Mervin St. Luce, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

My research program aims to enhance agricultural productivity through the development of sustainable and resilient cropping systems, development of best management practices to improve soil health and nutrient use efficiency, particularly nitrogen, and the development of science-based decision support tools including predictive models using soil spectroscopy and machine learning for rapid soil analysis.

Current research and/or projects

  • Old plots, new hypotheses: Toward a revitalized AAFC long-term agroecosystem (LTAE) network

  • The Canadian Prairie Soil Spectral Library (CPSSL): Towards long-term sustainable soil management

  • Agricultural Nature-based Solutions for the Prairie Ecoregions

  • Maximizing agricultural climate solutions through integration of beneficial management practices

  • Bridge to Land, Water, Sky: An Indigenous-led Agricultural Climate Solutions Proposal

  • Carbon Sequestration Under Pasture and Forage Resources

  • Soil spectranomics to guide agroecosystem management

  • A Prairie assessment of nitrogen stabilizers and split fertilizer application in sustaining spring wheat yield, protein and production economics while reducing nitrous oxide emissions

  • The role of wheat growth habit in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fostering climate resiliency without compromising yield, quality and 4R principles

  • AI-based tool for turning food waste into energy and fertilizer

Research and/or project statements

Other publications

Iheshiulo, E.M-A., Larney, F., Hernandez-Ramirez, G., St. Luce, M., Chau, H.W., and Liu, K. 2024. Soil organic matter and aggregate stability dynamics under major no-till crop rotations on the Canadian prairies. Geoderma, 442: 116777.

Iheshiulo, E.M-A., Larney, F., Hernandez-Ramirez, G., St. Luce, M., Chau, H.W., and Liu, K. 2024. Crop rotations influence soil hydraulic and physical quality under no-till on the Canadian prairies. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 361: 108820.

Wen, G., Ma, B-L., St. Luce, M., Liu, K., Mooleki, P.S., Crittenden, S., Gulden, R., Semach, G., Tiege, P., and Lokuruge, P. 2023. Optimizing nitrogen fertilization for hybrid canola (Brassica napus L.) production across Canada. Field Crops Research, 302: 109048.

Iheshiulo, E.M-A., Larney, F., Hernandez-Ramirez, G., St. Luce, M., Liu, K., and Chau, H.W. 2023. Do diversified crop rotations influence soil physical health? A meta-analysis. Soil and Tillage Research, 233: 105781.

Liptzin, D., Rieke, E., Cappellazzi, S.B..., St. Luce, M. et al. 2023. An evaluation of nitrogen indicators for soil health in long-term agricultural experiments. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 87: 868-884.

Biswas, D., Branimir, G., St. Luce, M., Liu, K., and Asgedom, H. 2023. Effects of soil water and nitrogen on drought resilience, growth, yield and grain quality of a spring wheat. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 103: 401-410.

Rieke, E.L., Bagnall, D.K., Morgan, C.L.S., Flynn, K.D..., St. Luce, M. et al. 2022. Evaluation of aggregate stability methods for soil health. Geoderma, 428: 116156.

Norris, C.E., Gorzelak, M.A., Arcand, M.M., Bruhjell, D., Carlye, C.M., Dyck, M., Ellert, B., Entz, M., Geddes, C.M., Hao, X., Janovicek, K., Larney, F., May, W., St. Luce, M., Van Eerd, L.L., Zhang, T., Beck, R., Cowen, T., Liptzin, D., and Morgan, C.L.S. 2022. The story of long-term research sites and soil health in Canadian agriculture. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 425: 116048.

St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., and Viscarra Rossel, R.A. 2022. GLOBAL-LOCAL: A new approach for local predictions of soil organic carbon content using large soil spectral libraries. Geoderma, 425: 116048.

Liptzin, D., Norris, C.E., Cappellazzi, S.B..., St. Luce, M. et al. 2022. An evaluation of carbon indicators of soil health in long-term agricultural experiments. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 172: 108708.

Bagnall, D.K., Morgan, C.L.S, Cope, M..., St. Luce, M. et al. 2022. Selecting soil hydraulic properties as indicators of soil health: Measurement response to management and site characteristics. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 86: 1206-1226.

Gagnon, B., Ravelojaona, N.,  St. Luce, M. and Ziadi, N. 2022. Agronomic and economic performance of 26-year corn–soybean rotation affected by tillage and fertilization in eastern Canada. Agronomy Journal, 114: 1447-1460.

St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Chantingy, M.H., and Braun, J. 2022. Long-term effects of tillage and nitrogen fertilization on soil C and N fractions in a corn-soybean rotation. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 102: 277-292.

He, W., Grant, B.B., Jing, Q., Lemke, R., St. Luce, M., Jiang, R., Qian, B., Campbell, C.A., VanerZaag, A., Zou, G., and Smith, W.N. 2021. Measuring and modeling soil carbon sequestration under diverse cropping systems in the semiarid prairies of western Canada. Journal of Cleaner Production 129614.

Chen, S., Cade-Menun, B.J., Bainard, L.D., St. Luce, M., Hu, Y., and Chen, Q. 2021. The influence of long-term N and P fertilization on soil P forms and cycling in a wheat/fallow cropping system. Geoderma 404: 115274.

Kroebel, R., Stephens, E., Gorzelak, M., Thivierge, M-N., Akhter, F., Nyiraneza, J., Singer, S., Geddes, C.M., Glenn, A., Devillers, N., Alemu, A., St. Luce, M., and Giardetti, D. 2021. Making farming more sustainable by helping farmers to decide rather than telling them what to do. Environmental Research Letters, 16: 055033.

Lupwayi, N.Z., Schwinghamer, T.D., Tidemann, B.D., Kubota, H., Turkington, T.K., Khakbazan, M., and St. Luce, M. 2021. Causal relationships from legume crops to soil microbial properties relative to canola. Agronomy Journal, 113: 172-186.

Jing, Q., McConkey, B.G., Qian, B., Smith, W., Grant, B., Shang, J., Liu, J. Bindraban, P., and St. Luce, M. 2021. Assessing water management effects on spring wheat yield in the Canadian Prairies using DSSAT wheat models. Agricultural Water Management, 244: 106591.

May, W., St. Luce, M., and Gan, Y. 2020. No-till systems in the Canadian prairies. In: Dang. Y. et al. (Eds.), No-till farming systems for sustainable agriculture: Challenges and opportunities. Springer, Cham. p. 601-616.

Fan, J., McConkey, B.G., St. Luce, M., and Brandt, K. 2020. Rotational benefit of pulse crop with no-till increase over time in a semiarid climate. European Journal of Agronomy, 126155.

Manirakiza, E., Ziadi, N., St. Luce, M., Hamel, C., Antoun, H., and Karam, A. 2020. Changes in soil pH and nutrient extractability after co-applying biochar and paper mill biosolids. Canadian Journal of Soil Science. In press.

Smith, W., Grant, B., Qi, Z., He, W., Qian, B., Jing, Q., VanderZaag, A., Drury, C.F., St. Luce, M., and Wagner-Riddle, C. 2020. Towards an improved methodology for modelling climate change impacts on cropping systems in cool climates. Science of the Total Environment, 728:138845.

St. Luce, M., Lemke, R., Gan, Y., McConkey, B., May, W., Campbell, C., Zentner, R., Wang, H., Kroebel, R., Fernandez, M., and Brandt, K. 2019. Diversifying cropping systems enhances productivity, stability and nitrogen use efficiency. Agronomy Journal, 112: 1517-1536.

Wood, S., Seguin, P., Tremblay, G.F., Belanger, G., Lajeunesse, J., Martel, H., Berthiaume, R., St. Luce, M., and Claessens, A. 2019. Predicting pre-harvest forage nutritive value of spring and summer growth of alfalfa-grass mixtures. Agronomy Journal, 111: 3172-3181.

Manirakiza, E., Ziadi, N., St. Luce, M., Hamel, C., Antoun, H., and Karam, A. 2019. Nitrogen mineralization and microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen in response to co-application of biochar and paper mill biosolids. Applied Soil Ecology, 142: 90-98.

Fernandez, M.R., Zentner, R.P., Schellenberg, M.P., Aladenola, O., Leeson, J.Y., St. Luce, M., McConkey, B.G., and Cutforth, H. 2019. Soil fertility and quality response to reduced tillage and diversified cropping under organic management. Agronomy Journal, 111: 793-804.

Fernandez, M.R., Zentner, R.P., Schellenberg, M.P., Leeson, J.Y., Aladenola, O., McConkey, B.G., and St. Luce, M. 2019. Grain yield and quality of organic crops grown under reduced tillage and diversified sequences. Agronomy Journal, 111: 781-792.

Alotaibi, K.D., Cambouris, A.N., St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., and Tremblay, N. 2018. Economic optimum nitrogen fertilizer rate and residual soil nitrate as influenced by soil texture in corn production. Agronomy Journal, 110: 2233-2242.

St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Gagnon, B., and Lévesque, V. 2018. Prediction of total carbon, total nitrogen and pH of organic materials using visible near infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 98: 175-179.

Maillard, É., McConkey, B.G., St. Luce, M., Angers, D.A, and Fan, J. 2018. Crop rotation, tillage systems, and precipitation regime effects on soil carbon stocks over 1 to 30 years in Saskatchewan, Canada. Soil and Tillage Research, 177: 97-104.

Khakbazan, M., Grant, C.A., Huang, J., Zhong, C., Smith, E.G., O’Donovan, J.T., Mohr, R.M., Blackshaw, R.E., Harker, K.N., Lafond, G.P., Johnson, E.N., May, W.E., Turkington, T.K., Gan, Y., Lupwayi, N.Z., and St. Luce, M. 2018. Economic impact of residual nitrogen and preceding crops on wheat and canola. Agronomy Journal, 110: 1-10.

St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Gagnon, B., and Karam, A. 2017. Visible near infrared reflectance spectroscopy prediction of soil heavy metal concentrations in paper mill biosolid- and liming by-products-amended agricultural soils. Geoderma, 288: 23-36.

St. Luce, M., Gouveia, G.G., and Eudoxie, G.D. 2017. Comparative effects of food processing liquid slurry and inorganic fertilizers on tanner grass (Brachiaria arrecta) pasture:  Grass yield, CP and P levels, and residual soil N and P. Grass and Forage Science, 72: 401-413.

Cambouris, A.N., Ziadi, N., Perron, I., Alotaibi, K.D., St. Luce, M., and Tremblay, N. 2016. Corn yield components response to nitrogen fertilizer as a function of soil texture. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 96: 386-399.

Grant, C.A., O’Donovan, J.T., Blackshaw, R.E., Harker, K.N., Johnson, E.N., Gan, Y., Lafond, G.P., May, W.E., Turkington, T.K., Lupwayi, N.Z., McLaren, D.L., Zebarth, B.J., Khakbazan, M.,  St. Luce, M., and Ramnarine, R. 2016. Residual effects of preceding crops and nitrogen fertilizer on yield and crop and soil N dynamics of spring wheat and canola in varying environments on the Canadian prairies. Field Crops Research, 192: 86-102.

St. Luce, M., Grant, C.A., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., O’Donovan, J.T., Blackshaw, R.E., Harker, K.N., Johnson, E.N., Gan, Y., Lafond, G.P., May, W.E., Malhi, S.S., Turkington, T.K., Lupwayi, N.Z., and McLaren, D.L. 2016. Preceding crops and nitrogen fertilization influence soil nitrogen cycling in no-till canola and wheat cropping systems. Field Crops Research, 191: 20-32.

Cambouris, A.N., St. Luce, M., Zebarth, B.J., Ziadi, N., Grant, C.A., and Perron, I. 2016. Potato response to nitrogen sources and rates in an irrigated sandy soil. Agronomy Journal, 108: 391-401.

St. Luce, M., Whalen, J.K., Ziadi, N., and Zebarth, B.J. 2016. Net nitrogen mineralization enhanced with the addition of nitrogen-rich particulate organic matter. Geoderma, 262: 112-118.

St. Luce, M., Grant, C.A., Zebarth, B.J., Ziadi, N., O’Donovan, J.T., Blackshaw, R.E., Harker, K.N., Johnson, E.N., Gan, Y., Lafond, G.P., May, W.E., Khakbazan, M., and Smith, E.G. 2015. Legumes can reduce economic optimum nitrogen rates and increase yields in a wheat-canola cropping sequence in western Canada. Field Crops Research, 179: 12-25.

Cambouris, A.N., St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., and Zebarth, B.J. 2014. Soil- and plant-based indices in potato production in response to polymer-coated urea. Agronomy Journal, 106: 2125-2136.

St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., Grant, C.A., Tremblay, G.F., and Gregorich, E.G. 2014. Rapid determination of soil organic matter quality indicators using visible near infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Geoderma, 232-234:449-458.

St. Luce, M., Whalen, J.K., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., and Chantigny, M.H. 2014. Labile organic nitrogen transformations in clay and sandy-loam soils amended with 15N-labelled faba bean and wheat residues. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 68:208-218.

St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., Whalen, J.K., Grant, C.A., Gregorich, E.G., Lafond, G. P., Blackshaw, R.E., Johnson, E.N., O’Donovan, J.T., and Harker, K.N. 2013. Particulate organic matter and soil mineral nitrogen concentrations are good predictors of the soil nitrogen supply to canola following legume and non-legume crops in western Canada. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 93:607-620.

St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Nyiraneza, J., Tremblay G.F., Zebarth, B.J., Whalen, J.K., and Laterrière, M. 2012. Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy prediction of soil nitrogen supply in humid temperate regions of Canada. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 76:1454-1461.

St. Luce, M., Whalen, J.K., Ziadi, N., and Zebarth, B.J. 2011. Nitrogen dynamics and indices to predict soil nitrogen supply in humid temperate soils. Advances in Agronomy, 112:55-102.

Professional activities / interests

  • Scientific research
  • Associate Editor, Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 2020-2022; 2023-2025
  • Associate Editor, Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 2023-2025
  • Member, AAFC Strategic Plan for Science Advisory Committtee, 2021
  • Chair, Gary "Pete" Peterson Dryland Soil Management Scholarship Committee, Soil Science Society of America, 2023

Education and awards

  • B.Sc. (Hons.) General Agriculture, The University of the West Indies, 2003
  • M.Phil. Soil Science, The University of the West Indies, 2010
  • Ph.D. Soil Science, McGill University, 2013
  • 2017 Outstanding Reviewer, Canadian Journal of Soil Science
  • 2016 Outstanding Reviewer, Canadian Journal of Soil Science

 

International experience and/or work

  • Research Assistant, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, 2003-2004; 2007-2010
  • Officer-in-Charge, Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, August 2009 - January 2010

Key publications

  1. St. Luce, M., Grant, C.A., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., O'Donovan, J.T., Blackshaw, R.E., Harker, K.N., Johnson, E.N., Gan, Y., Lafond, G.P., May, W.E., Malhi, S.S., Turkington, T.K., Lupwayi, N.Z., McLaren, D.L. (2016). Preceding crops and nitrogen fertilization influence soil nitrogen cycling in no-till canola and wheat cropping systems. Field Crops Research, [online] 191 20-32. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2016.02.014

    2016 - View publication details

  2. St. Luce, M., Whalen, J.K., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J. (2016). Net nitrogen mineralization enhanced with the addition of nitrogen-rich particulate organic matter. Geoderma, [online] 262 112-118. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2015.08.017

    2016 - View publication details

  3. Cambouris, A.N., St. Luce, M., Zebarth, B.J., Ziadi, N., Grant, C.A., Perron, I. (2016). Potato response to nitrogen sources and rates in an irrigated sandy soil. Agronomy Journal, [online] 108(1), 391-401. http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/agronj2015.0351

    2016 - View publication details

  4. St. Luce, M., Grant, C.A., Zebarth, B.J., Ziadi, N., O'Donovan, J.T., Blackshaw, R.E., Harker, K.N., Johnson, E.N., Gan, Y., Lafond, G.P., May, W.E., Khakbazan, M., Smith, E.G. (2015). Legumes can reduce economic optimum nitrogen rates and increase yields in a wheat-canola cropping sequence in western canada. Field Crops Research, [online] 179 12-25. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fcr.2015.04.003

    2015 - View publication details

  5. Cambouris, A.N., St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J. (2014). Soil– and plant-based indices in potato production in response to polymer–coated urea. Agronomy Journal, [online] 106(6), 2125-2136. http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/agronj14.0041

    2014 - View publication details

  6. St. Luce, M., Whalen, J.K., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., Chantigny, M.H. (2014). Labile organic nitrogen transformations in clay and sandy-loam soils amended with 15N-labelled faba bean and wheat residues. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, [online] 68 208-218. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2013.09.033

    2014 - View publication details

  7. St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., Grant, C.A., Tremblay, G.F., Gregorich, E.G. (2014). Rapid determination of soil organic matter quality indicators using visible near infrared reflectance spectroscopy. Geoderma, [online] 232-234 449-458. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2014.05.023

    2014 - View publication details

  8. St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., Whalen, J.K., Grant, C.A., Gregorich, E.G., Lafond, G.P., Blackshaw, R.E., Johnson, E.N., O'Donovan, J.T., Harker, K.N. (2013). Particulate organic matter and soil mineral nitrogen concentrations are good predictors of the soil nitrogen supply to canola following legume and non-legume crops in western Canada. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, [online] 93(5), 607-620. http://dx.doi.org/10.4141/CJSS2013-005

    2013 - View publication details

  9. St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Nyiraneza, J., Tremblay, G.F., Zebarth, B.J., Whalen, J.K., Laterrière, M. (2012). Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy prediction of soil nitrogen supply in humid temperate regions of Canada. Soil Science Society of America Journal, [online] 76(4), 1454-1461. http://dx.doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2011.0443

    2012 - View publication details

Research facility

1 Airport Road
Swift Current, SK S9H 3X2
Canada

Affiliations

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan
  • Member, Canadian Society of Agronomy
  • Member, Canadian Society of Soil Science
  • Member, Soil Science Society of America
  • Member, American Society of Agronomy

Language

English