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Sustainable Nutrient Management Systems Lab

Sustainable Nutrient Management Systems Lab

Gabriel Maltais-Landry

Gabriel Maltais-Landry (He/him) - Principal Investigator

Originally trained as an aquatic biogeochemist at Université de Montréal (B.Sc. and M.Sc.), my work shifted towards nutrient cycling in agriculture during my Ph.D. at Stanford, which focused on the effects of cover crops and organic amendments on soil phosphorus cycling in California. This work expanded to include how nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions are affected by manures and cover crops during my postdoc at the University of British Columbia. My work at UF now embraces the complexity and uniqueness of Florida’s diverse agroecosystems.

Angelique Bochnak

Angelique M.K. Bochnak (she/her) - Biological scientist

Angelique received her Ph.D. in Soil and Water Sciences, Wetland Biogeochemistry Laboratory, at UF in 2007. For the past decade or more she’s worked as an ecosystem manager in both the government and private sector on water quality and ecosystem restoration in Florida aquatic systems. Throughout her career, she has gained diverse experience and expertise in water resource science, nutrient impairment of aquatic systems, watershed management, environmental sustainability, and ecosystem modeling. Angelique joined our lab in late 2020 and is excited to apply her knowledge and expertise managing our lab and working with students. Her time is split between our lab and the Environmental Pedology & Land Use Lab.

Post-Doctoral Associates & Graduate Students

Ahmad Ali, post doctoral associate

Ahmad Ali (he/him) - Post-Doctoral Associate

Dr. Ali is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Soil, Water, and Ecosystem Sciences at IFAS, University of Florida. He holds a Ph.D. and has postdoctoral experience in the research area of Eco-physiological adaptation mechanisms to environmental stresses and in the development of sustainable vegetable cropping systems. Currently, he is working in the Sustainable Nutrient Management Systems Lab, where his research focuses on the interaction between soils and crops to maximize crop productivity, optimize nutrient availability, and minimize environmental impacts in organic vegetable systems.

Julia Barra Netto-Ferreira

Julia Barra Netto-Ferreira (she/her) - Ph.D. student

co-chaired Ph.D. student (with Chris H. Wilson, Agronomy)

Julia completed her B.S. in Agronomy at the Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She received her M.S. in Agronomy - Soil Science from the same institution. In her thesis, she studied the effect of granulation of NPK fertilizers with biosolid to enhance fertilizer use efficiency. Her main research interests lay in understanding how agroecosystems management impacts soil health and crop nutrition. Julia's Ph.D. research will evaluate chickpea's potential to serve as a dual-purpose crop (cash and cover crop) to replace bare fallow periods in Southeastern row crop systems. Her goal is to determine if and how management will affect soil health, fertility, and the productivity of crops in the rotation system.

Margaret Fernando, post-doctoral associate

Margaret Fernando (she/her) - Ph.D. Student

Margaret completed her B.S. in Chemistry at Iowa State University and continued with a M.S. in Plant Science at California State University, Fresno. While completing her M.S. degree she worked for the USDA-ARS in Parlier, Cal., and researched the impacts of native and introduced cover crops on soil health, crop-water dynamics, and weed pressure in a table grape vineyard. Margaret’s interests primarily involve agroecology and the effects of farming practices on soil health. Her Ph.D. research will compare organic and conventional systems, and her main objective is to determine whether the transition to organic can be optimized with regenerative management.  

Cristina Gil

Cristina Gil (she/her) - M.S. Student

Cristina received her B.S. in Biology with a minor in Environmental Science from Ave Maria University. She then worked with the Florida Conservation Corps at Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, followed by working with the University of Florida’s Citrus Horticulture lab at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce, and the Small Fruit Horticulture and Plant Pathology labs in Gainesville.  She started her M.S. degree in Soil, Water, and Ecosystem Sciences in Fall 2022, and is working on modeling nitrogen mineralization from amendments used in Florida soils.  The aim of her work is to provide farmers with a tool to better manage nitrogen release when using organic amendments on their crops.

Yaslin Gonzalez

Yaslin Gonzalez (she/her) - Ph.D. Student

Yaslin earned an M.S. degree in Soil and Water Sciences at the University of Florida in 2018. Yaslin’s thesis focused on characterizing the origins and quantifying the mass and distribution of deep podzolized carbon in the Southeastern United States Coastal Plain. Following graduation, Yaslin worked in the Department of Environmental Protection for three years, delineating wetlands and other surface waters across the state. Currently, Yaslin is pursuing a Ph.D., evaluating the effects of cover crop treatments on soil health in a perennial tree cropping system. Another objective of this study will be to determine which traditional and novel soil health indicators are best suited for Florida’s sandy soils.

Jaya Nepal

Jaya Nepal (He/him) - Ph.D. Student

co-chaired Ph.D. student (main advisor: Zhenli He)

Jaya completed his B.S. in Agriculture from Tribhuvan University (TU) in Nepal, Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences (IAAS), where he worked with different biochar and their impact on soil physical and chemical properties. He then received an M.S. degree in International Agricultural Developmental Studies from the University of Tokyo, Japan. For his master’s research project, he evaluated the effectiveness of a newly developed phosphate fertilizer using a calcination technique in Burkina Faso. His journey working on new phosphate rock fertilizers continues at UF for a Ph.D. in soil and water sciences working with Zhenli He and Gabriel. His Ph.D. work will focus on elucidating and improving the agronomic efficiency of newly developed phosphate rock fertilizers produced with Florida’s dolomite rock reserves. Jaya is stationed at the Indian River Research and Education center (IRREC) facility in Fort Pierce, FL, and he will focus mainly on utilizing new fertilizers for vegetable crops such as tomato and cabbage. This time, he wants to not only work on testing and improving the agronomic efficiency of new fertilizers through different crop and soil management techniques but also learn in-depth about phosphorus cycling in soil and its impact on soil fertility and quality. He also aims to utilize the expertise of Dr. He’s laboratory to study nanotechnology-mediated fertilizer delivery systems for the new fertilizer. His ultimate goal is to develop a strategy for optimizing the use of new fertilizers for vegetable production in Florida that can be meaningful to farmers.

Allison Schmidt

Allison Schmidt (She/her) - M.S. Student

Allison completed her B.S. in Plant Science at the University of Florida in 2020 and conducted research on the effects of collaborative workshops on the curricula of high school science educators. Since joining the lab in 2021, first as an OPS, she has measured soil health and nutrient cycling indicators for various projects. Her current research interests include utilizing cover crops for soil nutrient management in sustainable crop production. For her M.S. thesis, Allison will evaluate fertilizer and sunn hemp cover crops as potential N additions in organic vegetable crop systems. Her goal is to determine the role of cover crops on soil fertility and crop development in Florida.

Undergraduate Students & OPS

Kendall Mackin

Kendall Mackin (she/her) - OPS

Kendall first joined the lab in 2021 as an undergraduate intern primarily assisting with a project looking at soil health related to different cover crop arrangements and fertilization approaches in organic vegetable production. She earned a B.S. in environmental science with a minor in plant science at the University of Florida in the spring of 2023. Since then, she has assisted with lab work for several different projects including work with nutrient cycling analyses and soil health indicators. She plans to expand her research efforts to focus on determining which soil health indicators are best suited for Florida sandy soils in citrus groves, and to assess soil health in sustainable grafted blueberry production.

Spring 2019 Crew

Lab personnel spring 2019

Team with certificates at the Dec. 2019 holiday banquet

Students receiving awards at the SWS 2019
recognition ceremony: (left to right) John Allar,
Gabriel Maltais-Landry, Eduardo Estevez, and
Madelene Clark.


David Campbell - Post-Doctoral Associate (2021-2022)

Ariel Freidenreich - Post-Doctoral Associate (2021-2023)

Kaile Zhang - Co-Chaired PhD student (2022)

Fabrizio Pilco - OPS (2021-2023)

Kaitlyn Tucker - Undergraduate intern (2019-2022)

Ethan Weinrich - OPS (2020-2021)

Gabriel Pelegrina - Undergraduate intern (2020-2021)

Sam Victores - Undergraduate intern (2020-2021)

Kayci Anderson - Biological scientist (2019-2020)

John Allar - Chaired MS student and OPS (2020)

Sainfort Vital - Chaired MS student (2020)

Madelene Clark - Undergraduate intern (2020)

Emma Goldberg - Undergraduate intern (2020)

Roxanne Sandi - Undergraduate intern (2020)

Alicia Kelley, D.P.M. – Intern working on composts (see publication from her work here)

Eduardo Estevez – Co-chaired M.S. student (main advisor: Davie Kadyamkapeni) (2020)

Yanlin Wang – Co-chaired M.S. student in Horticultural Sciences (main advisor: David Liu) (2020)

Adnan Fatehi – Graduate intern (2019)

Mia Acker – Undergraduate intern (2019)

Sean Coughlin – Undergraduate intern (2018-2019)

Jennifer Cumbie – Undergraduate intern (2018-2019)

Lauren Leverett – undergraduate intern (2018-2019)