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EOS Staff Profile - Prof. David J. Lowe

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Professor David J. Lowe
David Lowe Department: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Role: Professor
Qualification: BSc, MSc, PhD ( Waikato ), FRSNZ, FNZSSS
Email: d.lowe (at)
Location: DE.1.02
Contact: Phone: [+64] (7) 838-4438 Direct Dial
Univ. operator: [+64] (7) 856 2889 ext 4438
EOS Office: [+64] (7) 838 4024
Photo: Mammoth tusk, Dawson, Yukon Territory

| Teaching | Supervision | Research | Selected Publications | Recognition | External Involvement |

Research Interests
David is a multidisciplinary geoscientist with broad interests in:

1. Tephrochronology, the correlation of tephra (or volcanic ash) deposits and their application to linking, synchronizing and dating geological, ecological or archaeological deposits or events;

2. Pedology, the nature, genesis, distribution and classification of soils, and palaeopedology, the study of soils of landscapes or environments of the past (especially of volcanic terrains);

3. Environmental change in the Quaternary, the reconstruction of palaeoenvironments, including the impacts of humans (and hence geoarchaeology), using environmental proxies at a range of time-scales and deposits since about 2.6 million years ago.


Small eruption Showa crater, Sakurajima, Japan (12 May 2010) Post-conference tour, "Active Tephra" conference, Kyushu, May 2010 (photo: K Okumura)
Lecturing and Teaching

Since joining the Department of Earth Sciences full-time in 1984 (earlier he was a junior lecturer/tutor 1979-1981), David's lecturing interests have been primarily within the Soils Group and Volcanology Group. David currently lectures in two undergraduate papers on soil science:

Undergraduate Level:
ERTH233 - Soils in the Landscape (paper coordinator)
An introduction to the nature and formation of soils and their place in the landscape, their classification, distribution pattern and use as a finite resource in New Zealand (10 point module)
ERTH333 - Pedology and Land Evaluation (paper coordinator)
Soil genesis and spatial variability, quantitative soil survey and soil-landscape modelling, soil taxonomy, and the interpretation of soil and land data in a form applicable to land-use planning and management (10 point module).
He also contributes to Year-1 courses by leading field trips for ERTH103 and ERTH104.
Field Trips:
ERTH233 - Soils in the Landscape
Students participate in two field trips (one and a half days in total): (1) relationship between soils and landscape (half day); (2) soil formation on tephra (volcanic ash) deposits of different ages and thicknesses across the Waikato landscape (one day)
ERTH333 - Pedology and Land Evaluation
Students undertake a 1-day field trip to see soils in the Mamaku Plateau-Rotorua area and how their attributes relate to a variety of land uses.
Graduate Level:
ERTH528 - Quaternary Past Environments (paper coordinator)
Aspects of dating techniques and applications, reconstructing past environments using proxies, and climatic change (the Quaternary period is last ~2.6 million years)
ERTH524 - Volcanic Processes and Hazards
Physical volcanology, volcanic hazards, climatic impacts of explosive volcanism, tephrochronology.
ERTH535 -Land and Soil Evaluation (paper coordinator)
Environmental issues related to land and soils.

...the origins and properties of the Horotiu soil. With students in Northland (near Whangarei).
Supervision of Student Research

David has jointly-supervised more than 50 postgraduates to completion. Two of David's PhD students (Fieldes Award) and five of his MSc students (Rigg Award) have been awarded the top prizes of the New Zealand Society of Soil Science for their outstanding research. Another student (Dr Maria Gehrels) was awarded the Pullar-Vucetich Prize (2008) of the Geological Society of New Zealand for her research on cryptotephras. Recent or current PhD and MSc projects co-supervised by David are given below.


Malcom McLeod: “Soil distribution, characterization and vulnerability to human impact in the Wright valley, Antarctica”
Dr Maria Gehrels (joint project with Plymouth University, UK): “An enhanced ~1800-year record of recent volcanic ash-fall events in northern New Zealand from analysis of cryptotephra” (2009)
Dr David Palmer: “Development of national extent terrain attributes (Tanz), soil water balance surfaces (SWatBal), and environmental surfaces, and their application for spatial modelling of Pinus radiata productivity across New Zealand” (2008)
Dr Haydon Jones: “Impacts of forest harvesting on performance of soil-landscape modelling in a radiata pine forest, northern New Zealand” (2004)


Kerri Lanigan: “Are there paleoclimatic signals in tephric loess deposits aged c. 30-15 cal ka in central North Island?"
Sharn Hainsworth: “Digital tools for mapping soil classes, Ruataniwha Plains"
Justin Wyatt: “Sensitivity and clay mineralogy of weathered tephra-derived soil materials in the Tauranga region” (2009)
Rachel Pickett “A tephra-dated record of palaeoenvironmental change since c. 5,500 years ago from Lake Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand” (2008)
Jeremy Cole-Baker: “Sedimentology and tephrochronology of Late-Glacial and Holocene lake sediments and peats, Westland, South Island” (2006)

Dawson City and the Yukon River In Dawson City
Research Projects

Earlier Research

David has published widely in a range of disciplines (tephrochronology, pedology, Quaternary science) with more than 120 refereed publications in scientific journals or books (including 18 chapters) to his name. He has undertaken research in New Zealand, Antarctica, Australia, Canada, and the U.K., and also has field experience in Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, France, Germany, western U.S.A. (eight states including Alaska and Hawaii), and Fiji.

In May 2010, David gave a public lecture in Kirishima, Kyushu Island, Japan as part of the INTAV "Active Tephra" conference. He also presented a series of seminars at 4 different universities during a JSPS-sponsored tour of Japan after the conference.

In 2009, David was invited by the Queensland Branch of the Australian Society of Soil Science to give the Ron McDonald Memorial Lecture in Brisbane, the first New Zealander to be given the award. His lecture was entitled "Where pedology meets geology - insights into Andisols in Australasia".

In November 2007, David was a key-note plenary speaker at an international symposium on Quaternary environmental change that was held in Tsukuba, Japan, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Japan Quaternary Association (JAQUA). David also gave a seminar at the National Taiwan University (NTU) in Taipei, Taiwan, in November, 2007. Earlier David gave two keynote talks at the INQUA congress held in Cains in July - August 2007. In March 2006 David was an invited speaker at a conference on Andisols in the Mt Fuji area of central Japan. David also worked for several months in 2006 at both the Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Lab in Hamilton and at the CRI Scion in Rotorua.

In 2005, David attended an international tephra conference in the Yukon Territory (Canada) and visited colleagues in Saskatchewan and central Alaska as part of his sabbatical leave. Earlier, David spent eight months undertaking palaeoenvironmental and tephrochronological research in universities in Northern Ireland and Great Britain during sabbatical leave in 1998-99, and ten months undertaking pedological and volcanological research on Quaternary volcanic eruptives and associated soils in southeast South Australia whilst at CSIRO (Division of Soils) in Adelaide 1991-92.

David's early professional experience includes soil survey-related work for the Soil Bureau of DSIR, Hamilton, and benzene synthesis in the liquid-scintillation based Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory. In Antarctica during the 1978-79 field season, David's four-man field party (led by now-Emeritus Professor Michael Selby) manhauled a sledge whilst undertaking geological, geomorphological and pedological mapping in the Transantarctic Mountains. The party also discovered unique iron meteorites, one of which is displayed in the Canterbury Museum (Antarctic Wing), Christchurch.

Recently completed research projects

Recently completed research undertaken with colleagues from New Zealand and overseas, and with postgraduate students, includes:

1. Comprehensive review of the discipline of tephrochronology and its application from a global perspective.

2. Determining the timing and impacts of early Polynesian settlement in New Zealand, and assessing the impacts of volcanism on early Maori in New Zealand;

3. Developing a comprehensive model relating tephras to archaeology in New Zealand, and determining the calendar age of the Kaharoa eruption of Mt Tarawera at AD 1314 ±12 using dendrochronological wiggle-match dating and radiocarbon dating;

4. Developing improved tephra correlation techniques using electron microprobe analysis of glass shards in bi-modal Rotorua Tephra, and of melt inclusions in strongly weathered tephra deposits;

5. Using tephrochronology with palynology and other palaeoenvironmental proxies to compare the synchroneity or otherwise of abrupt climate change during the transition from marine isotope Stage (MIS) 2 to Stage 1 (Last Termination), including identification of a cooling event from ca . 13,600-12,600 cal yr BP;

6. Reviewing the Andisols of New Zealand and Australia and globally;

7. Determining climatic and vegetational change from MIS 5e (Last Interglacial) through to MIS 1 (Holocene) in Northland using analyses of cores from Lake Omapere near Kaikohe;

8. Using Bayesian statistics to help improve the precision and accuracy of radiocarbon dates for tephras thereby enhancing their use as isochrons;

9. Developing soil-landscape modelling techniques to map target soil properties in plantation forests in Southland, central volcanic plateau and Northland regions, and assessing the affects of forest harvesting on the efficacy of such modelling;

10. Testing the sustainability of plantation forestry on Mamaku Plateau, central North Island, using soil and foliar phosphorus measurements associated with two rotations of Pinus radiata.

11. Contributing to a joint review paper on defining the climate event stratigraphy of New Zealand as part of the Australasian INTIMATE project.

12. Contributing to a chapter on tephrostratigraphy and tephrochronology for Elsevier’s Encyclopaedia of Quaternary Science.

13. Determining the paleoclimate of the Auckland region during MIS 2 using tephropalynological analysis of cores from Kohuora Crater, Auckland Volcanic Field;

14. Developing new age models for key tephra marker beds for New Zealand since 30,000 years ago to aid the development of a climate event stratigraphy for New Zealand as part of the NZ-INTIMATE project.

15. Reviewing the alteration, formation and occurrence of minerals in soils.

World tephra specialists, Dawson City, Yukon Territory, 2005 Ancient kauri and ERTH333 group 2006 (photo J. Pitcher)


Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Tephrochronology, Quaternary science, and environmental change

Lowe, D.J. 2011. Tephrochronology and its application: a review. Quaternary Geochronology 6 (in press) Online 8 September, 2010 cleardoi:10.1016/j.quageo.2010.08.003

Holt, K.; Wallace, R.C.; Neall, V.E.; Kohn, B.P.; Lowe, D.J. 2010. Quaternary tephra marker beds and their potential for palaeoenvironmental reconstruction on Chatham Islands east of New Zealand, southwest Pacific Ocean. Journal of Quaternary Science 25, 1169-1178.

Lowe, D.J.; Wilson, C.J.N.; Newnham, R.M.; Hogg, A.G. 2010. Dating the Kawakawa/Oruanui eruption: comment on “Optical luminescence dating of a loess section containing a critical tephra marker horizon, SW North Island of New Zealand” by R. Grapes et al. Quaternary Geochronology 5, 493-496.

Walker, M.; Johnsen, S.; Rasmussen, S.O.; Popp, T.; Steffensen, J.-P.; Gibbard, P.; Hoek, W.; Lowe, J.J.; Andrews, J.; Björck, S.; Cwynar, L.; Hughen, K.; Kershaw, P.; Kromer, B.; Litt, T.; Lowe, D.J.; Nakagawa, T.; Newnham, R.M.; Schwander, J. 2009. Formal definition and dating of the GSSP (Global Stratotype Section and Point) for the base of the Holocene using the Greenland NGRIP ice core, and selected auxiliary records. Journal of Quaternary Science 29, 3-17.

Lowe, D.J. 2008. Globalization of tephrochronology: new views from Australasia. Progress in Physical Geography 32, 311-335.

Lowe, D.J.; Alloway, B.V.; Shane, P.A.R. 2008. Far-flung markers [Tephras] In: Graham, I.J. (chief editor) “A Continent on the Move: New Zealand Geoscience into the 21st Century”. Geological Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication 124, 170-173.

Walker, M.; Johnsen, S.; Rasmussen, S.O.; Steffensen, J.-P.; Popp, T.; Gibbard, P.; Hoek, W.; Lowe, J.J.; Andrews, J.; Björck, S.; Cwynar, L.; Hughen, K.; Kershaw, P.; Kromer, B.; Litt, T.; Lowe, D.J.; Nakagawa, T.; Newnham, R.M.; Schwander, J. 2008. The Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Holocene Series/Epoch (Quaternary System/Period) in the NGRIP ice core. Episodes: Journal of International Geosciences 31, 264-267.

Lowe, D.J.; Shane, P.A.R.; Alloway, B.V.; Newnham, R.M. 2008. Fingerprints and age models for widespread New Zealand tephra marker beds erupted since 30,000 years ago: a framework for NZ-INTIMATE. Quaternary Science Reviews 27, 95-126.

Froese, D.G.; Slate, J.L.; Lowe, D.J.; Knott, J. (editors) 2008. "Global Tephra Studies: John Westgate and Andrei Sarna-Wojcicki Commemorative Volume". Quaternary International Vol. 178, Elsevier, Oxford, 1-320.

Froese, D.G.; Alloway, B.V.; Lowe, D.J. 2008. John A. Westgate - Global tephrochronologist, stratigrapher, mentor [editorial]. Quaternary International 178, 4-9.

Lowe, D.J.; Tonkin, P.J.; Neall, V.E.; Palmer, A.S.; Alloway, B.V.; Froggatt, P.C. 2008. Colin George Vucetich (1918-2007) - pioneering New Zealand tephrochronologist [obituary]. Quaternary International 178, 11-15.

Gehrels, M.J.; Newnham, R.M.; Lowe, D.J.; Wynne, S.; Hazell, Z.J.; Caseldine, C. 2008. Towards rapid assay of cryptotephra in peat cores: review and evaluation of selected methods. Quaternary International 178, 68-84.

Leonard, G.; Lowe, D.J.; McSaveney, E.; Smith, R.T.; Stewart, C.; Wright, I. 2007. Living on the ring of fire - volcanoes. In: Te Ara team (editors), "Life on the Edge - New Zealand's Natural Hazards and Disasters". David Bateman, Auckland, pp. 76-115.

Newnham, R.M.; Lowe, D.J.; Giles, T.M., Alloway, B.V. 2007. Vegetation and climate of Auckland, New Zealand, since ca. 32 000 cal. yr ago: support for an extended LGM. Journal of Quaternary Science 22, 517-534.

Newnham, R.M.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Hendy, C.H.; Lowe, D.J.; Preusser, F. 2007. A terrrestrial palynological record for the last two glacial cycles from southwestern New Zealand. Quaternary Science Reviews 26, 517-535.

Alloway, B.V.; Lowe, D.J.; Barrell, D.J.A.; Newnham, R.M..; Almond, P.C.; Augustinus, P.C.; Bertler, N.A.; Carter, L.; Litchfield, N.J.; McGlone, M.S.; Shulmeister, J.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Williams, P.W. and NZ-INTIMATE members 2007. Towards a climate event stratigraphy for New Zealand over the past 30,000 years (NZ-INTIMATE project). Journal of Quaternary Science 22, 9-35.

Newnham, R.M.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Garnett, M.H.; Lowe, D.J.; Prior, C.; Almond, P.CJ. 2007. Test of AMS 14C dating of pollen concentrates using tephrochronology. Journal of Quaternary Science 22, 37-51.

Alloway, B.V.; Larsen, G.; Lowe, D.J.; Shane. P.A.R.; Westgate, J.A. 2007. Tephrochronology. In: Elias, S.A. (editor-in-chief) Encyclopaedia of Quaternary Science. Elsevier, London, pp. 2869-2898.

Smith, R.T.; Lowe, D.J.; Wright, I.C. 2006. Volcanoes. Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand [Online]. Updated 9 June 2006. New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Wellington.

Briggs, R.M.; Lowe, D.J.; Esler, W.R.; Smith, R.T.; Henry, M.A.C.; Wehrmann, H.; Manning, D.A. 2006. Geology of the Maketu area, Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand ? Sheet V14 1:50 000. Department of Earth Sciences, University of Waikato, Occasional Report 26. 44 pp + map. [Published in collaboration with Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Whakatane.]

Gehrels, M.J.; Lowe, D.J.; Hazell, Z.J.; Newnham, R.M. 2006. A continuous 5300-yr Holocene cryptotephrostratigraphic record from northern New Zealand and implications for tephrochronology and volcanic-hazard assessment. The Holocene 16: 173-187.

Hajdas, I.; Lowe, D.J.; Newnham, R.M.; Bonani, G. 2006. Timing of the late-glacial climate reversal in the Southern Hemisphere using high-resolution radiocarbon chronology for Kaipo bog, New Zealand. Quaternary Research 65: 340-345.


Pedology and land management

Participants on ‘Ashes & Issues’ field trip Nov 2008 Tephra section and Prof Masami Nanzyo near Mt Tarawera Nov 2008
Participants on ‘Ashes & Issues’ field trip Nov 2008 Tephra section and Prof Masami Nanzyo near Mt Tarawera Nov 2008

McDaniel, P.A.; Lowe, D.J.; Arnalds, O.; Ping, C.-L. 2011. Andisols. In: Li, Y; Sumner, M.E. (eds-in-chief) “Handbook of Soil Science, 2nd edition”. CRC Press (Taylor and Francis), London (in press).

Churchman, G.J.; Lowe, D.J. 2011. Alteration, formation, and
occurrence of minerals in soils. In: Li, Y; Sumner, M.E. (eds-in-chief) “Handbook of Soil Science, 2nd edition”. CRC Press (Taylor and Francis), London (in press) A113

Lowe, D.J.; Neall, V.E., Hedley, M; Clothier, B.; Mackay, A. 2010. Guidebook for pre-conference North Island, New Zealand ‘Volcanoes to Ocean’ field tour (27-30 July, 2010). 19th World Soils Congress, International Union of Soil Sciences, Brisbane. Soil and Earth Sciences Occasional Publication No. 3, Massey University, Palmerston North, 239pp. ISSN No. 1175-4966.

Lowe, D.J.; Tonkin, P.J. 2010. Unravelling upbuilding pedogenesis in tephra and loess sequences in New Zealand using tephrochronology. In: Gilkes, R.J.; Prakongkep, N. (eds), Proceedings 19th World Congress of Soil Science (1-6 Aug., 2010, Brisbane), Symposium 1.3.2 Geochronological techniques and soil formation, pp. 34-37. Published on DVD and

Takesako, H.; Lowe, D.J.; Churchman, G.J.; Chittleborough, D. 2010. Holocene volcanic soils in the Mt Gambier region, South Australia. In: Gilkes, R.J.; Prakongkep, N. (eds), Proceedings 19th World Congress of Soil Science (1-6 Aug., 2010, Brisbane,), Symposium 1.3.1 Pedogenesis: ratio and range of influence, pp. 47-50. Published on DVD and

Watt, M.J.; Palmer, D.J.; Kimberley, M.O.; Höck, B.K.; Payn, T.; Lowe, D.J. 2010. Development of models to predict Pinus radiata productivity throughout New Zealand. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 40, 488-499.

Palmer, D.J.; Hock, B.K.; Kimberley, M.O.; Lowe, D.J.; Payn, T.W. 2009. Comparison of spatial prediction techniques for developing Pinus radiata productivity surfaces across New Zealand. Forest Ecology and Management 258, 2046-2055.

Inoue, Y.; Baasansuren, J.; Watanabe, M.; Kamei, H.; Lowe, D.J. 2009. Interpretation of pre-AD 472 Roman soils from physicochemical and mineralogical properties of buried tephric paleosols at Somma Vesuviana ruin, southwest Italy. Geoderma, 152, 243-251.

Palmer, D.J.; Watt, M.S.; Höck, B.K.; Lowe, D.J.; Payn, T.W. 2009. A dynamic framework for spatial modelling Pinus radiata soil-water balance (SWatBal) across New Zealand. Forest Research Bulletin No. 234, 1-93.

Palmer, D.J.; Höck, B.K.; Lowe, D.J.; Dunningham, A.G.; Payn, T.W. 2009. Developing national-scale terrain attributes for New Zealand (TANZ). Forest Research Bulletin No. 232, 1-81

Lowe, D.J.; Tonkin, P.J.; Palmer, A.S.; Palmer, J. 2008. Dusty horizons [Loess] In: Graham, I.J. (chief editor) “A Continent on the Move: New Zealand Geoscience into the 21st Century”. Geological Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication 124, 270-273.

Lowe, D.J. (Editor) 2008. Guidebook for Pre-conference North Island Field Trip A1 ‘Ashes and Issues’, 28-30 November, 2008. Australian and New Zealand 4th Joint Soils Conference, Massey University, Palmerston North (1-5 Dec.). New Zealand Society of Soil Science, 1-194. ISBN 978-0-473-14476-0

Lowe, D.J. (editor) 2006. Guidebook for ‘Land and Lakes’ field trip, New Zealand Society of Soil Science Biennial Conference, Rotorua. New Zealand Society of Soil Science, Lincoln. 63pp.

Claessens, L.; Lowe, D.J.; Hayward, B.W.; Schoorl, J.M.; Veldkamp, A. 2006. Reconstructing high-magnitude/low-frequency landslide events based on soil redistribution modelling and a Late-Holocene sediment record from New Zealand. Geomorphology 74: 29-49

Lowe, D.J.; Palmer, D.J. 2005. Andisols of New Zealand and Australia. Journal of Integrated Field Science 2, 39-65.

Palmer, D.J.; Lowe, D.J.; Payn, T.W.; Höck, B.K.; McLay, C.D.A.; Kimberley, M.O. 2005. Soil and foliar phosphorus as indicators of sustainability for Pinus radiata plantation forestry in New Zealand. Forest Ecology and Management 220: 140-154.

Prehistory-archaeology and tephrochronology

Lowe, D.J. 2008. Polynesian settlement of New Zealand and the impacts of volcanism on early Maori society: an update. In: Lowe, D.J. (ed), Guidebook for Pre-conference North Island Field Trip A1 ‘Ashes and Issues’, 28-30 November, 2008. Australian and New Zealand 4th Joint Soils Conference, Massey University, Palmerston North (1-5 Dec.). New Zealand Society of Soil Science. Pp.142-147.

Lowe, D.J.; Newnham, R.M. 2004. Role of tephra in dating Polynesian settlement and impact, New Zealand. Past Global Changes 12 (No. 3), 5-7 + 3 pages full references at

Gumbley, W.; Higham, T.F.G.; Lowe, D.J. 2004. Prehistoric horticultural adaptation of soils in the middle Waikato Basin: review and evidence from S14/201 and S14/185, Hamilton. New Zealand Journal of Archaeology 25: 5-30.

Hogg, A.G., Higham, T.F.G., Lowe, D.J., Palmer, J.; Reimer, P.; Newnham, R.M. 2003. Wiggle-match date for Polynesian settlement of New Zealand. Antiquity 77: 116-125.

Lowe, D.J.; Newnham, R.M.; McCraw, J.D. 2002. Volcanism and early Maori society in New Zealand. In: R. Torrence & J. Grattan (eds) "Natural Disasters, Catastrophism and Cultural Change", Routledge, London, pp. 126-161.

Lowe, D.J.; Newnham, R.M.; McFadgen, B.G.; Higham, T.F.G. 2000. Tephras and New Zealand archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science 27: 859-870.

PDFs of some papers are available at the University of Waikato 'Research Commons' at

An extensive list of publications (from 1997) is also available for viewing.

Paddy fields growing rice near Tokyo Ultisol landscape, Mahurangi Forest, Northland

Honours and distinctions

David has held elected office in both international and national geoscience organizations and been involved for more than three decades in organizing and leading conference and society activities, thereby helping facilitate science communication for professional scientist and students from New Zealand and overseas. In addition, David has hosted and supported dozens of visiting academics and young scientists, including 15 long-term visitors, from the USA, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, Norway, England, Ireland, and Japan.

He convened an international Inter-INQUA field conference on tephra, loess and paleosols in New Zealand in 1994 whilst Executive Secretary of the Commission of Tephrochronology of INQUA and he co-organised the "Active Tephra" conference in Japan in 2010 for the International Focus Group on Tephrochronology and Volcanism (INTAV).

He convened the annual conference of the Geological Society of New Zealand in Hamilton in 2001.

Currently David is a member of the editorial panels (boards) for two journals, Quaternary International and the Journal of Quaternary Science and he is an associate editor for Soil Science Society of America Journal.

David's contributions to research and lecturing have been recognised by awards and honours both internationally and in New Zealand. Here are some highlights:

- Elected Fellow of Royal Society of New Zealand
- Awarded Marsden Fund funding for 3-year project on ancient DNA and paleosols in the North Island
- Awarded Fellowship of Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science for lecture tour of Japan in May

- Ron McDonald Memorial Lecture award, Queensland branch, Australian Society of Soil Science
- Leader of INTREPID project of INTAV "Enhancing tephrochronology as a global research tool"
- The book "A continent on the Move: New Zealand Geoscience into the 21st Century", published in 2008 by the Geological Society of NZ, and of which David was one of 3 technical editors, was awarded "best book in environment" category at Montana NZ Book Awards.

- Appointed to a personal chair (professorship) at Waikato University 1 February
- Presented inaugural professional lecture "A date with tephra" 16 December
- Invited participant at international consortium workshop "Studying uncertainty in palaeo-environmental reconstruction - a net" (SUPRAnet) in U.K.
- co-guest editor of volume (vol. 178) of papers "Global Tephra Studies - John Westgate and Andrei Sarna-Wojcicki Commemorative Volume" for journal Quaternary International

- Invited plenary keynote speaker at international symposium "Quaternary Environmental Change in Asia and the Western Pacific", Tsukuba, Japan, November.
- Invited keynote speaker in two sessions 'Recent advances in tephrochronology' (S. Davies/K. Aoki, convenors) and 'Abrupt environmental and archaeologic changes' (J. Lowe/C. Turney, convenors) at 17th International INQUA Congress, Cairns, Australia, 28 July- August.
- Elected Full Voting Member, International Union for Quaternary Research Commission on Stratigraphy and Chronology (INQUA-SACCOM), 2007-2011
- Appointed Executive Secretary, International Focus Group on Tephrochronology and Volcanism (INTAV) of INQUA, 2007 - 2011.
- Official New Zealand delegate (Royal Society of NZ) to International Council, 17th International INQUA Congress, Cairns.

- invited key-note speaker at international field conference on "Volcanic-ash Soils", Mt Fuji area, Japan (March)
- associatee investigator in team (lead by Professor Deuri Newnham) awarded funding by the Nature Environment Research Council (NERC), UK, for research on cryptotephra studies in northern New Zealand

- invited co-author of chapters in international and national encyclopaedias ( Encyclopaedia of Quaternary Science, Encyclopaedia of New Zealand )
- invited speaker at international inter-INQUA tephra conference "Tephra Rush" in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada

- invited key-note speaker at the 2nd International Workshop on Andisols in Sendai, northeast Japan
- invited by the Vice-Chancellor to speak at the 40th Anniversary Celebration Winter Lecture Series at University of Waikato

- associate investigator in team (led by Dr Alan Hogg) awarded Marsden funding for palaeoclimatic analysis and radiocarbon calibration of marine isotope stage 3 using Agathis australis (kauri).

- awarded the N.H. Taylor Memorial Lecture Award and a Fellowship of the New Zealand Society of Soil Science

- Invitation Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, undertaking a lecture tour of five universities and carrying out pedological and tephrostratigraphic field work on Hokkaido, Honshu and Kyushu islands, Japan.

- participated in a Television New Zealand documentary on the origins and timing of settlement of early Polynesians in New Zealand
- associate investigator in team (led by Professor Rewi Newnham) awarded funding by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), U.K., for research on interhemispheric synchrony of global climate change

- Distinguished Scholar Award, Queen's University of Belfast, U.K.

- Guest editor of journal Quaternary International vols 34-36, "Tephra, Loess, and Paleosols - An Integration"

- awarded a Higher Education 'Link' Award by the British Council to facilitate joint research with Plymouth University, England.

- Academic Merit Award of the University of Waikato (1992)
- Visiting scientist award, CSIRO Division of Soils, Adelaide (1991-1992)
- W.A. Pullar Prize of the Geological Society of New Zealand (1986) (inaugural prize winner)
- Sir Theodore Rigg Award of the New Zealand Society of Soil Science (1982)


Professors Lowe, Chen (National Taiwan Univ., Taipei) and Takesako (Meiji Univ., Japan) in Prof Chen’s lab, 2007 Symbolic ancient altar depicting the soils of China (at Taiwan Soil Museum, Taichung, Taiwan)


External Involvement

Membership of professional and learned societies

  • Co-leader of North Island field trip "Volcanoes to Ocean" for 19th World Soil Congress in Brisbane 2010.
  • Co-organiser of INTAV "Active Tephra" conference in Kirishima, Japan, 2010.
  • Co-leader of North Island field trip "Ashes and Issues" for 4th joint international soils conference of Australian and New Zealand soil science societies in Palmerston North 2008
  • Co-scientific/technical editor of Geological Society of New Zealand book "A Continent on the Move" (2008), winner of 'environment' award of Montana New Zealand Book Awards, 2009.
  • Visited national soil museums in Taichung, Taiwan, and Tsukuba, Japan, 2007;
  • Co-leader of field trip “Land and Lakes” for biennial conference of society in Rotorua 2006; Fellow of New Zealand Society of Soil Science (FNZSSS) since 2002; N.H. Taylor Memorial Lecturer in 2002; member of society since 1975
  • Member of Royal Society of New Zealand (MRSNZ) since 1994
  • Member of Geological Society of New Zealand since 1975 (foundation member Waikato Branch); on National Committee GSNZ two terms 2000-2003; convenor of annual conference "Advances in Geosciences", Hamilton, 2001
  • Foundation member of Australasian Quaternary Association (AQUA) since 1979
  • Executive Secretary of International Focus Group on Tephrochronology and Volcanism (INTVA) 2007 - 2011;
  • Executive Secretary of Commission on Tephrochronology (COT) of International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) 1991-1995; Convenor international inter-INQUA field conference "Tephras, Loess, Paleosols", Hamilton, 1994
  • Co-leader New Zealand field trip, 10th International Clay Conference, Adelaide, in 1993
  • Editorial Advisory Panel, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics 2004-2010
  • Editorial Board, Quaternary International since 2005
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Quaternay Science since 2008
  • Associate Editor, Soil Science Society of America Journal (Pedology Div.) since 2006


North Island soils tour, World Soils Congress July 2010

Prof Mike Hedley explains management of Horotiu soils, North Is. soils tour, WSC July 2010


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Faculty of Science and Engineering - Te Mātauranga Pūtaiao me te Pūkaha
The University of Waikato - Te Whare Wananga o Waikato
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