A photo of Dr Jonathan Sanderman.

Dr Jonathan Sanderman, Senior Research Scientist

Dr Jonathan Sanderman: soil organic matter biogeochemist

Dr Jonathan Sanderman conducts research on the key factors effecting organic matter storage and turnover in soils.

  • 10 July 2009 | Updated 3 April 2013

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History


Page 1 of 2

Current activities

Dr Jonathan Sanderman is a senior research scientist in CSIRO Land and Water's Soil and Landscape Science program where he leads the Soil Carbon and Nutrients team.

He is currently leading several national projects exploring various aspects of soil carbon sequestration in the agriculture sector.

Projects include:

  • the soil carbon and nutrient cycling implications of the use of subtropical perennial grasses in temperate pasture systems
  • reestablishment of native perennial vegetation in marginal rainfall zones
  • developing accurate and low cost methodologies for assessing soil carbon content.

Research topics of special interest include:

  • potential of Australia’s agricultural land to sequester carbon
  • mechanisms of soil organic matter stabilisation
  • coupling carbon cycling and hydrology
  • application of isotope ratio mass spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to organic matter studies.


Dr Sanderman is investigating the potential of Australia’s agricultural land to sequester carbon.

Dr Sanderman is an ecosystem scientist, and is interested in the patterns of and processes that affect the composition, functioning and services of ecosystems.

Most of his training and research interests lie in the soil and the organic matter contained within it. 

Previous research projects have included:

  • examining the temperature dependence of soil organic matter turnover times using multiple global datasets
  • examining the role that large-scale soil structure plays in isolating and protecting soil organic matter from decomposition
  • studying the fluxes and transformations of dissolved organic matter as water percolates through the soil
  • linking catchment hydrology and soil organic matter cycling to predict stream water dissolved organic matter composition
  • utilising the range of soil mineralogy found on the Hawaiian Islands to examine controls on dissolved organic matter stabilisation in soils.

Academic qualifications

Dr Sanderman has been awarded a:

  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Studies and Ecology from Brown University, Providence, RI, USA in 1998
  • Doctor of Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of California, Berkeley, USA in 2007. 


Dr Sanderman has authored 26 peer-reviewed publications and has given presentations at over 20 international research conferences.

He has received funding from:

  • the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  • the National Science Foundation (USA)
  • National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) Earth System Science Program (USA)
  • the Kearney Foundation of Soil Science (USA).

Professional activities

Dr Sanderman is a member of the:

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Soil Science Society of America
  • Ecological Society of America.

He is an associate editor for the journal Biogeochemistry and has reviewed manuscripts for over a dozen different international journals.

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