Ben W Thomas, Ph.D.

Image Ben W. Thomas
Research Scientist – Agroecology

Our program studies how ecological processes regenerate and sustain agroecosystems.

Direct line: 604-799-6765

Current research and/or projects

Currently, we are assessing soil organic carbon and nitrogen links to microbial community composition and diversity as well as enzyme activity. This may help to determine how to optimize the function of soil while maximizing carbon sequestration, crop performance and soil biodiversity. We also assess how soil health is altered by long-term intensive agricultural management, a reality faced by many multi-generation farmers in Canada but one particularly unique to the Fraser Valley of British Columbia.

Professional activities / interests

Agronomy Section Editor, Canadian Journal of Plant Science

Canadian Journal of Plant Science Representative, Canadian Society of Agronomy Executive Committee

Associate Editor, Canadian Journal of Soil Science

 

Education and awards

Doctor of Philosophy, Renewable Resources: Soil Science, McGill University (2016)

Master of Resource and Environmental Management, Dalhousie University (2012)

First Class Standing Bachelor of Science, Biology, University of Prince Edward Island (2009)

Key publications

  1. Thomas, B.W., M. Clodius. 2024. Hazelnut Research Update. Lower Mainland Horticultural Conference. Abbotsford, BC, Canada. January 25–27, 2024. (Invited Talk)

    2024 - View publication details

  2. Liu, R., Thomas, B.W., Shi, X., Zhang, X., Wang, Z., Zhang, Y. (2021). Effects of ground cover management on improving water and soil conservation in tree crop systems: A meta-analysis. Catena, [online] 199 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2020.105085

    2021 - View publication details

  3. Hussain Shah, S.H., Wang, J., Hao, X., Thomas, B.W. (2021). Modeling the effect of salt-affected soil on water balance fluxes and nitrous oxide emission using modified DNDC. Journal of Environmental Management, [online] 280 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111678

    2021 - View publication details

  4. Owens, J.L., Thomas, B.W., Stoeckli, J.L., Beauchemin, K.A., McAllister, T.A., Larney, F.J., Hao, X. (2020). Greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions from stored manure from beef cattle supplemented 3-nitrooxypropanol and monensin to reduce enteric methane emissions. Scientific Reports, [online] 10(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-75236-w

    2020 - View publication details

  5. Zhang, Y., Gao, X., Hao, X., Alexander, T.W., Shi, X., Jin, L., Thomas, B.W. (2020). Heavy grazing over 64 years reduced soil bacterial diversity in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Canada. Applied Soil Ecology, [online] 147 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2019.09.011

    2020 - View publication details

  6. Lupwayi, N.Z., Zhang, Y., Hao, X., Thomas, B.W., Eastman, A.H., Schwinghamer, T.D. (2019). Linking soil microbial biomass and enzyme activities to long-term manure applications and their nonlinear legacy. Pedobiologia, [online] 74 34-42. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pedobi.2019.04.001

    2019 - View publication details

  7. An, H., Zhang, B., Thomas, B.W., Beck, R., Willms, W.D., Li, Y., Hao, X. (2019). Short term recovery of vegetation and soil after abandoning cultivated mixedgrass prairies in Alberta, Canada. Catena, [online] 173 321-329. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.catena.2018.10.017

    2019 - View publication details

  8. Xiying Hao, Jessica Stoeckli, and Ben W. Thomas. 2019. Assessing Soil Health Indicators for Manure-Amended Soils. Manure Management Update 2019. Jan 14, 2019. Lethbridge, AB. Canada

    2019 - View publication details

  9. Whalen, J.K., B.W. Thomas, M. Sharifi. 2019. Novel practices and smart technologies to maximize the nitrogen fertilizer value of manure for crop production in cold humid temperate regions. Advances in Agronomy 153:1–85.

    2019 - View publication details

  10. Thomas, B.W., Hunt, D., Bittman, S., Hannam, K.D., Messiga, A.J., Haak, D., Sharifi, M., Hao, X. (2019). Soil health indicators after 21 yr of no-tillage in South Coastal British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, [online] 99(2), 222-225. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjss-2018-0146

    2019 - View publication details

  11. Zhang, B., Thomas, B.W., Beck, R., Willms, W.D., Zhao, M., Hao, X. (2018). Slope position regulates response of carbon and nitrogen stocks to cattle grazing on rough fescue grassland. Journal of Soils and Sediments, [online] 18(11), 3228-3234. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11368-018-1992-5

    2018 - View publication details

  12. Shrestha, N.K., Thomas, B.W., Du, X., Hao, X., Wang, J. (2018). Modeling nitrous oxide emissions from rough fescue grassland soils subjected to long-term grazing of different intensities using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). Environmental Science and Pollution Research, [online] 25(27), 27362-27377. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-2719-2

    2018 - View publication details

  13. Jen Owens, Xiying Hao, Ben W. Thomas, Jessica L. Stoeckli, Francis J. Larney, Karen A. Beauchemin, Tim A. McAllister. 2018. Do the effects of dietary greenhouse gas inhibitors persist in beef cattle manure during composting and stockpiling? 2018 Joint Meeting of the CGU-CSSS-CIG-CSAFM-ESSSA. June 10-14, 2018. Niagara Falls, ON. Canada.

    2018 - View publication details

  14. X. Hao, J.L. Owens, B.W. Thomas, J.L. Stoeckli. 2018. Legacy Effect of Cattle Manure Application on Greenhouse Gas Emission. 2018 CGU, CSSS, CIG, Es-SSA and CSAFM joint annual meeting. June 10-14, 2018. Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

    2018 - View publication details

  15. Thomas, B.W.*, J.K. Whalen, M. Sharifi, M.H. Chantigny, X. Hao. 2018. Nitrogen mineralization in sandy loam and silty clay soils receiving liquid swine and dairy cattle manure. Joint Annual Meeting of Canadian Geophysical Union-Canadian Soil Science Society-Computational Infrastructure in Geodynamics-Eastern Section of the Seismological Society of America-Canadian Society for Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. Niagara Falls, ON, Canada. June 10–14, 2018.

    2018 - View publication details

  16. Zhang, B., Thomas, B.W., Beck, R., Liu, K., Zhao, M., Hao, X. (2018). Labile soil organic matter in response to long-term cattle grazing on sloped rough fescue grassland in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Alberta. Geoderma, [online] 318 9-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.12.019

    2018 - View publication details

  17. Soden, C, Hao X, Thomas BW, Stoeckli K, Floate K, Lupwayi N. 2018. Could dung pats treated with and without ivermectin affect insect activities and impact soil available nitrogen on native pasture? 2018 Alberta Soil Science Workshop, Edmonton AB, Feb 20-22, 2018.

    2018 - View publication details

  18. Gao, X., Thomas, B.W., Beck, R., Thompson, D.J., Zhao, M., Willms, W.D., Hao, X. (2018). Long-Term Grazing Alters Soil Trace Gas Fluxes from Grasslands in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Canada. Land Degradation & Development, [online] 29(2), 292-302. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ldr.2664

    2018 - View publication details

  19. Zhang, Y., Hao, X., Alexander, T.W., Thomas, B.W., Shi, X., Lupwayi, N.Z. (2018). Long-term and legacy effects of manure application on soil microbial community composition. Biology and Fertility of Soils, [online] 54(2), 269-283. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00374-017-1257-2

    2018 - View publication details

  20. Hao, X., C. Soden, J. Stoeckli, B.W. Thomas, K.D. Floate and N. Lupwayi. 2018. Could insect activities reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dung pats? 71st Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management, Sparks, Nevada, 28 January – 02 February. [oral presentation]

    2018 - View publication details