Dr Adam Hartland

Adam Hartland

Senior Lecturer (Geochemistry)

Qualifications: BSc(Hons), PhD Birmingham, Rutherford Discovery Fellow

Personal Website:

About Adam

I'm a geochemist with broad interests in environmental and Earth science.

I am particularly interested in the interaction of environmental nanoparticles and dissolved organic ligands with trace elements and looking at these processes from different standpoints (e.g. influence over bioavailability, mineral formation etc).

Minerals are fascinating because they conserve information about their environments of formation through trace elements, isotopes and by sequestering organic molecules from their surroundings. These natural archives can allow us to address all sorts of interesting questions about the Earth, both in modern systems and ancient palaeoclimates.

The Waikato Environmental Geochemistry (WEG) group comprises a team of researchers working on diverse topics within the broad scope of Environmental Geoscience. Our work is unified by our use of chemical approaches to understand the natural world, and our role in it.

I am looking for new students to join the laboratory and welcome inquires.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised


  • White, Jackson (in progress) Condensation corrosion of Glowworm Cave, Waitomo (THL research award)


  • Lindeman, Ingrid (in progress) Trace element incorporation in calcite under karst analogue conditions (UoW scholarship)
  • Guo, Lily (in progress) In situ measurement of metal-ligand dissociation rates in cave waters (Rutherford Fellowship)


Primary supervision

  • Pearson, Andrew (in progress). The terrestrial carbon cycle in transition: tracking changes using novel tracers on multiple timescales (Marsden Fast-Start).
  • Saeed, Huma (in progress). Controls on the bioavailability of phosphorus in lake systems (ERI Scholarship).
  • Mohammadi, Amir (in progress). From soil to groundwater: assessing the leaching potential of cadmium across gradients of soil type and land-use (UOW Doctoral Scholarship).
  • Ward, Brittany (in progress). Reconstructing New Zealand hydroclimate using novel isotopic measurements of speleothems (Rutherford Fellowship).

Secondary supervision

  • Drylie, Tarn (in progress). The effects of low-level disturbances on coastal soft sediment biodiversity and ecosystem function (NIWA).
  • Chong, Grace-Lynn (in progress) Mercury Bioaccumulation in Fish from Different Trophics Statuses and Seasonal Cycling in the Taupo Volcanic Zone Lakes (UoW Doctoral Scholarship).
  • Corbett, Thomas (in progress) Simple, rapid and affordable measurements of dissolved nutrients in aquatic environments (UoW Doctoral Scholarship)
  • Zia, Zahida (in progress). Synthesis and Characterization of Low-cost Biopolymeric/Nanomineral Composite Systems and Evaluation of their Potential Application for Heavy Metal Removal (HEC).
  • Brandt, Shelly Marie (in progress). The Effects of Ocean Acidification on Microbial Nutrient Cycling and Productivity in Coastal Marine Sediments (MBIE Endeavor)

Completed PhD

  • Muraoka, Kohji (submitted). Lake mixing and phytoplankton diversity - analysis from regional to global scale (BoPRC).
  • Iuele, Helena (submitted) Investigation of Levels and Type of Endocrine Disruptors in Sediments in Coastal Areas of the Bay of Plenty (UoW Doctoral Scholarship).
  • Clunies-Ross, Phil (2018) Glacial Suspended Particulate Matter: Compositional and Behavioural Change in Freshwater Environments.
  • Salmanzadeh, Mahdiyeh (2017). An isotopic assessment of the apparent plateau in New Zealand soil cadmium accumulation (ERI and NZFA Award).
  • Huteau, Julien (2017) Fate & effects of contaminants in estuarine environments (BOPRC).
  • Kpodonu, Theodore (2016). An integrated ecosystem assessment for water quality management of Lake Okataina (BOPRC).

Completed MSc

  • Dempsey, Te Puea (2015) Toitu Te Moananui a Toi- The Effects of the MV Rena on the Water Quality, Chemistry and Zooplankton of Otaiti (Astrolabe Reef) (BoPRC scholarship).
  • McSweeney, Caleb (2015) The Effects of Contaminated Rena Sediments on Julvenile Paua (Haliotis iris) (BoPRC scholarship)
  • Eager, Chris (2017) Alum dosing of lake tributaries in the Bay of Plenty region (UoW scholarship)

Research Interests


Aqueous biogeochemistry

Natural ligands and nanoparticles in soil and water play a central role in controlling the mobility and bioavailability of metals and metalloids. This research theme is focused on these environmental transfer processes and their ecological impacts.

DGT research

DGT (diffusive gradients in thin films) is a passive sampling technique which can be deployed for the specific measurement of dissolved species in water. Researchers in my group employ DGT to answer a range of questions relating to the chemical form (speciation) and biogeochemical availability of metals, nutrients and contaminants in soil, sediment and water.

Speleothem Science

Caves provide unique windows into the functioning of surface ecosystems and through carbonate (speleothem) deposition, record information on  a wide range of processes, including infiltration dynamics, vegetation, soil carbon storage, temperature changes and much more. We are currently focusing on the interaction of colloids (particles between 1 and 1000 nm), natural organic ligands and complexed (chemically-bound) metals, in order to develop speleothem proxies of past environmental change. This work benefits from collaborations with European research organisations through project QUEST.

Soil and sediment systems

The accumulation and transfer of metals and nutrient species within soils is controlled to a large extent by interactions at the soil-water-root interface. Students in my group are involved in studying the fate, mobility and transformation of metals, toxic compounds (e.g. Cd) and nutrients in soils and sediments in collaboration with other New Zealand research institutes.

Isotope systematics

Stable and radio isotopes are essential tools in the study of Earth and environmental science. Opportunities are available for research students to use O and C isotope measurements as well as more exotic isotopes (e.g. 114/110Cd) to explore modern and ancient processes.

Analytical techniques used in WEG research include:
  • Diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT)
  • Flow field-flow fractionation (Fl-FFF), size exclusion (SE), normal and reverse-phase high performace liquid chromatography (HPLC)
  • Fluorescence spectroscopy (3D excitation emission matrices), total organic carbon (TOC) analysis
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS), including laser-ablation (LA-ICPMS)
  • Stable isotope mass spectrometry (IRMS and CRDS)

Recent Publications

  • Welikala, D., Hucker, C., Hartland, A., Robinson, B. H., & Lehto, N. J. (2018). Trace metal mobilization by organic soil amendments: insights gained from analyses of solid and solution phase complexation of cadmium, nickel and zinc. Chemosphere, 199, 684-693. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.02.069

  • Hartland, A., & Zitoun, R. (2018). Transition metal availability to speleothems controlled by organic binding ligands. Geochemical Perspectives Letters, 8, 22-25. doi:10.7185/geochemlet.1824 Open Access version:

  • Wynn, P. M., Fairchild, I. J., Borsato, A., Spoetl, C., Hartland, A., Baker, A., . . . Baldini, J. U. L. (2018). Sulphate partitioning into calcite: Experimental verification of pH control and application to seasonality in speleothems. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 226, 69-83. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2018.01.020 Open Access version:

  • Salmanzadeh, M., Schipper, L. A., Balks, M. R., Hartland, A., Mudge, P. L., & Littler, R. (2017). The effect of irrigation on cadmium, uranium, and phosphorus contents in agricultural soils. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 247, 84-90. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2017.06.028 Open Access version:

Find more research publications by Adam Hartland


Environmental Chemistry; Environmental Science and Technology; Geochemical Environment


Contact Details

Room: FG.3.04
Phone: +64 7 837 9390