Richard Muirhead is a microbiologist in the Land & Environment group based on the Invermay campus near Mosgiel. Richard has a BSc from Canterbury University, a MSc (First Class Honors) from Waikato University and a PhD from Otago University.
His key interest is in how faecal microorganisms from farm animals contaminate water. This can represent a significant risk to public health via drinking water or recreational activities. Our current understanding of faecal microbial losses from farms is weak compared to our knowledge of nutrient flow and losses from farms, so an important role is the development of modeling frameworks that synthesize our current knowledge to quantify the effectiveness of mitigation options. These modeling frameworks are particularly helpful for integrating microbial mitigation measures with mitigations targeting other environmental contaminants, providing a whole-farm approach to managing environmental impacts. For many on-farm mitigations, it is not just a matter of what farmers do, but also a matter of when.
Richard has an interest in the development of tools and technologies to aid on-farm decision making processes to increase the environmental performance of farms.
Muirhead, R.W. and R.P. Littlejohn (2009). Die-off of Escherichia coli in intact and disrupted cowpats. Soil Use and Management 25: 389-394.
Muirhead, R.W. (2009). Soil and faecal material reservoirs in a grazed pasture. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 52: 1-8.
Monaghan, R.M., de Klein, C.A.M. and Muirhead, R.W. (2008). Prioritisation of farm scale remediation efforts for reducing losses of nutrients and faecal indicator organisms to waterways: A case study of New Zealand dairy farming. Journal of Environmental Management 87: 609-622.
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