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Dr Lynne Macdonald

Group Leader


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As a research scientist with CSIRO Agriculture & Food, Dr Lynne Macdonald has specialist focus on sustainability from a soil science perspective. Joining CSIRO in 2009, she currently leads a portfolio of work on soil carbon and low emissions agriculture which aligns with CSIROs Towards Net Zero Mission and the Valuing Sustainability Future Science Platform.

Dr Macdonald has particular interest in understanding the benefits and trade-offs of agricultural management on carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, and production resilience. Her work is underpinned by diverse career experiences with deep domain knowledge in soil carbon and microbial processes, soil physio-chemical constraints, biochar as a soil amendment, and soil forensic sciences. With experience in leading multi-disciplinary programs, Lynne enjoys defining and addressing complex science challenges relevant to stakeholder needs, and in translating scientific data into accessible indicators/tools to guide on-farm target setting.

Originally from Scotland, she has a PhD in Plant & Soil Science from the University of Aberdeen, is an affiliate at the University of Adelaide, and sits on the Science Advisory Committee for Australian company New Edge Microbials.

Other Interests

Visual thinker - a picture says a thousand words.

Current Roles

  • Low Emissions Agriculture
    Leading the development of projects aligned with TNZ Mission

  • Acting Research Director - Sustainability
    April 2022 - June 2022

  • Team Leader
    Carbon Accounting & Function

  • Science Lead - Soil Function Indicators
    Valuing Sustainability Future Science Platform

  • Science Lead - Soil Carbon Indicators
    CSIRO HandPrint - Trusted Solutions for Agribuisness sustainability transition

  • Science Collaborator - Soil Carbon Tools
    DigiScape Soil Spectral Platform

  • Science Collaborator - Soil Constraints
    GRDC Sandy Soils Program (CSP00203, 2016-2023)

  • Research Affiliate - The University of Adelaide
    Ph.D. supervision, student mentoring, guest lectures (2014-present)

Academic Qualifications

  • 2002

    PhD Plant & Soil Science - rhizosphere carbon dynamics
    University of Aberdeen / Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland UK

  • 1998

    BSc (Hons) Environmental Microbiology
    University of Aberdeen, Scotland UK

Professional Experiences

  • 2015-2020

    Senior Research Scientist: Sandy Soil Constraints
    CSIRO Agriculture & Food - Sustainability Program

  • 2009-2015

    Research Scientist: Soil Carbon & Biochar
    CSIRO Land & Water

  • 2006-2008

    PDF: Soil fingerprinting techniques for forensic application (SoilFit, EPSRC).
    Macaulay Institute, Scotland UK.

  • 2004-2006

    PDF: Soil microbial function for improved productivity in cropping systems (GRDC).
    CSIRO Land & Water, Glen Osmond , Australia.

  • 2002-2004

    Visiting Fellow: Microbiological processes that govern greenhouse gas emissions (NSERC).
    Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge Research Station, Alberta, Canada.

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2016-2019

    Inclusion & Diversity in-program lead

  • 2010-2012

    CSIRO Land & Water Public Seminar Coordinator

We have publications by Dr Lynne Macdonald