Identifying novel tolerance to subsoil constraints in a FIGS wheat set


Identify wheat lines from around the world that are tolerant to subsoil challenges such as high salinity and soil pH

Subsoil constraints prevent current elite bread wheat varieties from achieving their yield potential. Dispersive soils (also referred to as sodic soils) comprise multiple subsoil constraints including high soil pH, salinity, high boron, waterlogging and high aluminium. Novel sources of genetic variation are needed to develop new wheat varieties with enhanced tolerance to one or more subsoil constraints.

We have access to a new wheat germplasm collection including 300 lines from a Focused Identification of Germplasm Strategy (FIGS) set. The wheat lines are from various regions around the world and have been selected based on the prevalence of subsoil constraints in their place of origin.

This Honours project will involve both greenhouse and growth chamber experiments to screen the FIGS wheat germplasm under one of the following subsoil constraints including high soil pH, salinity, high boron, waterlogging or high aluminium.

The overall aim of this project is to identify wheat lines from the FIGS set that contain alternative sources of tolerance to one of these major subsoil constraints.

You will develop skills in:

  • Plant phenotyping and genotyping
  • Soil chemical analysis
  • Greenhouse and growth chamber experimentation
  • Independent and collaborative research skills
  • Experimental design and data analysis

Key References:

McDonald, G. K., Taylor, J. D., Verbyla, A., and Kuchel, H. (2013): Assessing the importance of subsoil constraints to yield of wheat and its implications for yield improvement. Crop and Pasture Science 63, 1043-1065.

Rengasamy, P. (2002): Transient salinity and subsoil constraints to dryland farming in Australian sodic soils: An overview. Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 42, 351-361.


Associate Professor Glenn McDonald

Tagged in Honours projects - Agricultural science, Honours projects - Rhiannon Schilling, Honours projects - Glenn McDonald, Honours projects - Soil science, Honours projects - Plant science