SAM Programme funded students

Setya Drana

Setya Drana:is undertaking PhD research at the Victoria University of Wellington. The PhD research aims to develop a novel, simplified, computationally efficient groundwater component as well as flow and transport processes representation in the context of watershed hydrology. Emphasis is placed on an attempt to construct a model capable of simulating the spatio-temporal distribution of groundwater quality and transit time distributions with reduced parameterization and cost requirements. In addition, rigorous uncertainty analysis methods are also employed to assess the impact of model simplification to the prediction reliability of modeling results and the magnitude of trade-off between them, as well as to quantify the relative worth of each relevant observation dataset. The developed model is to see a subsequent implementation to the Ruamahanga catchment, where its results are expected to aid in providing a basis for appropriate future environmental management decisions.

Lucas Everitt

Lucas Everitt: Originally from Ohope, in the Bay of Plenty, I am interested in improving catchment scale flow predictions for the purposes of sustainable water management while maintaining rural productivity. My Master’s research at Victoria University looks at how catchment-scale groundwater inclusive models perform with respect to measured flow in the Ruamahanga catchment. Initial work has focussed on estimating base flow (groundwater) contribution to streams from discrete streamflow data using recursive digital filters. This independent derivation of base flow will work as a comparison to flow estimates produced by models. The comparison of predictions against real world data ensures precision and accuracy within the model and can identify components that need further development. This MSc is funded by the SAM Programme, and aligned with the Ruamahanga Case Study.

Sephrah Rayner

Sephrah Rayner: I am a Soil Science PhD student at Lincoln University.  This project will look at nitrate isotope dynamics within the landscape continuum from the paddock to the river, and attempt to identify the potential for nitrate attenuation. The influence of spatial and temporal factors on nitrogen mobilisation and attenuation will be evaluated with respect to New Zealand systems. I’m identifying attenuation processes coupled directly to flow events and/or key soil physical properties that initiate nitrate leaching. Links will be made to groundwater modellers to take the data forward within a given regional setting. It is envisaged that data will allow the identification of denitrification thresholds for different soil types, allowing potential denitrification activity to be extrapolated across landscape zones when combined with real-time moisture/saturation values of the landscape. The predicted outcomes from this research will enable the key factors influencing temporal and spatial change in nitrate isotopic signatures to be used to predict nitrate attenuation within the landscape. This project is funded by Environment Southland and GNS Science in the SAM Research Programme.

Tess op den Kelder

Tess op den Kelder: Originally from The Netherlands, I am currently undertaking a masters in Hydrology, Hydrogeology, and Water Resources at Stockholm University, Sweden. For my master’s thesis, I will perform a dataworth study to optimise the data collection related to nitrate concentrations in a stream. I will use different types of models to model peak and average nitrate concentrations. It is important to know the average and peak nitrate concentrations in streams, because the presence of nitrate is related to a variety of environmental problems, such as eutrophication which can lead to the death of aquatic animals. With the use of this study it can be determined which types of data related to nitrate concentrations give the most valuable information for the lowest costs of the production of the data. This thesis is funded by the SAM Programme.


Roger Hodson: is undertaking a MSc at Victoria University, Wellington. Roger’s research builds on the application of high frequency, optical measurements of nitrate-nitrogen in Southland rivers. Automated measurement of water quality has illustrated complex and dynamic relationships between concentration of nitrate-nitrogen and flow. It is anticipated that this work will feed into the development of conceptual models for nitrogen transport. Supporting routine and high flow hydro-chemical data sets will be used to identify and classify different flow regimes and transport pathways, and to understand the timing and magnitude of nitrogen transport from different parts of a catchment. The data worth of high frequency data will be assessed in the context of traditional water quality sampling regimes. Conceptual and catchment models of nitrogen transport will be developed and tested for performance and to identify efficient management options for nitrate.

Student projects aligned with the SAM programme
Alicia Taylor

Alicia Taylor: I am a Masters (Physical Geography) student studying at Victoria University of Wellington. My research is focused on how varying quality and resolution of soil, elevation, climate and land cover datasets impacts the accuracy of the decision support tool Land Use Capability Indicator (LUCI). The changing reliability of the LUCI model will be evaluated based on different input datasets, specifically nitrogen, phosphorous and erosion and sediment tools. The results of this project will feed directly into understanding how LUCI predictions can be used in areas that may be data poor, or areas where there is significant uncertainty in the input data. This project is sponsored by scholarships from Ravensdown and Callaghan Innovation, and is aligned with the Ruamahanga Case Study in the SAM Research Programme.

Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers: I am a Masters (Physical Geography) student at Victoria University of Wellington.  My thesis research is focusing on the tools available to manage nutrient losses to waterways in the face of changing regulations. Specifically, I will be applying the LUCI model with a group of six farmers in the Mangatarere Catchment. I aim to evaluate the Land Use Capability Indicator (LUCI) model with feedback from farmers, and explore a range of mitigation scenarios that could be implemented to improve on-farm nutrient management. The results of this project will allow the participants access to the on-farm information LUCI can offer, and will provide important feedback and results that will make the model more valuable to farmers in the future. This project is sponsored by scholarships from Ravensdown and Callaghan Innovation, and is aligned with the Ruamahanga Case Study in the SAM Research Programme.