Uta is an Agricultural Soil Scientist with CSIRO and is based in Canberra, Australia. She leads the Proximal Sensing team in the Sustainability Research Program of CSIRO. Her research examines the complex dynamics and the functioning of soil systems. Uta has extensive expertise in quantitative pedology, proximal soil sensing and digital soil mapping. Her current research interests comprise using novel proximal soil sensing technologies to support rapid and cost-effective i) assessment of the soil condition and function to improve decision-making in agriculture, ii) natural resources accounting, iii) land suitability assessment and iv) provenance screening.

Uta was part of the Soil management in Pacific Islands project team that identified challenges with current soil sampling, testing and interpretation protocols and developed soil-type specific protocols. More specifically, Uta led the activity on utilising infra-red spectroscopy to conduct rapid and cost-effective assessments of soil fertility of calcareous and volcanic Pacific Island soils. For this, together with the Fiji-based team, Uta introduced mid-infrared spectroscopy analysis techniques and workflows to the Ministry of Agriculture in Fiji to build soil spectral inference reference libraries, to underpin new means of soil measurement of Pacific Island soils.

This work contributes to the building of a soil information infrastructure for Pacific Island soils, and will underpin more rapid baseline soil attribute assessments, enabling informed land management decisions in the Pacific Island region, as well as monitoring the status of the soil resource to improve soil resilience.