on national (from Coast to Coast) and international scales (France, China, Switzerland, Finland, Tunisia) in multi-disciplinary teams including government and university researchers and industry partners. Her research includes training of post-doctoral fellows and graduate and undergraduate students (+30). Noura published more than 130 papers, five reviews and 11 book chapters. These publications were in collaboration with 50 Canadian researchers and 25 international researchers. Noura joined the CSSS in 1994 and has served as the Eastern Councillor and associate editor. She was been recognized for her contributions to soil science and to the CSSS with a Fellow Award in 2015.

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Dr. Nathan Basiliko, President Elect

Nathan Basiliko is a faculty member and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Environmental Microbiology at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario. His group studies how forest and wetland soil biota respond to resource management, climate change, and other stressors in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence (northern temperate), boreal, and subarctic regions, and more recently they have focussed in mining and sediment environments as well. He completed his bachelors in Natural Resources at Cornell University (Ithaca, USA), doctorate in Physical Geography at McGill University, and PDF in Forest Sciences at the University of British Columbia (Joe Yavitt, Tim Moore, and Sue Grayston were his supervisors and mentors). He was a faculty member in Geography at the University of Toronto Mississauga prior to joining Laurentian in 2013. He has been active in the Canadian Society of Soil Science since 2002 and has served as Eastern Councillor in the past and as an Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Soil Science since 2013. He is an active collaborator in the society’s Education sub-committee, and has recently begun a collaborative project, “Excavating Canadian Soil Science History”, led by a historical geographer colleague at Nipissing University.

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Dr. Amanda Diochon, Secretary

Amanda graduated with her PhD in Earth Science from Dalhousie University in 2009. Before starting as an assistant professor in the Geology Department at Lakehead University in 2012, she had the opportunity to work under the direction of Dr. Ed Gregorich at the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre in Ottawa as a Visiting Fellow. Amanda’s research focuses on soil organic matter cycling in agroecosystems, the boreal forest and the Arctic. She is particularly passionate about using stable isotopes and soil organic matter separation techniques to better understand how management practices and environmental change affect soil organic matter stores.

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Dr. Edith Olson, Treasurer

Edith Olson P.Ag. grew up in Scotland (love those Podzols!). While a kid playing with the soil and water in the backyard of her home her mother commented that she would never make a living playing with the dirt. Well, Edith did.  She graduated with an honours degree in Soil Science from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland in 1982. While an undergraduate, she spent two summers as a summer student at the University of Saskatchewan and fell in love with Canada and a Canadian. She now lives in Lethbridge with her husband, three adult children and one grandchild. After staying home with the kids for a while, Edith worked with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as a technician and research associate from 1993 to 2001 before completing a Ph.D. at the University of Alberta in Water and Land Resources in 2004. Since 2002 she has been at Lethbridge College first as an instructor in Environmental Sciences, then Chair of Agriculture Sciences, then as interim Dean for the Centre of Applied Arts and Sciences. Knowing that her heart is in the classroom, lab, and field with students she has recently returned to an instructional position in Environmental Sciences, teaching Soil Resources, Environmental Physics and Statistics. She is looking forward to engaging in an NSERC funded project in Aquaculture, where her role is to perform the data analysis. Edith’s passions are soil, water and teaching.  She has her name on some published papers and has won several teaching awards from the University of Alberta and Lethbridge College.  Yes mum, you can make a living playing with the dirt SOIL!

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Dr. Rich Farrell, Western Councillor

I am a native Rhode Islander (a state roughly 200-times smaller than Saskatchewan) and was educated at the University of Rhode Island (B.Sc.) and Iowa State University (M.Sc. & Ph.D.). Though I grew up in the city, I have been interested in soil science since I was 13 and a friend of mine jokingly suggested doing a science project on soils because “there’s nothing alive in soils” . . . . oh, was he wrong! So, I did my project on “Soils and Soil Conservation”, and managed to win 2nd prize in the local science fair—though one of the judges said that the study of soils wasn’t real science . . . . oh, was he wrong! So, here I am many years later—an Associate Professor in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan and a Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture (SMA) Research Chair in Soils & Environment—still studying what I love at one of the best Soil Science Departments in North America. My research focus is on environmental agronomy—including the effects of agricultural practices on soil quality and greenhouse gas production/mitigation in agroecosystems. I am also co-director of the Prairie Environmental Agronomy Laboratory (PEARL), which supports research aimed at developing strategies that enhance or maintain agro-ecosystem capacity and integrity and establish the low GHG footprint of prairie cropping systems. Together with my students, I have published 80 peer-reviewed papers and 9 book chapters. I’ve been a member of the CSSS since coming to Saskatchewan, have organized several sessions for CSSS annual meetings highlighting the role of agricultural soils in GHG production/mitigation and was a member of the local organizing committees (LOC) for the 2010 and 2019 CSSS meetings in Saskatoon. Maintaining the strength of the CSSS depends on timely dissemination of information via the society’s webpage and, as Western Councilor, I am excited to take on the responsibility for overseeing the CSSS webpage and liaising with the webmaster. The CSSS is an important part of my professional life, and that of my students, and I look forward to working with the CSSS Council and the membership as I continue my journey in soil science.

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Dr. Louis-Pierre Comeau, Eastern Councillor

Dr. Louis-Pierre Comeau started his Research Scientist appointment with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada after his postdoctoral fellowship at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in May 2017. Dr. Comeau previously completed a B.Sc. in Biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico; a M.Sc. in Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan; and a PhD. in soil Science at the University of Aberdeen UK. His research focus is on landscape and soil carbon. Specifically, he is investigating ways to replenish soil organic matter from agricultural fields. His long term scientific goal is to contribute to knowledge about why some carbon molecules can remain stable in the soil for thousands of years.

Dr. Comeau currently collaborates in the “4 per 1000″ Initiative” which has the aim to demonstrate that an annual growth rate of 0.4% in the soil carbon stocks would mitigate an important fraction of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere related to human emissions.

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Dr. M Anne Naeth, CJSS Editor-in-Chief

Anne Naeth PAg, PBiol, FCSSS, FSTLHE is a Professor of Land Reclamation and Restoration Ecology in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Alberta. She is Director of the Energy Systems Signature Area, Director of Future Energy Systems Research Program, Director of the Land Reclamation International Graduate School (LRIGS), and a Vargo Distinguished Teaching Chair. She served as Associate Dean (Academic) and Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies). She worked in government and industry and served on the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board for 14 years. She served on executives of numerous professional organizations, editorial boards and expert advisory boards, including president and various other positions with CSSS. Anne holds a BSc in biology; a double MSc (soil science, plant science) and PhD in land reclamation. Her land reclamation research program focuses on soils and plants, addressing soil-plant community development; plant species selection and establishment; impacts of non native species on native plant communities; bioengineering; native plants, their mycorrhizae and microbial communities; soil remediation, bioremediation and phytoremediation; soil amendments, particularly waste products such as compost, manure, sewage sludge and biosolids; and development of anthroposols. Her extensively published research led to policy changes that benefit the environment and industry and development of a new soil order for human built soils. She has supervised over 75 graduate students and mentored dozens of post doctoral fellows and undergraduate research students. Anne has received numerous awards recognizing her outstanding scholarship, teaching and community service, including the CLRA Noranda Land Reclamation Award, Mentors of the Millenium, Alumni Award of Excellence, Killam Professorship and Distinguished Agrologist, Rutherford Award of Excellence for Undergraduate Teaching, 18 Faculty Teacher of the Year Awards, the prestigious 3M Fellowship (top 10 teachers in Canada), and the University Cup (highest award from University of Alberta). She received the first University of Alberta NSERC CREATE grant to establish LRIGS, the first school of its kind in the world for multi-disciplinary training and professional development of land reclamation students.

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Gazali Issah, Graduate Student Representative

I am a second year PhD student in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan under the supervision of Drs. Diane Knight and Jeff Schoenau. I am originally from Ghana where I undertook my undergraduate degree in Natural Resources Management (Agroforestry major) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). I moved to Canada in 2010 and started my masters in the Department of Soil Science at the University of Saskatchewan in winter 2011 on research focused on tree-crop interactions and their impacts on yield and nutrition of forage crops. After my master’s degree, I worked with the Western Applied Research Corporation at Scott, SK as the Field Research Manager engaged in fertility, herbicide efficacy and varietal trials. In the Fall of 2017, I commenced my PhD program on a project funded through the federal Agriculture Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP II). As part of a broader research group looking at mitigation strategies in sod-seeded pasture systems, I am focusing on short-term C and N dynamics. With my journey spanning through three disciplines (Agroforestry, Agronomy and Soil Science) through education and work, I am aiming to find synergy among the three disciplines so that as an upcoming Soil Scientist, I can use my knowledge to make a lasting contribution to production agriculture and soil management at both national and international stages. Through my studies, I aspire to widen my understanding of the current developments within the scientific community to be able to collaborate on interdisciplinary projects with more extensive impacts across the spectrum of society.

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