M Derek MacKenzie, PhD
Job/Research Area: Ecosystem Ecology
Major Responsibilities/Research Interests: My research program examines how above- and below-ground processes are affected by both natural and anthropogenic disturbance. Four basic principles guide my research and these are: 1. soil organic matter (SOM) stability is an ecosystem trait that has spatial dependence; 2. SOM stability mediates nutrient bioavailability for plants and microbes; 3. disturbance is a stochastic ecosystem event, which causes temporal and spatial fluctuations in these ecosystem processes; 4. fire creates pyrogenic carbon which is an evolutionary cue and has long-term effects on soil biogeochemistry. Many research questions can be derived from these four basic principles. If this interests you, please see my lab web-site for opportunities.
Elementary aspects of soil formation, occurrence in natural landscapes, and classification, including basic morphological, physical, and chemical characteristics employed in the identification of soils. Introduction to soil mineralogy, water movement, reactivity, organic matter, and nutrient cycling for predicting soil performance in both managed and natural landscapes. Prerequisite: *30. CHEM 101 and (BIOL 208 or EAS 201) recommended.
Principles and practical techniques currently applied in land reclamation and restoration including: (1) landscape and soil reconstruction practices; (2) passive and active revegetation practices, taking into account the interaction between biotic and abiotic components; and (3) regulations governing land reclamation after industrial disturbance. Prerequisites: REN R 120, REN R 210, and REN R 250.
Directed study in the multiple aspects of renewable resources. Open to fourth year or graduate students upon consent of instructor.
The final research project that comprises REN R 906 is a final capping exercise for the degrees of MAg and MF. Its practical and professional focus should integrate the core areas of study in the program. The successful completion of the project entails (1) a research topic approved by the supervisor; (2) the presentation of a draft research proposal; and (3) the presentation of the research as a written document to the supervisor. The project may take the form of any of the following: (1) a formal analysis of management practice, organizational processes or policy; (2) a formative or summative evaluation of a research project or program; (3) a case study, using secondary documents, survey data, or interviews; or (4) replication of a previous study, with either the introduction of a new variable or an analysis in a changed context.