Postgraduate Profiles

Mary-Anne Lowe

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Thesis: Soil water repellency: Limitations on water infiltration and its spatial distribution attribuing to loss of agricultural productivity.

This research will aim to gain better understanding into water flow on water repellent soils, its effect on spatial distribution of water and its effect on agriculture. To understand the different aspects of soil water repellence I will look at erosion patterns, distribution of water repellence and the breakdown of water repellence with microbial interaction. I will be using technologies not common in this field to gain information non-destructively over time.

Why my research is important

Soil water repellence is a naturally occurring limitation on water infiltration into soils. It impacts on multiple landuses around the world, in WA it affects a large amount of natural ecosystems as well as millions a profit forfeit of over $250M annually.

Outcomes of this research is the extension of current knowledge in the area of soil water repellence. Novel approaches are needed to better understand the phenomenon of SWR and to assess current and future amelioration techniques. The approach of using non-invasive tools and laboratory simulated plots to measure the impact of water repellence and increases in infiltration with amelioration techniques is new within this field. This will (potentially) lead to increased crop production on current farm land, increase viability of the Australian farming sector and help feed the growing world population.

Funding

collecting soil

Mar 2015

Mar 2018