Associate Professor Adam Hartland

Adam Hartland

Associate Professor

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

Personal Website:

About Adam

I'm an environmental geochemist working across the land-water continuum.

Research in my group (Waikato Environmental Geochemistry (WEG)) spans systems (soils, caves, groundwater, lakes, rivers and coasts) and topic areas, employing a range of geochemical techniques in combination with interdisciplinary approaches.

Our interdisciplinary approach lends itself to innovation. WEG research has produced several new technical solutions to improve environmental sampling and laboratory experimentation. For example, with the SYP autosampler, we have developed the first, robust and fully automated water sampler for cave environments. The Geological Microclimate system (GeoMic): a climate controlled box for geochemical experiments, was developed by our group for precise experiments examining mineral formation and dissolution processes.

While much of our research is Waikato and NZ-based, our cave research takes us to diverse environments from the Southern Alps to the tropical Pacific. Waikato's unique location in the southern mid-latitudes provides the opportunity to understand key parts of the global climate system, such as the Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds and El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

I welcome enquiries from motivated students with backgrounds in chemistry, biosciences, Earth sciences or engineering.

Research Publications

Papers Taught

Research Supervised

Research supervision as Chief Supervisor


  • White, Jackson (2019) Condensation corrosion of Glowworm Cave, Waitomo (THL research award)


  • Lindeman, Ingrid (2020) Trace element incorporation in calcite under karst analogue conditions (UoW scholarship)


  • Guo, Lily (2019) In situ measurement of metal-ligand dissociation rates in cave waters (Rutherford Fellowship)
  • Eager, Chris (2017) Alum dosing of lake tributaries in the Bay of Plenty region (UoW scholarship).


  • Saeed, Huma (submitted). Redox cycling of macro and micro-nutrients in a monomictic lake (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).
  • Hoepker, Sebastian (in progress). Palaeoclimatic cave drip rates quantified from stalagmite trace metals (UOW Doctoral Scholarship).
  • Perera, Gimhani (in progress). Engineering denitrifying bioreactors to enhance phosphorus removal (MBIE Endeavor Fund).
  • Pearson, Andrew (2020). The terrestrial carbon cycle in transition: tracking changes using novel tracers on multiple timescales (Marsden Fast-Start)

Research Interests

Understanding environmental nanoparticles

My research focuses on the interaction between environmental nanoparticles and trace elements in soil, water and minerals.

Dissolved organic ligands and colloids are key controls on trace elements in most aquatic settings. For example, we are studying the controls on metal incorporation into cave minerals, or the regulation of nutrient bioavailability by iron nanoparticles.

Minerals as environmental and climatic archives

Minerals, such as this stalagmite (left), 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. Find out more about our cave research on RNZ Our Changing World.

Reducing environmental pollution  

WEG researchers combine techniques from geochemistry and environmental chemistry for the tracking of environmental contaminants (right). We are actively developing tools for the monitoring of pollutants in soil and water, as well as optimising mitigation technologies to reduce the impact of agriculture on freshwater ecosystems.

Recent Publications

  • Faraji, M., Borsato, A., Frisia, S., Hellstrom, J. C., Lorrey, A., Hartland, A., . . . Mattey, D. P. (2021). Accurate dating of stalagmites from low seasonal contrast tropical Pacific climate using Sr 2D maps, fabrics and annual hydrological cycles. Scientific Reports, 11(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-021-81941-x

  • Welikala, D., Robinson, B. H., Moltchanova, E., Hartland, A., & Lehto, N. J. (2021). Soil cadmium mobilisation by dissolved organic matter from soil amendments. Chemosphere, 271. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.129536

  • White, J. H., Domínguez-Villar, D., & Hartland, A. (2021). Condensation corrosion alters the oxygen and carbon isotope ratios of speleothem and limestone surfaces. Results in Geochemistry, 2, 100008. doi:10.1016/j.ringeo.2021.100008 Open Access version:

  • Pearson, A., Fox, B., Vandergoes, M., & Hartland, A. (2021). The sediment fluorescence–trophic level relationship: using water-extractable organic matter to assess past lake water quality in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. doi:10.1080/00288330.2021.1890624

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