G.W. Leeper Memorial Lecture

2022 G.W. Leeper Lecture

Presented by Associate Professor Vanessa Wong

‘Why are wet soils in wetlands so different?’

 25 November 2022, 6pm

We invite you to join us for the annual GW Leeper Lecture public lecture – “Why are wet soils in wetlands so different?” on Friday 25 November at 6.00 pm.

Join Associate Professor Vanessa Wong, a renowned soil scientist for a fascinating, interactive discussion about how wetland soils are affected by land management activities, environmental change, & the effects of rising sea levels.


Wetlands are important ecosystems, hosting critical habitats and diverse species. The soils which support these ecosystems are highly dynamic environments, acting as sinks for carbon, and playing a critical role in the cycling of greenhouse gases, nutrients, and biogeochemical processes at the intersection of both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Hosting the event is Professor John Fazakerley, the Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, who will moderate a live Q&A session following the talk.

This year the event will be hybrid with guests invited to either join the online broadcast or in person for the lecture followed by social drinks at our Parkville campus.

Register now to secure your place.

GW Leeper Lecture 2022

We are thrilled to welcome Associate Professor Vanessa Wong, School of Earth, Atmosphere, and Environment at Monash University, as our featured speaker at the 2022 GW Memorial Leeper Lecture – an annual event celebrating the life and work of soil scientist Geoffrey Leeper, that has been presented by Soil Science Australia and the University of Melbourne since 1992. The lecture is also part of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences 2022 Dean’s Lecture series. 


Associate Professor Vanessa Wong

Associate Professor Vanessa Wong is a soil scientist in the School of Earth, Atmosphere, and Environment at Monash University. She is an interdisciplinary soil scientist with the core focus of her research in soil chemistry. She works in both agricultural environments, assessing the effects of land degradation such as salinity, sodicity, and acidity, and potential remediation options, and in natural environments, seeking to understand how humans and environmental change affect biogeochemical cycling in wetlands and conservation areas.

Vanessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Land Degradation and Development and an Associate Editor of Wetlands. She is the Federal President of Soil Science Australia, Vice-Chair of the International Union of Soil Science’s Acid Sulfate Soil Working Group, Faculty member of Homeward Bound, a global leadership program for Women in STEM, member of the Policy Committee of Science and Technology Australia, and former Chair of the Australian Academy of Science’s Early and Mid-Career Researcher Forum Executive Committee.


Enquiries: FVAS-events@unimelb.edu.au

Past Leeper Lectures

2017 Professor Tony O’Donnell, Pro Vice Chancellor, Executive Dean of Science, University of Western Australia presented the Leeper Lecture ‘We do things differently in the West.

2014 Prof Heike Knicker presented the Leeper Lecture ‘Soils in fire-prone ecosystems – Where does all the charcoal go?’

2013 Professor Paul Bertsch, Chief of CSIRO Land and Water. Big challenges surrounding the tiny: Fate, transport, bioavailability and toxicity of engineered nanomaterials in soil and terrestrial ecosystems.

2012 Professor John Crawford, Univesity of Sydney. Soil and sustainable food. Synopsis

2011 Dr Neil McKenzie, Chief of CSIRO Land and Water. Soil knowledge and water resource planning and management.

2010 Iain Young, Professor, University of New England. The biophysics of life on Earth. Synopsis

2009 Robert Fitzpatrick, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO, South Australia. Soil science and the role of pedotechnology in solving forensic, water quality, polluted soils, mineral exploration and engineering problems. Synopsis

2008 Pichu Rengasamy, Senior Research Fellow, The University of Adelaide, Waite. Innovative strategies to tackle multiple soil constraints to agricultural productivity. Synopsis

2007 Lynette Abbott, Vice-Dean/Winthrop Professor, The University of Western Australia, Australia. Organic agriculture: a model for understanding soil fertility. Synopsis

2006 Tom Denmead, Fellow, CSIRO, Black Mountain, ACT. Agriculture and greenhouse. Presentation slides

2004 Johan Bouma, Emeritus Professor, Wageningen University and Research Center, The Netherlands. Learning from the past when facing the future of soil science. Synopsis

2003 Robert White, Professor, Institute of Land and Food Resources, The University of Melbourne. What has soil got to do with water? Synopsis

2002 John Williams, Chief, CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra, ACT. Farming without harming – a challenge for soil science. Synopsis

2001 Bob Gilkes, Professor, Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia. The problems of old age: managing soils on our ancient continent.

2000 Alex McBratney, Professor, Department of Soil Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales. The classification of soil. Synopsis

1999 Peter Attiwill, Associate Professor and Reader, School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria. Forest soils: cycles, sustainability and sequestration. Synopsis

1998 Jim Barrow, Post-Retirement Fellow, CSIRO Forests and Forest Products, Wembley, Western Australia. The four laws of soil chemistry.

1997 Sally Smith, Professor, Department of Soil Science, Waite Campus, The University of Adelaide, Glen Osmond, South Australia.Mycorrhizas at the soil-plant interface.

1996 Calvin Rose, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland. Soil erosion and conservation: concepts and results from ACIAR project experience.

1995 John Passioura, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Plant Industry, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. Roots, soil, and water.

1994 Nick Uren, Associate Professor and Reader in Soil Science, School of Agriculture, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria. Soil science – a sense of history.

1993 Albert Rovira, Director, Cooperative Research Centre for Soil and Land Management, Glen Osmond, South Australia. Sustainable farming – fact or fiction?

1992 Malcolm Sumner, Regent’s Professor, The University of Georgia, USA. Global soil d

Soil Science Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land and we pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future.