Professor Susanne Schmidt

Professor

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Faculty of Science

Affiliated Professor

Centre for Horticultural Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
susanne.schmidt@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 51050

Overview

Susanne leads a vibrant team researching natural ecosystems and agro-ecosystems at the interface of plants, microbes and soil. Current and recently completed research projects include:

  • A Deadly Solution: Combining Traditional Knowledge and Western Science for an Indigenous-led Bushfood Industry Project (first CIs Dale Chapman and Gerry Turpin, ARC Indigenous Discovery Grant)
  • Boosting the natural regeneration of the nitrogen capital in grazing lands (CI Susanne Schmidt, Meat & Livestock Australia)
  • From food waste to smart compost formulations (CI Susanne Schmidt and Peter Wadewitz (Peats Soils)
  • Re-carbonising soils, boosting soil fertility and recycling (CI Andy Ball, ARC Industry Transformation Training Centre 'Biosolids' )
  • The Integrated Bio-economy Project and the Controlled Biosphere (CI Ben Hankamer, ARC Linkages)
  • Environmentally responsive bio-composite fertilisers (CI Bronwyn Laycock, Advance QLD Industry Partnership)
  • Ultrahigh-resolution remote sensing for assessing biodiversity hotspots (CI Arko Lucieer, ARC DP)
  • Ecofriendly fertilisers for sustainable farming (CRC-P, lead SOS BIO)
  • Effective microbial biostimulants in horticulture (with Phil Hugenholtz, Neena Mitter, Paul Dennis, Elizabeth Aitken)
  • New technologies and management: transforming nitrogen use efficiency in cane production. (CI Matt Redding QLD DAF)
  • Recycled phosphorus from waste streams as efficient P sources for agriculture (with German collaborators, DAAD)
  • NextGen fertilisers and nutrient stewardship - repurposing and efficiently formulating nutrient-rich wastes
  • License to farm - nitrogen use efficiency sugarcane (CIs Prakash Lakshmanan and Nicole Robinson)
  • Developing sugarcane-legume companion cropping systems (Schmidt, Robinson, Ferguson, others)
  • Spinifex desert grass - ecophysiology, nano-cellulose for novel biomaterials(PhD student Lisa Xian, CI Darren Martin)
  • Soil carbon sequestration - the role of soil microbesi n tropical reforestation (Mark Bonner)
  • Nitrogen use efficiency in sorghum (PhD student Belinda Worland)
  • Beneficial microbes to enhance future crop systems (PhD student Shelby Berg)
  • Understanding soil carbon sequestration with soil chronosequences (PhD student Andrew Jones)
  • Organic nitrogen in sugarcane systems (PhD student Scott Buckley)
  • Advancing Livestock Waste as Low Emission-High Efficiency Fertilizers (CI Dr Matt Redding QLD DAF)
  • Ecogenomic profiling of Queensland sugarcane soils for sustainable bioproduction and carbon capture (CI Ragan, Hugenholtz, Schmidt)
  • Functional response of Triodia in the spinifex grasslands of arid Australia (Schmidt, PhD student Xian)
  • Towards sustainable bioproduction systems: harnessing organic nitrogen for plant growth (Schmidt, Paungfoo-Lonhienne, Rentsch, Naesholm)
  • Harnessing Soil Biology (Schmidt, Schenk)
  • Climate Change Adaptation - Rainforest Biodiversity & Climate Change

Research Interests

  • Sustainable land use, protection and use of Australia's native biodiversity
    Sustainable land use, Australia's native flora, ecosystem restoration, novel biomaterials and from Australian plants, Indigenous-led bushfood industry and land restoration
  • Soil health and carbon sequestration
    Soil processes, nutrient cycling, carbon cycle, soil microbial communities
  • Nutrient stewardship and the circular nutrient economy
    Next-generation fertilisers, re-purposing wastes, biological nitrogen fixation, material science and engineering solutions
  • Beneficial microbes and rhizosphere processes
    Microbial communities in roots and rhizosphere, biostimulants and probiotics for horticulture and agriculture

Research Impacts

Our research bridges from fundamental plant, soil and microbial science to application. We aim to generate knowhow for a circular nutrient economy

Qualifications

  • Master of Science, Universität Hohenheim
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • The grazing of north Australia's native pastures has to be environmentally sustainable to ensure long term productivity and avoid land degradation. We are collaborating with the grazing industry and government researchers to harness ecological processes that replenish nitrogen - quantitatively the most important nutrients that most plants acquire from the soil. The focus of this projects is 'biocrusts', the living skin of soil that protects against erosion and harbours a great diversity of microscopic organisms. (https://www.mla.com.au/news-and-events/industry-news/biocrusts-offer-natural-solution/). We study biocrusts in the context of fire and grazing with the aim to identify ideal management to maximise the presence and nitrogen fixation of biocrusts. The candidate has a choice of projects that examine biocrusts in the context of different management regimes and relevance for soil health and sustainable grazing. There is much choice in research projects: remote sensing and drone technology, pasture-biocrust interaction (germination, nutrient transfer), molecular characterisation of biocrust organisms and biomaterials, and working with graziers to explore the presence and function of biocrusts on their land. Industry co-sponsorship is available for strong candidates.

  • This project forms part of a prestigious Australian Research Council-funded project "A Deadly Solution: Towards an Indigenous-led bush food industry". The project focuses on four Indigenous communities and the native plants on their country. (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-20/bush-food-project-aims-to-get-more-native-plants-in-pantries/13164350). The overall project aim is to select promising native plants for the expanding bushfood and ornamental horticulture industries in support of the economic development of Indigenous communities, but also with a view of the restoration of degraded land in the communities and biodiversity gains. The candidate will have a strong interest in native plants and their propagation, and in collaborating with First Nation people and the interdisciplinary researcher team. The project is based at the Gatton campus and involves travel to communities in Queensland from where plants are selected and will be grown. A current drivers license is highly recommended.

  • There is an opportunity to reverse the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations by sequestering carbon into soils. A primary target is degraded agricultural soils that have lost much of their organic matter. Contributing to global and local initiatives aimed at counteracting climate change, this project joins waste engineers, government and industry partners in a newly established "Industry Transformation Training Centre for Biosolids" (www.transformingbiosolids.org.au). We are seeking a candidate to identify safe substances and processes that enable the rebuilding of soil carbon stores. The candidate will be interested in the circular economy and collaborating with researchers, government and industry. Suitable backgrounds include one or more of the following: soil science, microbiology, chemical engineering, environmental sciences, agriculture and biotechnology. The candidate can explore diverse topics including how organic substances interact with contrasting soils, or how microbial processes can be engineered to boost carbon sequestration. Industry co-sponsorship is available for strong candidates.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Schmidt, Susanne (2015). Foreword. Ecological Biochemistry: Environmental and Interspecies Interactions. (pp. XXI-XXI) Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH. doi: 10.1002/9783527686063.fmatter

  • Erisman, Jan Willem, Leach, Allison, Adams, Mark, Agboola, Julius I., Ahmetaj, Luan, Alard, Didier, Austin, Amy, Awodun, Moses A., Bareham, Simon, Bird, Theresa L., Bleeker, Albert, Bull, Keith, Cornell, Sarah E., Davidson, Eric, de Vries, Wim, Dias, Teresa, Emmett, Bridget, Goodale, Christine, Greaver, Tara, Haeuber, Rick, Harmens, Harry, Hicks, W. Kevin, Hogbom, Lars, Jarvis, Paul, Johansson, Matti, Russell, Zoe, McClean, Colin, Paton, Bill, Perez, Tibisay ... Whitfield, Clare P. (2014). Nitrogen deposition effects on ecosystem services and interactions with other pollutants and climate change. Nitrogen deposition, critical loads and biodiversity. (pp. 493-505) edited by Mark A. Sutton, Kate E. Mason, Lucy J. Sheppard, Harald Sverdrup, Richard Haeuber and W. Kevin Hicks. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Netherlands. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-7939-6_51

  • Robinson, Nicole, Vogt, Jessica, Lakshmanan, Prakash and Schmidt, Sussane (2013). Nitrogen physiology of sugarcane. Sugarcane: Physiology, Biochemistry, and Functional Biology. (pp. 169-195) edited by Paul H. Moore and Frederik C. Botha. Oxford United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9781118771280.ch8

  • Paungfoo-Lonhienne, Chanyarat, Schmidt, Susanne, Webb, Richard I. and Lonhienne, Thierry G. A. (2013). Rhizophagy-a new dimension of plant-microbe interactions. Molecular Microbial Ecology of the Rhizosphere. (pp. 1199-1207) edited by Frans J. de Bruijn. Hoboken, NJ United States: Wiley-Blackwell. doi: 10.1002/9781118297674.ch115

  • Ellis, J. C., Bellingham, P. J., Cameron, E. K., Croll, D. A., Kolb, G. S., Kueffer, C., Mittelhauser, G. H., Schmidt, S., Vidal, E. and Wait, D. A. (2011). Effects of seabirds on plant communities. Seabird Islands: Ecology, invasion and restoration. (pp. 177-211) edited by Christa Mulder, Wendy Anderson, David Towns and Peter Bellingham. New York, USA: Oxford Univ Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199735693.003.0006

  • Mulder, C. P. H., Jones, H., Kameda, K., Palmborg, C., Schmidt, S., Ellis, J., Orrock, J. L., Wait, A., Wardle, D. A., Yang, L., Young, H., Croll, D. and Vidal, E. (2011). Impacts of seabirds on plant and soil properties. Seabird Islands: Ecology, invasion and restoration. (pp. 135-176) edited by Christa P. H. Mulder, Wendy B. Anderson, David R. Towns and Peter J. Bellingham. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199735693.003.0005

  • Stewart, G. and Schmidt, S. (1999). Evolution and ecology of plant mineral nutrition. Physiological plant ecology: The 39th Symposium of the British Ecological Society, held at the University of York, 7-9 September 1998. (pp. 91-114) edited by Malcolm C. Press, Julie D. Scholes and Martin G. Barker. UK: Blackwell Science.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

  • Bell, Mike J., Biggs, Jody, Brennan McKellar, L., Connellan, Julian, Di Bella, Lawrence, Dwyer, Rod, Empson, Marine, Garside, Alan J., Harvey, Tim, Kraak, Jeff, Lakshmanan, Prakash, Lamb, David W., Meier, Elizabeth, Moody, Phil, Muster, Tim, Palmer, Jeda, Robinson, Nicole, Robson, Andrew, Salter, Barry, Schroeder, Bernard, Silburn, Mark, Schmidt, Susanne, Skocaj, Danielle M., Stacey, Samuel, Stanley, John, Thorburn, Peter, Verburg, Kirsten, Walker, Charlie, Wang, Weijin and Wood, Andrew (2015). A review of nitrogen use efficiency in sugarcane. Sugar Research Australia Limited.

  • Rossato, Laurence Suzanne Rosa, Pudmenzky, Alexander, Doley, David, Monteiro, Michael, Whittaker, Michael and Schmidt, Susanne (2008). Soil remediation process. 20110182670.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • The grazing of north Australia's native pastures has to be environmentally sustainable to ensure long term productivity and avoid land degradation. We are collaborating with the grazing industry and government researchers to harness ecological processes that replenish nitrogen - quantitatively the most important nutrients that most plants acquire from the soil. The focus of this projects is 'biocrusts', the living skin of soil that protects against erosion and harbours a great diversity of microscopic organisms. (https://www.mla.com.au/news-and-events/industry-news/biocrusts-offer-natural-solution/). We study biocrusts in the context of fire and grazing with the aim to identify ideal management to maximise the presence and nitrogen fixation of biocrusts. The candidate has a choice of projects that examine biocrusts in the context of different management regimes and relevance for soil health and sustainable grazing. There is much choice in research projects: remote sensing and drone technology, pasture-biocrust interaction (germination, nutrient transfer), molecular characterisation of biocrust organisms and biomaterials, and working with graziers to explore the presence and function of biocrusts on their land. Industry co-sponsorship is available for strong candidates.

  • This project forms part of a prestigious Australian Research Council-funded project "A Deadly Solution: Towards an Indigenous-led bush food industry". The project focuses on four Indigenous communities and the native plants on their country. (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-20/bush-food-project-aims-to-get-more-native-plants-in-pantries/13164350). The overall project aim is to select promising native plants for the expanding bushfood and ornamental horticulture industries in support of the economic development of Indigenous communities, but also with a view of the restoration of degraded land in the communities and biodiversity gains. The candidate will have a strong interest in native plants and their propagation, and in collaborating with First Nation people and the interdisciplinary researcher team. The project is based at the Gatton campus and involves travel to communities in Queensland from where plants are selected and will be grown. A current drivers license is highly recommended.

  • There is an opportunity to reverse the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations by sequestering carbon into soils. A primary target is degraded agricultural soils that have lost much of their organic matter. Contributing to global and local initiatives aimed at counteracting climate change, this project joins waste engineers, government and industry partners in a newly established "Industry Transformation Training Centre for Biosolids" (www.transformingbiosolids.org.au). We are seeking a candidate to identify safe substances and processes that enable the rebuilding of soil carbon stores. The candidate will be interested in the circular economy and collaborating with researchers, government and industry. Suitable backgrounds include one or more of the following: soil science, microbiology, chemical engineering, environmental sciences, agriculture and biotechnology. The candidate can explore diverse topics including how organic substances interact with contrasting soils, or how microbial processes can be engineered to boost carbon sequestration. Industry co-sponsorship is available for strong candidates.

  • The amounts of bioavailable nitrogen and phosphorus in the biosphere are exceeding the safe boundaries of planetary function, having trebled and doubled over the past century. To advance the circular nutrient economy that ensures the efficient use of nutrients for crops without polluting the environment and impacting on human health, we are advancing interdisciplinary research. This includes nutrient retrieval from waste streams with microorganisms that are turned into organic fertilisers, clean ash that recycle nutrients from wastes, formulating fertilisers with biopolymers for the timely release of nutrients to crops, to advancing smart compost formulations with multiple benefits. Efficient nutrient delivery for local crops, disruptive innovation and enabling the circular economy are among the outcomes. The student can work across different industries at the cutting edge of innovation. Co-sponsorship from industry will be available to strong candidates.