The UWA Institute of Agriculture

Crop Root & Rhizosphere

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Program Leaders


This program enhances the sustainability of farming systems through leadership in managing land and water resources in agricultural and natural systems.


Our program members have a broad range of expertise in sciences (soil chemistry, soil physics, geology, mineralogy, microbiology, crop physiology) combined with the knowledge and capacity in modelling the water cycle from rainfall patterns to crop uptake and evapotranspiration.

Their areas of expertise include:

  • water percolation into soil profile
  • transport of water and solutes in the soil-water-crop continuum
  • surface chemistry and biology (soil particle and root surfaces)
  • pesticide leaching and soil erosion.

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The basic challenge of sustaining yields and profitability in farming systems is inextricably linked to the integrated management of land and water, particularly in times of decreasing rainfall and frequent severe water scarcity linked to the drying climate.

An additional challenge is escalating climate variability that increases uncertainty for management and for yield prediction.

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New science and technology

Our research is underpinned by state-of-the-art analytical capabilities to characterise chemical, physical and biological properties of land and water.

Recent examples of new technology produced include a risk-assessment tool for predicting pesticide leaching, a set of soil quality indicators, methods for fractionation of organic matter and monitoring of greenhouse gasses for model parameter validation.

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Postgraduate students who research in this program are:

Graduated students