Ben W Thomas, Ph.D.

Image Ben W. Thomas
Research Scientist – Agroecology

My program involves studying how ecological processes can be applied to regenerate agroecosystems. We treat each farm, like a tiny planet Earth, to try to make it as self-renewing and ecologically efficient as possible.

Direct line: 604-799-6765

Office: 604-796-6086

Current research and/or projects

Currently, we are assessing how soil organic carbon fractionates through the various soil organic matter pools in manure-amended soils. This is help to determine the carbon sequestration potential of manure-amended soils. We also assess how the soil's health is altered by long-term intensive agricultural management, a reality faced by many multi-generation farmers in Canada.

Professional activities / interests

Technical Editor, Canadian Journal of Plant Science

Associate Editor, Canadian Journal of Soil Science

Education and awards

Doctor of Philosophy (Natural Resource Sciences), McGill University (2016)

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

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

Key publications

  1. 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, 147

    2020 - View publication details

  2. 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, 74 34-42.

    2019 - View publication details

  3. 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, 173 321-329.

    2019 - View publication details

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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, 18(11), 3228-3234.

    2018 - View publication details

  7. 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), 25(27), 27362-27377.

    2018 - View publication details

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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, 318 9-15.

    2018 - View publication details

  12. 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

  13. 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, 29(2), 292-302.

    2018 - View publication details

  14. 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, 54(2), 269-283.

    2018 - View publication details

  15. 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

  16. Zhang, Y., de Vries, W., Thomas, B.W., Hao, X., Shi, X. (2017). Impacts of long-term nitrogen fertilization on acid buffering rates and mechanisms of a slightly calcareous clay soil, 305 92-99.

    2017 - View publication details

  17. Thomas, B.W., Stoeckli, J.L., Beck, R., Liu, K., Koenig, K.M., Beres, B.L., Hao, X., Gao, X. (2017). Nitrapyrin reduced nitrous oxide emissions from beef cattle urine patches on a semiarid tame pasture, 81(6), 1537-1547.

    2017 - View publication details

  18. Thomas, B.W., Gao, X., Beck, R., Hao, X. (2017). Are distinct nitrous oxide emission factors required for cattle urine and dung deposited on pasture in western Canada?, 24(33), 26142-26147.

    2017 - View publication details

  19. Thomas, B.W., Gao, X., Zhao, M., Bork, E.W., Hao, X. (2017). Grazing altered carbon exchange in a dry mixed-grass prairie as a function of soil texture, 98(1), 136-147.

    2017 - View publication details

  20. Zhang, Y., Shen, H., He, X., Thomas, B.W., Lupwayi, N.Z., Hao, X., Thomas, M.C., Shi, X. (2017). Fertilization shapes bacterial community structure by alteration of soil pH, 8(JUL),

    2017 - View publication details

Research facility

6947 Highway 7
PO Box 1000
Agassiz, BC V0M 1A2


Member, Canadian Society of Soil Science

Member, Canadian Society of Agronomy

Member, Soil Science Society of America

Member, American Society of Agronomy

Member, Crop Science Society of America