Lorena Lacerda Awarded E. Broadus Browne
Lorena Lacerda, a Ph.D. student in the department of Crop and Soil Sciences, is the 2020 first-place winner of the E. Broadus Browne Award for Outstanding Graduate Research. These awards are named for pioneering CAES research head and UGA Experiment Station Director Edmund Broadus Browne, honoring his distinguished service. The objectives of these awards are to encourage research creativity and effective communication in students seeking master’s and doctoral degrees. Lacerda received the award in the doctoral-level competition with her presentation, "Using Remote Sensing to Delineate Dynamic Irrigation Management Zones."
A native of Brazil, Lacerda began her PhD program at the University of Georgia in 2017. Her advisor is Dr. George Vellidis. Her research project is interdisciplinary and international and is part of a collaboration between UGA and the Israeli Agricultural Research Organization. It is funded by the US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD) and the Georgia Cotton Commission.
Specifically, Lacerda's research project focuses on using remote sensing to improve irrigation scheduling methods in irrigated cotton in Georgia. The primary objective is to use satellite and unmanned aerial vehicle images to estimate crop water status parameters and delineate dynamic irrigation management zones (areas of the field with homogenous soil drying patterns). These zones’ boundaries change throughout the growing season, following temporal changes in crop water needs caused by the plant responses to environmental changes. Lacerda is working to develop new methods to delineate dynamic irrigation management zones that can be directly applied to commercial cotton fields in Georgia and readily adopted by farmers.