"Hi I am Jade; I am currently completing a BSc Majoring in Plant Science at Lincoln University. For my Summer Internship I am working with the “Production Footprint Team”. My project is embedded in an on-going project on water-repellent soils. The hypothesis is that water-repellent organic substances are washed out of repellent soil and need to be replenished for the soil to re-develop water repellency.
To test this hypothesis, we excavated intact soil slabs (one is shown in the picture above) from pasture under Pumice Soil in the Lake Taupo catchment, which will be used for conducting runoff experiments. I measure runoff volumes, dissolved organic carbon in runoff, and analyse runoff flow patterns. After drying back the slab, I will measure how repellent the surface of the slab is, and then repeat the runoff experiment. I am also writing an up-to-date literature review to get an overview on the current understandings of the subject and to identify knowledge gaps.
There is seemingly no one answer for what causes water-repellency. It affects all types of soils, at different depths, in all sorts of climates, and natural and manmade ecosystems.
My project will add knowledge to our understanding of water-repellency, which will help shape the way we farm in future generations. It will help us to farm in new areas, increase crop and pasture yields, and also help decrease the environmental footprint by reducing runoff and preferential flow of agrichemicals.
It is very exciting to be working on a topic that is still in its frontier stages, and with such an awesome team of scientists."