Master of Science (Environmental Sciences)
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Jonno Rau’s masters research involves soil science, climate science and GIS mapping.
Jonno is basing his study in Northern Hawke’s Bay in the Wairoa district, using technology to determine which crops will grow best in different areas. The research is supported by Landcare Research and the Wairoa District Council.
“I wanted to study something that had real-word application,” he says. “I’m finding out what each crop needs for ideal growth and the areas most suited towards each crop. It’s research that could influence the future decisions of landowners and help to grow the region’s economy.”
Jonno is looking at a range of crops; orchard fruits such as apples, peaches and pears, and a variety of nuts, as well as New Zealand natives kawakawa and manuka for honey production.
He’ll be testing soils’ composition and capacity to hold water against the needs of the different crops and analysing satellite images to map frosts in each area. “For example, we can monitor temperatures and map the occurrence of frost, spring frosts in particular when plants are at their most vulnerable, and then determine which plants could be best suited to the different microclimates within the district.”
To do the climate analysis, Jonno is using satellite data from MODIS (Moderate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), which is owned and operated by NASA, with free public access.
“I’m excited by what I’m doing. It would be great to go back one day and see an orchard that I’ve helped to create.”