PhD Student Profile

Hanlu Zhang

University of Southern Queensland

My PhD study aims to investigate the impact of cover crop on soil water, yield, and explore mechanisms and trade-offs between the changes in soil water, soil organic carbon and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi population that affect soil health and productivity. I will apply ground-truthed cropping system modelling to improve our understanding in plant-soil-water-microbe interactions to enhance performance of Australian soil systems.

PhD Title: “Soil-moisture profile dynamics affected by cover crop: Effect of changes in soil biology and structure.”

PhD start date: February 2020

Supervisors: Prof. Gavin Ash, Dr. Craig Lobsey, Assoc Prof. David Freebairn.

What interested you about this sort of research?
I have always been interested in environmental and agricultural science and I believe soil science is the bridging connection that allows me to understand this area of science in a broader way. It will help me develop the skillsets for system analysis.

What do you love about your PhD?
Through my PhD journey, I work with a diverse community from researchers to farmers. This PhD has also given me great learning opportunities to explore a fascinating cross-disciplinary topic by working on interactions between plants, soils, water, and microbes. It assists me in developing skills on system analysis and advanced bio-physical modelling for high performance soil.

How will your PhD help to make a difference for farmers?
The output of this PhD study will provide farmers with scientific insights into improved soil and water management via cover crop incorporation. This will support to sustain and improve cropping system’s productivity and profitability.

Visit my LinkedIn profile