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Spade and smile are her favourite tools passionately working on connecting scientific research with a journalistic approach: Anne is on a mission to escape the ivory tower of science.
Using refreshing language, she investigates the world and loves talking about soil & co from the insightOUT!

Anne Wecking

Journalist & Soil Scientist

Waikato Biogeochemistry and Ecohydrology Research
Hamilton, New Zealand

"This chilled breeze of freedom, it had never left my heart completely. The urge to experience incessancy and to grasp infinity - somewhere out there in between earth and sky or at the interstice of both. Kneeing down, I enclosed the soil below with my hands -

a gentle embrace of organic matter, so vulnerable in its preciosity but invisible for most. A piece of a magic world touched by human

hands that now effused a smell of the moist and mildewed. Breathing, in and out, the smell approached my nostrils and it became clear:

just right there, somewhere in the vastness of the Mongolian taiga forest, I was holding a hand full of life. Lifting my eyelids, the sky's ice blue beamed back down upon me. Infinity, so close yet still so far. The atmosphere, a mixture of gas molecules, which became a source of philosophical thoughts caught in the moment: 78% dinitrogen, 21% dioxygen and 1% noble gases in an interplay of electro- magnetic waves. A phenomenon science could have explained. However, that was not of significance just yet. The circle of life confessed itself in such a radiant way that it took my breath. In devotion, I stopped. It was the moment, in which I decided
to explore, to dream and to discover."

Join me on this journey of epiphany through science and life.


Greenhouse gas emissions from dairy pastures in New Zealand


Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a powerful greenhouse gas. A gas that has a lifetime of up to 114 years before eventually transforming into another chemical form. Considered a 100-year time frame, one molecule of N2O contributes to global warming around 265-times more efficiently than one molecule of carbon dioxide. And, N2O depletes ozone, the gas that is protecting life on earth from solar radiation. Absorbing the facts around the emission of N2O rises concern and confronts the agricultural activity of humankind with brutal honesty: N2O emissions originate from excess nitrogen that enters the soil through animal excreta and fertiliser. In the soil, microbes use these reactive nitrogen compounds for their metabolism with N2O as an obligate by-product. From the soil, N2O then diffuses back into the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate warming.

Measurements of N2O emission in an intensified farming environment, however, have remained a challenge! Tackling this challenge by using micro-meteorological techniques has become a PhD project and for me the reason to currently live and work in New Zealand. There could not be a more appropriate location to learn about intensified farming and dairy industries than on the other side of the globe. The PhD itself will keep me busy until mid to the end of 2020.


Science Journalism

Written words, letters black on white, inspire me. Always. They capture stories about our lives, denounce human misbehaviour or celebrate the good. They allow little fantasy worlds to exist if not are a spring of vibrant imagination. Often, those words include a complexity, which by itself remains as a challenge to be depicted in written form. My heart beats in a frequency of words to draw colourful paintings - rainbows of words, sentences and content. Rarely, I get disappointed reading. Never I have become bored. In 2008, I started freelancing for my hometown's newspaper, Dorstener Zeitung, with experiences growing over time. Highlights of my  career at its early stage were attending ifp journalism school in Munich (2011-2013) and writing for GEOlino (2012), a science magazine for children based in Hamburg.

At the moment, I am in transition practising to use both languages, German and English, for my journalistic ambitions. My latest writing for the NZ Soils Portal in early 2019 focused on an informed public audience. But I strive for more - the fine art of reportage writing - and, therefore, set up a project called Mussel Magic. Freshwater mussels are a keystone species in New Zealand. Also known as kākahi or kāeo, they provide considerable ecosystem services in freshwater lakes and streams, such as biofiltration. The reproductive lifecycle of kākahi is a surprising oddity: young freshwater mussels attach as parasitic larvae to different host fish. However, little else is known. The Mussel Magic project follows Tom Moore and a team of freshwater ecologist from the University of Waikato on their way to find out more.


Outdoor Education &

Science Communication

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn" - Benjamin Franklin
Science is a fascinating matter. But fed by both, curiosity and hard work, science is challenging. Often, the absolute - may this be an absolute answer, an absolute number or an absolute solution - remains nebulous. Some may, for this reason, doubt science. Science goes hand in hand with fascination about the living environment all surrounding us. Just out there! This is the important point: why has a rainbow colours, who does live in the soil underground and what does swarm psychology describe? The true value of science is to awake the fascination for these questions in each and everyone. When combined with first-hand experiences in the outdoors something even greater may arise: awareness and understanding.

Awareness for the connectivity of things and understanding of the consequences human actions have on our social, communal and natural environments. Simply, if I could involve people from young to old to think, to learn and to remember about science and the outdoors, what great achievement would this be? As a scientist and outdoor enthusiast, I am fascinated by the no-soil and soil side of things: they still make me wonder. Connecting my three passions - science, education and the outdoors - I initiated the Science Rocks Project. The project´s ambition is to illustrate, and by saying this I literally speaking mean "to paint", scientific facts on rocks. The science rocks then hide at different places. Gardens or parks. Backcountry huts or anywhere outdoors, really, on their way to spread knowledge and joy out to the world. All rocks are geotagged and linked to their very own Instagram account --> as below!



My PhD oral examination is due. On the 20th January, I will get to know whether I will receive my doctorate. Finally!


What a milestone - today I submitted my PhD thesis.


The writing-up stage of my PhD thesis has approached. Good news: a pre-print of my second research chapter went online in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussion.


Attending two domestic conferences and receiving a price for the best PhD thesis in its final year announced by NZSSS.


The first PhD related study got accepted for publication in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment.


The world ahead: I got chosen to work as a leader for Antipodeans Adventure Travel.
Update: Covid-19 prevented any work for Antipodeans. My first trip to Vietnam scheduled for July 2020 has been cancelled.


Freelancing work for Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research writing for the NZ Soils Portal.


Attending the NZ Society of Soil Science Conference in Napier 'Diverse Soils - Productive Landscapes'. Contributing a poster, a presentation and taking part in the soil judging competition.


Joining and presenting at the 'International Conference on Agricultural GHG Emissions and Food Security' in Berlin, GER.


Making a move - 18.000 km around the world starting a PhD position at the University of Waikato, NZ.