Professor Louis Schipper


Qualifications: BSc, MSc, PhD Waikato

Personal Website:

Research Interests

Louis is an environmental biogeochemist with research interests in long-term changes in soil organic matter, nitrogen cycling with a focus on denitrification and nitrogen immobilisation, impacts of land use change, carbon fluxes and nutrient cycling in agricultural and indigenous ecosystems, including wetlands and soil microbial ecology. He teaches soil science at undergraduate and graduate levels.

Key Links

Opportunities for postgraduate study

Louis is interested in a range of PhD and MSc projects examining cycling of carbon and nitrogen in soil and waterways. Major foci are to determine approaches that (i) decrease nitrogen entering waterways by manipulating denitrification, and (ii) sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into soil carbon below grazed pastures. A final area of interest is to understand how temperature controls soil biogeochemical processes using macro-molecular rate theory.

Further details can be found at my website.

Managing Denitrification

We have recently completed a special issue of the journal "Ecological Engineering" focusing on managing denitrification in human dominated ecosystems. The National Science Foundation in the United States put out a press release describing the issue.

Soil Carbon and Nitrogen

If you are interested in learning about soil carbon or soil nitrogen, two non-technical articles published in the New Zealand Science Teacher can be found here - Soil carbon, Soil nitrogen.

Research Supervised

23 PhDs and 21 MScs supervised as either chief supervisor or committee member.

PhD (Chief supervisor only)

  • Jasmine Robinson (in progress) Stability of newly incorporated carbon soil
  • Balvert, Sheree (in progress). Naturally occurring glucosinolate related compounds in animal urine that act as nitrogen process inhibitors.
  • Pronger, Jack (in progress). Water use in mixed sward and ryegrass clover pasture systems under dairy grazing.
  • Rambags, Femke (in progress). Exploring the use of engineering soil filters/bioreactors for improving the performance of on-site decentralised wastewater management.
  • McNally, Samuel (2016). The contribution of roots of different pasture swards to stable soil organic matter.
  • Welten, Brendon (2014). Effects of oral administration of dicyandiamide to cattle on nitrogen leaching losses from grazed pastures.
  • Mudge, Paul (2012) Changes in d15N in pastoral soils under varying management intensity.
  • Lambie, Suzanne (2012). Soil carbon loss under pasture and pine: Responses to urine addition.
  • Cameron, Stewart (2011). Manipulation of carbon media, temperature and hydraulic efficiency to increase nitrate removal rate in denitrification beds.
  • Warneke, Sören (2011). Microbial processes and nitrate removal in denitrification beds.

MSc (Research)

  • Millar, Jaime (in progress).
  • Robinson, Jasmine (2016). Temperature sensitivity of soil respiration.
  • Jordan, Olivia (2015). Root biomass under range of pasture swards - implications for soil carbon stocks.
  • Carter, Anna (2014). The temperature response of nitrate removal in denitrification beds.
  • Norris, Timothy (2014). Detection of differences in soil carbon and nitrogen stocks between dairy and drystock pastures
  • Chibnall, Emma (2013). Contribution of dissolved organic carbon leaching to the annual carbon budget of a dairy farm.
  • Sturgeon, Catherine (2013). Assessing dissolved organic carbon export from Kopuatai bog, New Zealand.
  • Barnett, Alice (2012). Comparison of soil carbon and nitrogen stocks of adjacent dairy and drystock pastures.
  • Paripovic, Djuro (2011). Impacts of conversion from forestry to pasture on soil physical properties of Vitrands (Pumice soils) in the Central North Island, New Zealand.
  • Treweek, Glen (2011). nitrogen leaching from effluent irrigated pasture
  • Wallace, Dirk (2010). Carbon dynamics of a dairy pasture: annual balance and impact of cultivation.


  • Long, Lauren (2011). Long term nitrate removal in a denitrification wall.

Teaching Commitments

Recent Publications

  • Liu, Y., He, N., Wen, X., Xu, L., Sun, X., Yu, G., . . . Schipper, L. A. (2018). The optimum temperature of soil microbial respiration: Patterns and controls. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 121, 35-42. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2018.02.019

  • Tomer, M. D., James, D. E., Schipper, L. A., & Wills, S. A. (2018). Use of the USDA National Cooperative Soil Survey soil characterization data to detect soil change: A cautionary tale. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 81(6), 1463-1474. doi:10.2136/sssaj2017.06.0198

  • Santoso, A. B., Hamilton, D. P., Hendy, C. H., & Schipper, L. A. (2017). Carbon dioxide emissions and sediment organic carbon burials across a gradient of trophic state in eleven New Zealand lakes. Hydrobiologia, 14 pages. doi:10.1007/s10750-017-3158-7 Open Access version:

  • Chabbi, A., Lehmann, J., Ciais, P., Loescher, H. W., Cotrufo, M. F., Don, A., . . . Rumpel, C. (2017). Aligning agriculture and climate policy. Nature Climate Change, 7(5), 307-309. doi:10.1038/nclimate3286

View All research publications by Louis Schipper

Contact Details

Room: FG.3.03
Phone: +64 7 838 4468