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Dr Murray Unkovich

Telephone +61 8 8313 8104
Position Adjunct Lecturer
Fax +61 8 8313 6717
Building John Davies Building
Floor/Room 1 10
Campus Waite
Org Unit School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

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Biography/ Background

Murray has a BSc in Biology (Murd.) and MSc and PhD in Botany (UWA).

My research career has primarily focussed on the application of stable isotope techniques to study biological processes and the functioning of ecosystems. I have worked for the Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (1991-1998), contributed to the National Land and Water Resources Audit, and the National Sate of the Environment Report, and worked with the Departments of Primary Industries (Victoria and South Australia). I was also involved in developing the national environmental guidelines for reclaimed water use in agriculture. I am currently working with CSIRO Land and Water and Climate Change Australia, on the National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS) for agriculture, and with The University of Western Sydney on agricultural development in India.

Keywords: N2-fixation, legumes, farming systems, ecosystem function, nutrient cycling, carbon accounting, carbon sequestration, agriculture, soil carbon, reclaimed water irrigation

Recent Publications:

Chalk P, Peoples M, McNeill A, Boddey R, Unkovich M, Gardener M, Silva C, Chen D (2014) Methodologies for estimating nitrogen transfer between legumes and companion species in agro-ecosystems: A review of 15N-enriched techniques. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 73, 10-21.

Peoples MB, Chalk PM, Unkovich MJ, Boddey RM (2015) Can differences in 15N natural abundance be used to quantify the transfer of nitrogen from legumes to neighbouring non-legume plant species? Soil Biology and Biochemistry 87, 87-109.

Unkovich M (2013) Isotope fractionation provides new insight into biological nitrogen fixation. New Phytologist 198, 643-646.

Unkovich M (2012) Nitrogen fixation in Australian dairy systems; review and prospect. Crop and Pasture Science 63, 787-804. [PDF below]

Herr A, O'Connell D, Dunlop M, Unkovich M, Poulton P, Poole M (2012) Second harvest - Is there sufficient stubble for biofuel production in Australia? Global Change Biology, Bioenergy 4, 654-660.

Yang H, Unkovich MJ, McNeill AM, Wang X (2011) Symbiotic N2 fixation and nitrate utilisation in irrigated lucerne (Medicago sativa) systems. Biology and Fertility of Soils 47, 377-385.


Paltridge S, Grover S, Gouyi L, Tao J, Unkovich M, Tashi N, Coventry D (2011) Soils, crop nutrient status and nutrient dynamics on small-holder farms in central Tibet, China. Plant & Soil 348, 219-229.

Kirkegaard J, Angus J, Peoples M, Unkovich M (2011) Diversity and evolution of rainfed farming systems of southern Australia. In 'Rainfed farming systems'. (Eds P Tow, I Cooper, I Partridge, C Birch). (Springer)

Yang H, Unkovich MJ, M MA, Wang X (2011) Symbiotic N2 fixation and nitrate utilisation in irrigated lucerne (Medicago sativa) systems. Biology and Fertility of Soils 47, 377-385.

Unkovich M, Baldock J, Peoples, M (2010) Prospects and problems of simple linear models for estimating symbiotic N2 fixation by crop and pasture legumes. Plant and Soil 329;75-89.

Unkovich M, Baldock J, Forbes, M (2010) Variability in harvest index of grain crops and potential significance for carbon accounting in Australian agriculture. Advances in Agronomy, 105,173-219.

Paltridge,N,  Tao, J, Unkovich, MJ, Bonamano, A, Gason, A, Grover, S, Wilkins, J, Tashi, N and Coventry, D (2009) Agriculture in central Tibet: an assessment of climate, farming systems and strategies to boost production. Crop and Pasture Science 60, 627-639.

Unkovich, MJ, Baldock J, Marvanek S (2009) Which broadacre crops and pastures should be included in a carbon accounting system for Australia's cropping zone? Crop and Pasture Science 60, 617-626

Shen Y, Li L, Chen W, Robertson M, Unkovich, MJ, Bellotti W, Probert M (2009) Soil water, soil nitrogen and productivity of lucerne–wheat sequences on deep silt loams in a summer-dominant rainfall environment. Field Crops Research, 111, 97-108.

Unkovich M and Baldock J (2008) Measurement of asymbiotic N2 fixation in Australian agriculture. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 40, 2915-2921.

Unkovich, M J and Nan, Z (2008). "Problems and prospects of grassland ecosystems in western China." Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 124: 1-2.

Unkovich, M., Herridge, D.F., Peoples, M.B., Boddey, R.M., Cadisch, G., Giller, K., Alves, B., Chalk, P.M. (2008). Measuring plant-associated nitrogen fixation in agricultural systems. ACIAR Monograph No.136. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra, 258 pp

Huang, G B, Zhang, R Z, Li, G D, Li, L L, Chan, K Y, Heenan, D P, Chen, W, Unkovich, M J, Robertson, M J, Cullis, B R and Bellotti, W D (2008). "Productivity and sustainability of a spring wheat-field pea rotation in a semi-arid environment under conventional and conservation tillage systems." Field Crops Research 107(1): 43-55.

Nolan, S, Unkovich, M J, Shen, Y, Li, L and Bellotti, W (2008). "Farming systems of the Loess Plateau, Gansu Province, China." Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 124: 13-23.

Unkovich, M J (2007). Wildlife Australia. Sydney, New Holland Australia.

McNeill, A M and Unkovich, M  (2007). The nitrogen cycle in terrestrial ecosystems. Nutrient Cycling in Terrestrial Ecosystems. P. Marschner and Z. Rengel (Ed). Amsterdam, Springer Verlag: 37-64.

Kelly, J, Unkovich, M J and Stevens, D P (2006). Crop nutrition considerations in reclaimed water irrigation systems. Growing Crops with Reclaimed Wastewater. D. P. Stevens (Ed). Melbourne, CSIRO: 91-105.

Unkovich, M J, Kelly, J and Stevens, D P (2006). Managing risks to plant health from salinity, sodium, chloride and boron in reclaimed waters. Growing Crops with Reclaimed Wastewater. D. P. Stevens (Ed). Melbourne, CSIRO: 147-158.



Entry last updated: Friday, 3 Feb 2017

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