I think I need help from a soil scientist...

There are lots of reasons you may need advice from a soil scientist. Maybe you are worried about soil contamination? Want to know what to do about some bare soil? Perhaps worried about erosion? Or just curious about your soil? The team at Murrang Earth Sciences often get enquiries from a range of people looking for advice from a soil scientist. Most of the time we can help. However, there are occasions when we can’t help.


This blog posts explains what soil science advice Murrang Earth Sciences can provide, and when we can help you find someone else awesome.


What is a soil scientist?

“Soil scientists focus on maintaining the overall health of soil by working to understand the environment, soil conditions and what is living within. Most soil scientists work involves studying the upper layer of the earths crust...” - Open University

At Murrang Earth Sciences, both Jess and Jules have soil science qualifications. Jules and Jess also work to understand soil conditions within a broader environmental context. Jess has a PhD in soil science and their knowledge of soil science is recognised as part of their CEnvP General Certification. Jess has been working or researching aspects of soil science for almost 18 years as of early 2022. Jules also has a PhD in Earth sciences and worked with soil, groundwater, and surface water for this degree. She is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist. You can find other certified professionals in soil science related fields in either of these certification schemes.


What type of soil advice can Murrang Earth Sciences provide? Our team at Murrang Earth Sciences focuses on environmental aspects of soil science. This means we can provide advice on:

  • Soil contamination and chemicals in soil

  • Waste soil

  • Erosion assessment and management

  • Improving soil properties for plants and ecosystem health

  • Understanding general soil health

  • Soil sodicity and salinity

  • Applying organic matter and organic waste to land

  • Regulation and regulatory science associated with land and soil

  • Soil degradation and management

  • Soil rehabilitation and restoration

  • Soil as part of an ecosystem and holistic management

  • Soil geochemistry

  • Interactions between soil, surface water, and groundwater

  • Chemical cycling in soils

  • Land capability for agroecoystems, plants and ecology

Gully and tunnel erosion seen during an assessment in the Victorian Goldfields (Photo: J Drake)

What about soil and agriculture? Both Jules and Jess have worked in soil science for agriculture. However, our work has focused on soil within ecosystems or agroecosystems as opposed to soil science for producing food and fibre. Other soil scientists in Australia will have much more in-depth understanding of soils role in agriculture. We would collaborate with these people or refer our clients to them if the focus of the query was on understanding soils for agricultural production.

What type of soil advice does Murrang Earth Sciences not provide?

There are some queries our team can not respond too because we do not have the right qualifications or knowledge. In these cases, we either work with other people that we trust, or we refer clients to companies we trust and like to work with. Some things we can not provide advice on include:

  • Soil carbon sequestration and measurements — this is undertaken by specially qualified and trained individuals and businesses

  • Optimising plant growth and plant production via healthy soil — this is agronomic and/or other specialised soil-plant science advice

  • Soil properties in Australia pre-colonisation or traditional soil management — you would need to ask the appropriate First Nations people this question

  • Septic tanks soil assessments — this is a specialised area of work outside our expertise

  • Soil engineering properties — this is a geotechnical engineering specialty

  • Land capability and soil reports for development and planning — these reports usually require engineering expertise

If you have any queries about these things, we would be more than happy to refer you onto some amazing people.

Feel free to get in touch using the Contact link above if you have any soil related questions. We will help you if we can or introduce you to someone else that has the right expertise.

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