Adam Gillespie

Headshot of Adam Gillespie
Assistant Professor
Phone number: 
519-824-4120 x52075
ALEX 225


B.Sc. (University of Guelph), M.Sc. (University of Saskatchewan), Ph.D. (University of Saskatchewan)


My research focuses on soil organic matter and soil health. Soil organic matter is widely recognized as an integral part of sustainable agriculture, soil health and ecosystem resilience. It is critical for soil function, providing a source of nutrients, substrates and energy for the microbial population.  My research program is one which examines land use and ecosystem influences on soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics and their relationship with soil fertility and carbon cycling in both the lab and field settings. I believe very strongly in the need to translate innovative research into practice. I am eager to take on graduate students and form a core, collaborative research team.


Hestrin, R., Torres-Rojas, D., Dynes, J. J., Hook, J. M., Regier, T. Z., Gillespie, A. W., Smernik, R. J., Lehmann, J. (2019). Fire-derived organic matter retains ammonia through covalent bond formation. Nature communications, 10(1), 664. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-08401-z

Osei, A.K., Kimaro, A.A., Peak, D., Gillespie, A.W., and Van Rees, K.C.J. (2018) Soil carbon stocks in planted woodlots and Ngitili systems in Shinyanga, Tanzania. Agroforestry Systems, 92: 251-261.

Dhillon, G.S.,Gillespie, A.W., Peak, D., and Van Rees, K.C.J. (2017) Spectroscopic investigation of soil organic carbon composition under shelterbelt agroforestry systems. Geoderma, 298:1-13.

Adams, A.M., Gillespie, A.W., Kar, G., Koala, S., Ouattara, B., Kimaro, A.A., Bationo, A., Akponikpe, P.B.I., Schoenau, J.J., Peak, D. (2016) Long term effects of reduced fertilizer rates on millet yields and soil properties in the West-African Sahel . Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems, 106:17-29.

Diochon, A., A.W. Gillespie, B.H. Ellert, H.H. Janzen, E.G. Gregorich. (2016) Recovery of decomposing plant residue in soil: An evaluation of three fractionation methods based on size and density. Eur. J. Soil Sci. 67:196-205. DOI: 10.1111/ejss.12316

Gregorich, E.G., Gillespie, A.W., Beare, M.H., Curtin, D., Sanei, H., Yanni, S. (2015) Evaluating biodegradability of soil organic matter by its thermal stability and chemical composition. Soil Biol. Biochem, 91:182-191.

Gillespie, A.W., Phillips, C.L., Regier, T.Z., Dynes, J.J., Boyko, T., Chevrier, D., Peak, D. (2015) Advances in soft X-ray spectroscopy of biogeochemically relevant samples. Advances in Agronomy, 133:1-32.

Gillespie, A.W., H. Sanei, A. Diochon, B.H. Ellert, T.Z. Regier, D. Chevrier, J.J. Dynes, C. Tarnocai, and E.G. Gregorich. 2014. Perennially and annually frozen soil carbon differ in their susceptibility to decomposition: Analysis of Subarctic earth hummocks by bioassay, XANES and pyrolysis. Soil Biol. Biochem. 68:106-116.

Gillespie, A.W., A. Diochon, B.L. Ma, M.J. Morrison, L. Kellman, F.L. Walley, T.Z. Regier, D. Chevrier, J.J. Dynes, E.G. Gregorich. 2014. Nitrogen input quality changes the biochemical composition of soil organic matter stabilized in the fine fraction - a long-term study. Biogeochemistry. 117:337-350.

Walley, F.L. , A.W. Gillespie, A.B. Adetone, J.J. Germida, R.E. Farrell. 2014. Manipulation of rhizosphere organisms to enhance glomalin production and C-sequestration: Pitfalls and promises. Can J Plant Sci. 94:1025-1032

Gillespie, A.W., F.L. Walley, R.E. Farrell, P. Leinweber, K.U. Eckhardt, T.Z. Regier, and R.I.R. Blyth. 2011. XANES and pyrolysis-FIMS evidence of organic matter composition in a hummocky landscape. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 75: 1741-1755.

Gillespie, A.W., R.E. Farrell, F.L. Walley, A.R.A. Ross, P. Leinweber, K.U. Eckhardt, T.Z. Regier, and R.I.R. Blyth. 2011. Glomalin-related soil protein contains non-mycorrhizal-related heat-stable proteins, thioredoxin, lipids and humic materials. Soil Biol. Biochem. 43:766-777.

Gillespie, A.W., F.L. Walley, R.E. Farrell, P. Leinweber, A. Schlichting, K.U. Eckhardt, T.Z. Regier, and R.I.R. Blyth. 2009. Profiling rhizosphere chemistry: Evidence from N and C K-edge XANES and Py-FIMS. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 73: 2002-2012.

Gillespie, A.W., F.L. Walley, R.E. Farrell, T.Z. Regier, and R.I.R. Blyth. 2008. Calibration method at the N K-edge using interstitial nitrogen gas in solid-state nitrogen-containing inorganic compounds. J. Synch. Rad. 15:532-534

Leinweber, P., J. Kruse, F.L.Walley, A. Gillespie, K.U. Eckhardt, R.I.R. Blyth, and T. Regier. 2007. Nitrogen Kedge XANES - An overview of reference compounds used to identify ‘unknown’ organic nitrogen in environmental samples. J. Synch. Rad. 14:500-511.

Research Area

soil biochemistry, organic matter chemistry, soil health, carbon modelling, environmental spectroscopy, digital soil mapping

Area of Research

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences