Steve A. Wakelin



Dr Wakelin is an environmental microbiologist specializing in Forest Genomics and Ecosystem Functions.  He leads an MBIE Endeavour Programme "The Tree Microbiome Project: at the root of climate proofing forests" aimed at utilising the Pinus radiata root microbiome as a model-tree system to protect planted and natural forests from the impacts of climate breakdown. He is co-leader of Pou 3 "Designing Resilient Ecosystems" within Bioprotection Aotearoa, a Centre of Research Excellence.


  • PhD (Plant Pathology), Lincoln University, New Zealand -2001
  • MSc (1st Class Hons) (Microbiology), University of Canterbury, New Zealand -1998
  • BSc (Microbiology), University of Canterbury, New Zealand -1995

Research capabilities

  • Ecological genomics
  • Molecular microbiology
  • Microbial ecology
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Soil-plant-microbe interactions
  • Ecosystem function and stability

Career highlights

  • 2020 – Roger Newmann Award (Scion) - Excellence in Science
  • 2019 – Publication Success Award (Scion) - Publication Excellence
  • 2013 – CSIRO CESRE Divisional Award winner for Science/Research Excellence
  • 2006 – CSIRO Julius Career Award to outstanding early career scientists

Selected papers

Wakelin, S.A., Forrester, S.T., Condron, L.M., O’callaghan, M., Clinton, P., McDougal, R.L., Davis, M., Smaill, S.J., Addison, S.  (2021) Protecting the unseen majority: Land cover and environmental factors linked with soil bacterial communities and functions in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology, 45 (1), art. no. 3422, pp. 1-12.

Waller, L.P., Allen, W.J., Barratt, B.I.P., Barratt, B.I.P., Condron, L.M., França, F.M., França, F.M., Hunt, J.E., Koele, N., Orwin, K.H., Steel, G.S., Tylianakis, J.M., Wakelin, S.A., Dickie, I.A. (2020) Biotic interactions drive ecosystem responses to exotic plant invaders. Science, 368 (6494), pp. 967-972.

Addison, S.L., Smaill, S.J., Garrett, L.G., Wakelin, S.A. (2019) Effects of forest harvest and fertiliser amendment on soil biodiversity and function can persist for decades. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 135, pp. 194-205.

Coker, G., Richard, M., Bayne, K., Smaill, S., Garrett, L., Matson, A., Wakelin, S. (2019) Stakeholder valuation of soil ecosystem services from New Zealand’s planted forests. PLoS ONE, 14 (8), art. no. e0221291, .

Wu, L., Ning, D., Zhang, B., Li, Y., Zhang, P., Shan, X., Zhang, Q., Brown, M., Li, Z., Van Nostrand, J.D., Ling, F., Xiao, N., Zhang, Y., Vierheilig, J., Wells, G.F., Yang, Y., Deng, Y., Tu, Q., Wang, A., Zhang, T., He, Z., Keller, J., Nielsen, P.H., Alvarez, P.J.J., Criddle, C.S., Wagner, M., Tiedje, J.M., He, Q., Curtis, T.P., Stahl, D.A., Alvarez-Cohen, L., Rittmann, B.E., Wen, X., Zhou, J., Acevedo, D., Agullo-Barcelo, M., Andersen, G.L., de Araujo, J.C., Boehnke, K., Bond, P., Bott, C.B., Bovio, P., Brewster, R.K., Bux, F., Cabezas, A., Cabrol, L., Chen, S., Etchebehere, C., Ford, A., Frigon, D., Gómez, J.S., Griffin, J.S., Gu, A.Z., Habagil, M., Hale, L., Hardeman, S.D., Harmon, M., Horn, H., Hu, Z., Jauffur, S., Johnson, D.R., Keucken, A., Kumari, S., Leal, C.D., Lebrun, L.A., Lee, J., Lee, M., Lee, Z.M.P., Li, M., Li, X., Liu, Y., Luthy, R.G., Mendonça-Hagler, L.C., de Menezes, F.G.R., Meyers, A.J., Mohebbi, A., Oehmen, A., Palmer, A., Parameswaran, P., Park, J., Patsch, D., Reginatto, V., de los Reyes, F.L., III, Noyola, A., Rossetti, S., Sidhu, J., Sloan, W.T., Smith, K., de Sousa, O.V., Stephens, K., Tian, R., Tooker, N.B., De los Cobos Vasconcelos, D., Wakelin, S., Wang, B., Weaver, J.E., West, S., Wilmes, P., Woo, S.-G., Wu, J.-H., Wu, L., Xi, C., Xu, M., Yan, T., Yang, M., Young, M., Yue, H., Zhang, Q., Zhang, W., Zhang, Y., Zhou, H., Global Water Microbiome Consortium (2019) Global diversity and biogeography of bacterial communities in wastewater treatment plants.  Nature Microbiology, 4 (7), pp. 1183-1195.

Chen, X.D., Dunfield, K.E., Fraser, T.D., Wakelin, S.A., Richardson, A.E., Condron, L.M. (2019) Soil biodiversity and biogeochemical function in managed ecosystems. Soil Research, 58 (1), pp. 1-20.