Dr Adam Hartland

Senior Lecturer (Geochemistry)

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

Personal Website:

About Adam

I'm an environmental geochemist, which means that I apply geochemical tools (e.g. isotopes, trace elements, biomarkers) to address environmental questions. Most of my research revolves around understanding how climatic and environmental signals are captured by speleothems (cave carbonates). A key goal is to disentangle climatic from other environmental signals (e.g. abrupt events like earthquakes) in these archives.

My work emphasizes the role of intermediary phases (dissolved organics and nanoparticles) in controlling the signal transfer process in cave systems. Beyond cave environments, the role of colloids and nanoparticles in governing biogeochemical cycling and soil processes is also an active area of interest.

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

Research Publications

Research Interests

Understanding environmental nanoparticles

I am particularly interested in the interaction of environmental nanoparticles and dissolved organic ligands with trace elements, and how these interactions affect other phenomena. For example, the role of organic ligands in controlling metal incorporation in 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.

Environmental contaminants and mitigation

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.

Research Supervised

Research supervision as Chief Supervisor


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


  • Lindeman, Ingrid (submitted) 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 (in progress). 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).
  • Ward, Brittany (in progress). Reconstructing New Zealand hydroclimate using novel isotopic measurements of speleothems (Rutherford Fellowship).
  • 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)

Teaching Commitments


Environmental Chemistry; Environmental Science and Technology; Geochemical Environment


Recent Publications

  • Zia, Z., Hartland, A., & Mucalo, M. (2020). Wastewater treatment in New Zealand: zeolites as a potential low-cost solution for heavy metal removal. Chemistry in New Zealand, 84(1), 26-30.

  • Hellstrom, J., Sniderman, K., Drysdale, R., Couchoud, I., Hartland, A., Pearson, A., & Bajo, P. (2020). Speleothem growth intervals reflect New Zealand montane vegetation response to temperature change over the last glacial cycle. Scientific Reports, 10(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-020-58317-8 Open Access version:

  • Zia, Z., Hartland, A., & Mucalo, M. R. (2020). Use of low-cost biopolymers and biopolymeric composite systems for heavy metal removal from water. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology. doi:10.1007/s13762-020-02764-3

  • Pearson, A. R., Hartland, A., Frisia, S., & Fox, B. R. S. (2020). Formation of calcite in the presence of dissolved organic matter: Partitioning, fabrics and fluorescence. Chemical Geology, 119492. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2020.119492

View All research publications by Adam Hartland

Contact Details

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