Dominican Obtains PHD in Soil Science
“It was a long difficult journey, but it was worth it as I achieved my goal.”
These were the words of Dr. Mervin St. Luce of Paix-Bouche who received a PhD in Soil Science from world-renowned McGill University in Canada in April 2013.
Dr. St. Luce is the son of Nathalie Ferrol, Principal of the Savanne Paille Primary School, and Mervin Leonard St. Luce who resides in Guadeloupe.
Dr. St. Luce attended the Paix-Bouche Primary School, Portsmouth Secondary School and Dominica State College (formerly known as the Clifton Dupigny Community College) and also the University of the West Indies (UWI).
While attending the Dominica State College, he developed a keen interest in soil science and therefore decided to work towards that goal.
He was tasked with a research project on nitrogen in soils which was funded by the Sustainable Agricultural Environment Systems (SAGES) of AAFC.
During that time Dr. St. Luce collaborated with many researchers across Canada, notably Dr. Bernie Zebarth, Dr. Cynthia Grant, Dr. Edward Gregorich and Dr. Martin Chantigny of AAFC.
His PhD research improved the understanding of how easily mineralizable soil organic nitrogen fractions are formed, and mineralized by soil microorganisms and the extent to which these fractions contribute to nitrogen availability, his findings will aid in improving nitrogen fertilizer management in agricultural soils.
He said although this is a disadvantage to the country, as in many developed countries agriculture is based on science which includes research and development.
He noted what is used in Dominica, is a system of adopting research that was carried out in other countries which have temperate environments, when we have a tropical environment – as such their techniques may not be suitable for us.
This is very important he said as we promote Dominica as the Nature Isle of the Caribbean.
Dr. St. Luce is looking forward to utilizing his knowledge and experience to make a significant contribution to the development of the agricultural sector in Dominica.