Picture of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Melissa  Arcand

Melissa Arcand Assistant Professor

5E78 - Agriculture Building

Research Area(s)

  • Biogeochemical cycling
  • Nutrient stewardship
  • Soil organic matter
  • Soil biodiversity

Brief Biography

Melissa Arcand is a soil biogeochemist with research interests focused on optimizing plant-soil synergies for the design of nutrient and energy efficient cropping systems. She received received her PhD in Soil Science from the University of Saskatchewan and conducted her post-doctoral research with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Melissa grew up on a farm on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in central Saskatchewan. She teaches and is the academic advisor for students in the Kanawayihetaytan Askiy program, designed to train students to work in resource management and land governance in Indigenous communities across Canada.


Soil Science

Research Interests

Dr. Arcand’s research program focuses on investigating how root form affects soil biogeochemical function and the ultimate fate of root-derived inputs within and through soils in agricultural and natural ecosystems. She takes a plant trait-based approach to identify the mechanisms by which roots interact with the soil environment to influence plant productivity and soil processes important to global climate, such as the cycling of nitrogen and carbon and formation of soil organic matter. Her lab uses use a combination of stable isotope labelling of plants and techniques in soil microbiology and biochemistry to examine the microbial processing and fate of plant-derived inputs including root detritus and exudates through soil systems. An understanding of these mechanisms will inform the design of agricultural cropping systems that enhance soil resource use efficiency.

Areas of specialization

  • Rhizosphere
  • nutrient cycling
  • soil ecology


  • BSc Environmental Science, University of Guelph
  • MSc Land Resource Science, University of Guelph
  • PhD Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan

Selected Recent Publications

Arcand M.M., D.J. Levy-Booth, and B.L. Helgason. 2017. Resource Legacies of Organic and Conventional Management Differentiate Soil Microbial Carbon Use. Frontiers in Microbiology.  doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.02293

Arcand M.M., B.L. Helgason, and R.L. Lemke. 2016. Microbial crop residue decomposition dynamics in organic and conventionally managed soils. Applied Soil Ecology 107: 347–359.

Arcand, M.M., J.D. Knight, and R.E. Farrell. 2014. Differentiating between the supply of N to wheat from above and belowground residues of preceding crops of pea and canola. Biology and Fertility of Soils 50: 563-570.

Arcand, M.M., R. Lemke, J.D. Knight, and R.E. Farrell. 2014. Nitrogen supply from belowground residues of lentil and wheat to a subsequent wheat crop. Biology and Fertility of Soils 50: 507-515.

Arcand, M.M., J.D. Knight, and R.E. Farrell. 2013. Temporal dynamics of nitrogen rhizodeposition by pea as determined by 15N labeling. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 93: 941-950.

Arcand, M.M., J.D. Knight, and R.E. Farrell. 2013. Estimating belowground nitrogen inputs of pea and canola and their contribution to soil inorganic N pools using 15N labeling. Plant and Soil 371: 67-80.

Leinweber, P., J. Kruse, C. Baum, M. Arcand, J.D. Knight, R. Farrell, K.-U. Eckhardt, K. Kiersch, and G. Jandl. 2013. Advances in understanding organic nitrogen chemistry in soils using state-of-the-art analytical techniques, In: D. L. Sparks, editor, Advances in Agronomy, Academic Press. pp. 83-151.

Funding Sources

  • NSERC Discovery Grant
  • NSERC Strategic Project Grant
  • Agricultural Development Fund, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
  • Canada First Research Excellence Research Excellence Fund


  • AGRC 111.3 Sustainable Soil and Plant Management
  • ASKI 101.3 Field Studies in the Environment
  • SLSC 816.3 Soil Organic Matters