Dr Carina Moeller


Water-scarcity does not begin when rainfall ends, but is a result of complex interactions between crops, agricultural management, and the environment. I have a passion for crop physiology, agronomy, and modelling approaches to design sustainable, climate-robust in dryland agricultural systems.

Research interests

Drylands, including arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid regions, support many modern cities such as Cape Town, Los Angeles, Rome, Tehran, and Sydney. These regions cover around 40% of the terrestrial landmass and support 2 billion people, which is 40% of the global population! We need to appreciate the vulnerability of drylands while moving away from the perception that drylands are unproductive and barren. Improving the resilience and productivity of dryland systems is an imperative for future food security. By combining simulated responses of crop systems to long-term rainfall variability with a range of climatic indices, I have developed a method to quantify the monetary value of seasonal rainfall forecasts. This is important information for those who use climate information, such as farmers and their advisors, in managing production risks related to high climatic variability. In system analyses conducted for Mediterranean environments, I have addressed the questions of optimising N-fertiliser and sowing decisions in response to soil water at sowing, soil types and season. My earlier experimental and modelling research contributed to the enhancement of the chickpea, wheat, and soil water and soil nitrogen modules within the APSIM simulation platform. I have also used the model to quantify the sustainability of alternative management strategies within a formal, goal-oriented framework for assessing sustainability.


Carina Moeller received an engineering degree in agriculture (Dipl-Ing. agr.) from Justus-Liebig University, Germany, and a doctor in agricultural sciences (Dr. sc. agr.) from Hohenheim University, Germany. She conducted much of her post-graduate research at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria, and was also a visiting fellow at the Agricultural Production Systems Research Unit in Toowoomba, Australia. In 2004-2006, she was a post-doctoral fellow with CSIRO Plant Industry in Western Australia. In 2007, Carina joined the faculty as a lecturer.

Recent publications

  • Moeller C, Asseng S, Berger J, Milroy SP (2009) Plant available soil water at sowing in Mediterranean environments - is it a useful criterion to aid nitrogen fertiliser and sowing decisions? Field Crops Research 114, 127-136, doi:110.1016/j.fcr.2009.1007.1012.
  • Meinke H, Bastiaans L, Bouman B, Dingkuhn M, Gaydon D, Hasegawa T, Heinemann A, Kiepe P, Lafarge T, Luquet D, Masood A, Moeller C, van Oort P, Rodenburg J, Yan J, Yin X (2009) Adaptation of rice production under climatic constraints. In 'SEA-EU-NET Bogor Conference'. Bogor, Indonesia, 11-12 November 2009. http://pri-ristek.info/bogorconference
  • Moeller C, Smith I, Asseng S, Ludwig F, Telcik N (2008) The potential value of seasonal forecasts of rainfall categories - case studies from the wheatbelt in Western Australia's Mediterranean region. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 148, 606-618, 610.1016/j.agrformet.2007.1011.1004.
  • Moeller C, Asseng S, Milroy SP (2008) Considerations in modelling adaptation to climate change. In 'Proceedings of Faculty of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Annual Symposium, 13 June 2008, Facing climate change: Research on adaptation of agro-ecosystems'. The University of Sydney pp. 13-16.
  • Moeller C, Pala M, Manschadi AM, Meinke H, Sauerborn J (2007) Assessing the sustainability of wheat-based cropping systems using APSIM: model parameterisation and evaluation. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 58, 75-86.
  • Moeller C, Manschadi AM, Meinke H, Pala M, DeVoil P, Sauerborn J (2007) Untangling the multi-dimensional nature of sustainability - a simulation approach. In 'Farming Systems Design 2007, International Symposium on Methodologies on Integrated Analysis of Farm Production Systems'. Catania, Italy. (Eds M Donatelli, JL Hatfield, A Rizzoli) pp. 151-152. (La Goliardica Pavese).
  • Moeller C, Asseng S, Berger J, Milroy S (2006) Initial soil water: myth and management. In '"Ground breaking stuff", Proceedings of the13th Australian Agronomy Conference'. (Australian Society of Agronomy: 10-14 September 2006, Perth, Australia).
  • Moeller C, Asseng S (2005) Review of available and potential seasonal climate forecasting systems for southwest Western Australia. Report for GRDC CSP00040: Can we predict wheat grain yield and grain protein for southwest Western Australia?. CSIRO Plant Industry, Floreat, WA.
  • Moeller C, Grenz J, Sauerborn J, Manschadi AM, Pala M, Meinke H (2005) Assessing the sustainability of a wheat-based cropping system under Mediterranean conditions. In 'Deutscher Tropentag, Conference on International Agricultural Research for Development', Stuttgart-Hohenheim, October 11-13, 2005.).
  • Moeller C, Manschadi AM, Meinke H, Pala M, Sauerborn J (2004) Modelling soil water, carbon and nitrogen dynamics in wheat/chickpea rotations: parameterisation and evaluation of APSIM in a Mediterranean environment. In 'The 4th International Crop Science Congress, 26 Sep - 1 Oct 2004', Brisbane, Australia. (Eds T Fischer, N Turner, J Angus, L McIntyre, M Robertson, A Borrell, D Lloyd) http://www.cropscience.org.au/icsc2004/poster/2/8/

    Möller C (2004) 'Sustainable management of a wheat-chickpea rotation in a Mediterranean environment: scenario analyses using a cropping systems simulator. Agroecology 6.' (APIA: Laubach, Germany). Pp. 142 (copies available from the author)