Drought DroughtSpotter soil wetting drying LED

Drought effects on soil bugs

Olivia Cousins is a PhD student jointly supervised by Professor Sacha Mooney at the University of Nottingham and Dr Tim Cavagnaro at the University of Adelaide.

As part of her research in Australia, Olivia is carrying out an experiment at The Plant Accelerator® to investigate the effects of soil wetting and drying on soil nitrogen pools and soil biota, and their influence on the growth of wheat plants. Understanding these processes will help improve nitrogen use efficiency thus helping farmers reduce their costs and relieve the environmental impact of fertiliser application.

Olivia’s experiment utilises the DroughtSpotter, a precision irrigation platform allowing accurate and reproducible water application for drought stress or related experiments. Olivia is also using the facility’s PlantEye laser scanner to non-destructively measure plant growth.

The DroughtSpotter platform was recently enhanced by the addition of supplemental LED lighting, which boosts growth and removes some of the spatial variation in lighting inherent in most greenhouses. The facility is available to all researchers and/or industry. For bookings please contact Dr Trevor Garnett.

DS GH with LEDs and sensors Olivia2

PhD student Olivia Cousins in the DroughtSpotter facility of The Plant Accelerator®