Elmar-Stenitzer-Preis 2011

Preisverleihung 2011Der Elmar-Stenitzer-Preis 2011 wurde am 03. Mai 2011 im Rahmen der „Gumpensteiner Lysimetertagung“ an Frau Lisa Heise und Frau Henrike Schelle verliehen.

Die Fachjury entschied sich für die Projektskizze mit dem Thema:

Water retention characteristics of unsaturated soils in the medium to dry range ‐ a comparison of measurement techniques


Experimental evidence reported in the scientific literature suggests that measured soil water contents at pressure heads corresponding to medium to dry conditions depend on the method of measurement. This has tremendous consequences for (a) the determination of plant‐available water since this quantity is usually inferred from field capacity and the water content at the wilting point, and (b) the computation of soil water fluxes because unsaturated hydraulic conductivity under medium to dry conditions is usually derived from the retention function by capillary bundle models which can be highly sensitive to seemingly small changes in the retention function. In this project, we will compare laboratory water content measurements obtained from four methods, namely (i) the evaporation method, (ii) the suction plate method, (iii) the pressure plate method, and (iv) the dew point method. We will investigate undisturbed (i and ii) and disturbed (iii and iv) soil samples covering a wide range of textures (sand, sandy loam, and silt loam). The results of this research will be useful to develop guidelines for practitioners on the adequate setup and performing of the methods (e.g., with respect to equilibration time), to assess the compatibility and reliability of the methods, and to gain insight into the shape of the soil water retention curve and its influence on unsaturated hydraulic conductivity in the medium to dry range.


Schelle, H., Heise, L., Jänicke, K. and Durner, W. (2013), Water retention characteristics of soils over the whole moisture range: a comparison of laboratory methods. European Journal of Soil Science. doi: 10.1111/ejss.12108.

Schelle, H., L. Heise, K. Jänicke, and W. Durner (2013): Wasserretentionseigenschaften von Böden über den gesamten Feuchtebereich – ein Methodenvergleich, in: Bericht über die 15. Lysimetertagung,15.-17.4.2013, HBFLA Raumberg-Gumpenstein, 213-216.