The University of Sydney - Biogeochemistry Group

Dijkstra Laboratory 

Dijkstra Lab

Feike A. Dijkstra

I am a biogeochemist with interest in all aspects of plant-microbial interactions affecting carbon, nutrient, and water cycling in managed and unmanaged systems.


Mohammad Rahmat Ullah

My research is mainly focused on understanding the effects of drought and soil organic amendments on carbon and nutrient mineralization in a grassland of Australia. Moreover, I am interested in examining the relationships between the microbial carbon use efficiency and enzymatic activity that affect soil organic matter decomposition during drying-rewetting cycles.

Bahareh Bicharanloo

I am interested in the effects of management and climate change on soil microbial diversity and their role on resource use efficiency and carbon storage in plant and soil. At the University of Sydney I am examining how nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization affect root C exudation, mycorrhizal infection, microbial carbon use efficiency, and nitrogen mineralization. I also investigate the effects of clipping, N and P fertilization on belowground carbon allocation and nutrient uptake in a grassland.

Md. Rumainul Islam

I am a PhD research student and my research interests focus on understanding the effect of different root substrates on soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition and stabilization in various types of soil. I am mainly focussed on identifying the most sensitive and resistant organic matter (OM) pools, as well as seeking how SOM responses vary at different depths among soil types. I will also examine the root substrates effect on the formation of stable organo-mineral complexes in different soil depths. In general, a novel framework will be investigated to understand the management of root substrates on SOM to illustrate the relationship between carbon stability and mineralogy.

Hana Husain

Soil structure is an important factor for maintaining the functionality and sustainability of soil in the ecosystem. Soil structure can be defined by the stability of soil aggregates against physical, biological or land use changes, while destruction of soil aggregates exposes protected organic C within the soil aggregates leaving them vulnerable for microbial degradation.  Despite the role of soil structure in C sequestration, the interactions between plants and soil microbes (as major players in this process) are not well understood. I will investigate the role of soil microbes (bacteria and fungi) on soil structure and C dynamics, and in return how plants (wheat and barley) interact with these processes. I will use novel stable isotope techniques combined with pot studies in the controlled environment growth chamber facility in Camden.

Xing Yu

Large amounts of fertilizer are not taken up by crops and are lost from the soil causing negative impacts on the environment. Soil pH is an important factor influencing many nitrogen and phosphorus transformation processes in the soil. For my PhD I am interested in understanding how soil pH affects fertilizer use efficiencies of nitrogen and phosphorus. I will conduct growth chamber studies to examine nitrogen and phosphorus uptake and loss for different crops, and use simulation models to improve predictions about how fertilizer use efficiency is affected by soil pH, and different environmental and management factors.


Milad Bagheri

I am interested in the crop rotation and ecological factors on agro-biodiversity, resource use efficiency and carbon and nitrogen cycle. I am managing the Biogeochemistry laboratory, including managing the rainout shelter and CliFer experiment, running the TOC analyser, Flow Injection Analyzer and Gas Chromatograph, and overseeing other students and visitors engaged in analytical work.


Ruzhen Wang, visiting scientist 2019-2020, Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, China (website)

Chunlian Qiao, visiting scientist 2019, Xinyang Normal University China (website)

Xiaoguang Wang, visiting scientist 2018-2019, Dalian University, Dalian, China (website)

Junmin Pei, visiting PhD student 2018-2019, Fudan University, Shanghai, China (website)

Kazi Mehnaz, PhD student 2015-2019 (website)

Jinfeng Yang, visiting scientist 2018-2019. Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang, China (website)

Jiayu Lu, visiting PhD student 2018-2019. Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, China (website)

Paola Corneo, postdoc 2013-2018. Now postdoc at University of Trento, Italy (website).

Shiva Bakhshandeh, PhD student 2015-2018 (website).

Shamim Mia, PhD student 2015-2018. Now A/Prof at Patuakhali Science and Technology University, Bangladesh (website).

Liming Yin, visiting PhD student 2017. Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, China (website).

Alberto Canarini, PhD student 2013-2016. Now postdoc at University of Vienna, Austria (website).

Pierre Mariotte, postdoc 2014-2016. Now Scientific Collaborator, Agroscope, Switzerland (website).

Hero Tahaei, research assistant 2012-2016. Now teaching assistant at The University of Sydney (website).

Mathilde Cassani, visiting MS student 2015. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland.

Maggie Norton, research assistant 2015. Now at Iowa State University, USA.

Mingzhu He, visiting scientist 2013-2014. Shapotou Desert Research and Experiment Station, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China (website).

Yolima Carrillo, postdoc 2011-2012. Now senior lecturer at Western Sydney University (website).