Skip to content

Schools in Science


Research in this group deals broadly with important environments and environmental processes in what is often termed the 'critical zone'. This zone includes all of the surface and near-surface features, including the lower atmosphere, vegetation, soils and porewater, sediments, regolith, rivers and  groundwater. This research group addresses climatic and hydrologic variability and change, ecohydrologic processes, the interactions between surface water and groundwater, and processes affecting groundwater recharge, soils and their links to landscape changes and biogeochemical processes, and the impacts  of climatic change on vegetation and ecosystems as a whole.

Research Team

Assoc Prof David Dunkerley
Geomorphic and hydrologic processes in Australian dryland environments

Prof Ian Cartwright
Application of geochemical tracers to understand processes in groundwater and surface water systems.

Dr Vanessa Wong
Land and water management impacts, soil biogeochemical processes, soil-water interactions

 Dr Ailie Gallant
Characterising hydrologic variability in Australia, pre-instrumentalreconstructions of streamflow

Dr Dylan Irvine
Characterising surface water-groundwater interaction, and groundwater recharge using water temperature

Recent Publications

Cartwright, I.,Morgenstern U., 2015. Transit times from rainfall to baseflow in headwatercatchments estimated using tritium: the Ovens River, Australia. Hydrology andEarth System Sciences 19 (9), 3771-3785

Gilfedder, B.S.,Frei, S., Hofmann, H., Cartwright, I., 2015. Groundwater discharge to wetlandsdriven by storm and flood events: quantification using continuous Radon-222 andelectrical conductivity measurements and dynamic mass-balance modelling.Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 165, 161-177.

Unland, N.P.,Cartwright, I., Daly, E., Gilfedder, B.S., Atkinson, A.P., 2015. Dynamic river‐groundwater exchange in the presenceof a saline, semi‐confined aquifer. Hydrological Processes. DOI:10.1002/hyp.10525

Wong, W.W., Grace,M.R., Cartwright, I., Cook, P.L., 2015, Unravelling the origin and fate ofnitrate in an agricultural-urban coastal aquifer, Biogeochemistry 122, 343-360.

Cartwright, I.,Gilfedder, B. 2015. Mapping and quantifying groundwater inflows to Deep Creek(Maribyrnong catchment, SE Australia) using 222 Rn, implications for protectinggroundwater-dependant ecosystems. Applied Geochemistry 52, 118-129.

Atkinson, A,P.,Cartwright, I.,Gilfedder, B.S., Hofmann, H., Unland, N.P., Cendon, D.I.,Chisari, R., 2015. A multi‐tracer approach to quantifyinggroundwater inflows to an upland river; assessing the influence of variablegroundwater chemistry. Hydrological Processes 29, 1-12.

Von Strandmann, P.,Porcelli, D., James, R.H., Van Calsteren, P., Schaefer, B.F., Cartwright, I.,Reynolds, B.C., Burton, K.W., 2014, Chemical weathering processes in the GreatArtesian Basin: evidence from lithium and silicon isotopes. Earth And PlanetaryScience Letters, 406, 24-36.

Cartwright, I.,Gilfedder, B., Hofmann, H., 2014, Contrasts between estimates of baseflow helpdiscern multiple sources of water contributing to rivers. Hydrology and EarthSystem Sciences, 18, 15-30.

Faber, P.A.,Evrard, V., Woodland, R.J., Cartwright, I., Cook, P., 2014, Pore-water exchangedriven by tidal pumping causes alkalinity export in two intertidal inlets.Limnology and Oceanography, 59, 1749-1763.

Unland, N.P.H.,Cartwright, I., Cendon, D., Chisari, R., 2014, Residence times and mixing ofwater in river banks: implications for recharge and groundwater-surface waterexchange. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18, 5109-5124.

Wong, W.W., Grace,M.R., Cartwright, I., Cook, P., 2014, Sources and fate of nitrate in agroundwater-fed estuary elucidated using stable isotope ratios of nitrogen andoxygen, Limnology and Oceanography, 59, Limnology and Oceanography. 1493-1509.

Cartwright, I.,Hofmann, H., Gilfedder, B., Smyth, B., 2014, Understanding parafluvial exchangeand degassing to better quantify groundwater inflows using Rn-222: The KingRiver, southeast Australia. Chemical Geology, 48-60.

Atkinson, A.P.,Cartwright, I., Gilfedder, B., Cendon, D., Unland, N.P.H., Hofmann, H., 2014,Using 14C and 3H to understand groundwater flow and recharge in an aquiferwindow. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18,4951-4964.

Dunkerley DL. 2015.Percolation through leaf litter: what happens during rainfall events of varyingintensity? Journal of Hydrology doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.04.039.

Sadeghi SMM,Attarod P, Van Stan JT, Pypker TG, Dunkerley DL 2015. Efficiency of thereformulated Gash's interception model in semiarid afforestations. Agriculturaland Forest Meteorology 201, 76-85.

Dunkerley DL 2015.Intra-event intermittency of rainfall: an analysis of the metrics of rain andno-rain periods. Hydrological Processes 29, 3294-3305. doi:10.1002/hyp.10454.

Dunkerley DL 2014.Stemflow production and intrastorm rainfall intensity variation: anexperimental analysis using laboratory rainfall simulation. Earth SurfaceProcesses and Landforms 39, 1741-1752. DOI: 10.1002/esp.3555

Dunkerley DL. 2014.Stemflow on the woody parts of plants: dependence on rainfall intensity andevent profile from laboratory simulations. Hydrological Processes 28,5469-5482. Doi: 10.1002/hyp.10050.

Dunkerley DL. 2014.Is canopy interception increased in semiarid tree plantations? Evidence from afield investigation in Tehran, Iran. Turkish Journal of Agriculture andForestry 38, 792-806. doi:10.3906/tar-1312-53

Dunkerley D.L.2014. Nature and hydro-geomorphic roles of trees and woody debris in a drylandephemeral stream: Fowlers Creek, arid western New South Wales, Australia. Journalof Arid Environments 102, 40-49. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2013.10.017

Dunkerley, D.L.,2014. Vegetation mosaics of arid western New South Wales, Australia:considerations of their origin and persistence, in Patterns of LandDegradation in Drylands: Understanding Self-Organised Ecogeomorphic Systems,eds Eva Nora Mueller, John Wainwright, Anthony J Parsons and Laura Turnbull,Springer, Dordrecht Netherlands, pp. 315-345.

Goff, A., Huang,J., Wong, V.N.L., Monteiro Santos, F.A., Wege, R., and Triantafilis, J. (2014)Electromagnetic Conductivity Imaging of Soil Salinity in an Estuarine–AlluvialLandscape. Soil Science Society of America Journal 78(5), 1686-1693. [In English]

Huang, J., Nhan,T., Wong, V.N.L., Johnston, S.G., Lark, R.M., and Triantafilis, J. (2014)Digital soil mapping of a coastal acid sulfate soil landscape. Soil Research52(4), 327-339.

Huang, J., Wong,V.N.L., and Triantafilis, J. (2014) Mapping soil salinity and pH across anestuarine and alluvial plain using electromagnetic and digital elevation modeldata. Soil Use and Management, n/a-n/a.

Wong, V.N.L.,Cheetham, M.D., Bush, R.T., Sullivan, L.A., and Ward, N.J. (2015) Accumulationof sulfidic sediments in a channelised inland river system, southern Australia.Marine and Freshwater Research, -.

Wong, V.N.L.,Johnston, S.G., Burton, E.D., Hirst, P., Sullivan, L.A., Bush, R.T., andBlackford, M. (2015) Seawater inundation of coastal floodplain sediments:Short-term changes in surface water and sediment geochemistry. Chemical Geology398(0), 32-45.

Irvine, D.J.,Lautz, L.K., Briggs, M.A., Gordon, R.P. and McKenzie, J. (2015) Experimentalevaluation of the applicability of phase, amplitude and combined methods todetermine water flux and thermal diffusivity from temperature time series usingVFLUX 2. Journal of Hydrology, doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.10.054.

Recent Grants

Cook, Swearer, Reich,Walker, Beardall, Cartwright, Mainville, Moulden, Adams, McCowan. Towards aholistic understanding, prediction and management of key ecological values:Fish recruitment and water quality. ARC LP140100087, 2014-2017, $737,000

Werner, Cartwright,Yan. Dynamics and management of riverine freshwater lenses. ARC LP140100317,2014-2017, $294,000.

Cook, MacNally,Cartwright, Beardall, Santos, Keough, Ross, Coleman, Cinque, Lee, Howe. Canseagrass beds be reclaimed by better management? Catchment effects on theecological and biogeochemical function of tidal flats. ARC LP130100684,2013-2016, $453,000