Louise Barton

Assistant Professor, BSc W.Aust., PhD Waik.

  • The University of Western Australia (M079), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 1245 Citations
  • 19 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


After spending many childhood hours following the lives of ants on farms, and wondering what their underground homes held, it is probably not surprising that I became a soil scientist.

Much of my professional career has focussed on researching soil nitrogen cycling in various land-uses. My research has investigated developing land-management strategies that minimise undesirable losses of nitrogen into the environment, including nitrous oxide emissions and nitrate leaching. My understanding of soil nitrogen cycling has been achieved by seeking to understand the interactions between soil biology, chemistry and physics on the fate of nitrogen applied to a variety of land-uses including agriculture, forestry, and horticulture. This has included conducting research in Mediterranean, semi-arid and temperate climates. Throughout my career, I have enjoyed working collaboratively with Industry and scientists to ensure my research results in practical outcomes for end-users, as well as being sufficiently robust for publication in well-regarded scientific journals.

I have recently taken an active role in introducing undergraduate and postgraduate students to the wonders of soil science, and are learning a lot along the way

Roles and responsibilities

Lecturer for undergraduates and postgraduates studying Agricultural Science and Environmental Science

PhD Student Supervisor

UWA School of Agriculture and Environment Student Academic Conduct Advisor

UWA Agribusiness Connect Scholarship, Coordinator

Teaching overview

ENVT2236 Soil Science, Unit Coordinator and Lecturer

ENVT3060 Soil–Plant Interactions, Guest Lecturer

EART3338 Land Capability Assessment, Guest Lecturer

AGRI5545/5546/5547/5548 International Agriculture: Research and Development, Unit Coordinator and Lecturer

Agriculture Science Major (including Honours), Coordinator


I enjoy working with growers, industry and policy makers to ensure best practises for land and water management.

Current research interests include:

  • Measuring and understanding trace gas emissions from soils, including methane and nitrous oxide.
  • Developing strategies to better manage soil water repellence in agricultural and horticultural soils.
  • Improving water use efficiency in turfgrass through use of soil amendments and improved scheduling.
  • Investigating the impact of soil inversion on soil nutrient cycling.
  • Understanding soil nitrogen cycling so as to minimise adverse losses to the environment.

I welcome opportunities to work with others on these and other research topics.

Previous positions

RESEARCH SCIENTIST, Landcare Research (New Zealand), 1998–2001
Employed as a Soil Biogeochemist to primarily conduct research projects funded within two Landcare Research Programs by national public-good funding (FoRST). In addition, conducted commercial research, including the first nationally co-ordinated field study investigating nitrous oxide emissions from New Zealand pasture soils.

PhD CANDIDATE, The University of Waikato (New Zealand), 1995–1998
My dissertation investigated denitrification rates, and regulating factors, in the upland soil of a forested land treatment system. The research was conducted in partnership with Forest Research in Rotorua.

GRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANT, The University of Western Australia, 1993–1995:
A staff member in the Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA), in sub-program investigating the soil acidification potential of grain and pasture legumes.

LAND CONSERVATION OFFICER, WA Department of Agriculture (Moora) 1992–1993:
Employed to assist farmers develop farm plans by providing soil technical information and practical options for addressing soil degradation. The position involved soil identification and mapping, organising workshops and assisting programs intended to increase community awareness of ‘landcare’ principles.

RESEARCH OFFICER, The University of Western Australia, 1992:
Collated and presented soil chemical and physical methods as a manual for use by soil acidity researchers in Western Australia.

External positions

Australian Soils Network

Smart Approved Water Mark (SAWN), Expert Panel Member

Soil Science Australia (Treasurer, WA Branch)

Research expertise keywords

  • Turfgrass irrigation management
  • Turfgrass nutrient management
  • Nitrogen leaching from turfgrass
  • Soil nitrogen transformations
  • Soil water repellency
  • Turfgrass watering requirements
  • Nitrous oxide emissions
  • Soil Biology

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Research Output

  • A Review of Warm-Season Turfgrass Evapotranspiration, Responses to Deficit Irrigation, and Drought Resistance

    Colmer, T. & Barton, L., 27 Mar 2017, In : Crop Science. 57, p. S98-S110

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  • 7 Citations (Scopus)

    Direct nitrous oxide emissions in Mediterranean climate cropping systems: Emission factors based on a meta-analysis of available measurement data

    Cayuela, M. L., Aguilera, E., Sanz-Cobena, A., Adams, D. C., Abalos, D., Barton, L., Ryals, R., Silver, W. L., Alfaro, M. A., Pappa, V. A., Smith, P., Garnier, J., Billen, G., Bouwman, L., Bondeau, A. & Lassaletta, L., 1 Feb 2017, In : Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 238, p. 25-35 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 75 Citations (Scopus)

    Functional Relationships of Soil Acidification, Liming, and Greenhouse Gas Flux

    Kunhikrishnan, A., Thangarajan, R., Bolan, N. S. S., Xu, Y., Mandal, S., Gleeson, D., Seshadri, B., Zaman, M., Barton, L., Tang, C., Luo, J., Dalal, R., Ding, W., Kirkham, M. B. B. & Naidu, R., 2016, Advances in Agronomy. D. L. S. (ed.). Elsevier, Vol. 139. p. 3-55

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

    39 Citations (Scopus)