Ohio State Marion stats professor lends expertise in Australia

In his sabbatical year, Ohio State Marion Professor of Statistics, Omer Ozturk spent September 2019 through April 2020 conducting agricultural statistical research with a team of scientists at the Biometry Hub from The University of Adelaide, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine in Australia.

The goal of Ozturk’s research centered on field sampling from vineyards and other agricultural fields to reduce the sampling cost of data collection. Despite having his trip cut short due to the coronavirus epidemic, Ozturk felt he was able to accomplish a number of goals.

“My research was in developing sampling designs to measure certain traits of plants from vineyard, so it represents the population very well,” More specifically, said Ozturk, “Internode distance plays an important role in vineyard management since they reveal useful information about the nutritional deficiencies of the plants”.

Ozturk shared that because vines have a lot of leaves, it is labor intensive and cost a great deal to measure internode distances using traditional sampling design. Applying a cost-efficient sampling design and using appropriate statistical analysis allows the Australian wine industry to be more efficient, saving money and potentially passing that savings on to consumers.

Ozturk and his team designed a new sampling design to collect the sample at less cost, 50% less than what they are using currently.

While in country, Ozturk also assisted the team from the Biometry Hub with construction of a sampling design to measure the impact of recent wildfires on Australian farmland and develop a tool to intervene. Main objective of the study was to develop recommendation on the management of crop pest and post wildfire diseases.

“They are concerned that when the fire killed the useful bacteria in the soil,” he explained. “How much diversity of bacteria is in the soil after and how long it will take for the bacteria to return to normal level.”

Ozturk plans to tie his sabbatical research into his research at Ohio State and continue to work with his research group at the Biometry Hub. “This was a great opportunity for me,” he added. While working on the SAGI project Ozturk and his research team completed 4 research papers.

Dr. Ozturk brings back a wealth of knowledge to the classroom from down under.