Future Fellowships to boost agriculture and earth sciences research
University of Adelaide sciences research has been boosted by $2.5 million of new funding to advance studies on enhancing crop salt tolerance; gene regulation in wheat; and the interplay between tectonics, climate and resources.
Five projects from across the University of Adelaide were collectively awarded more than $4.5 million of Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowships.
Deciphering the genetic regulation of inflorescence development in wheat
- Dr Scott Boden - School of Agriculture, Food & Wine
- Awarded $816,950
Dr Boden’s project aims to identify genes and molecular processes that regulate inflorescence architecture in wheat, using state-of-the-art genetic resources to identify novel biological mechanisms that regulate the development of spikelets – reproductive branches that contain grain-producing florets.
Project outcomes will include new insights into the biology that underpins grain production of wheat, with expected benefits enabling sustainable increases of yields by breeders and growers to help improve global food security.
Targeting chloroplasts to enhance crop salt tolerance
- Dr Jayakumar Bose - School of Agriculture, Food & Wine
- Awarded $802,000
Yield losses in crop plants due to increasingly saline soils are linked to the effects of salt on chloroplasts; the part of the plant cell responsible for photosynthesis. By comparing chloroplast water and salt transport mechanisms of closely related salt-loving and salt-sensitive plants, Dr Bose’s project aims to discover how chloroplasts maintain function in saline conditions.
Novel biophysics and molecular techniques will be used to characterise transporters in model plants, and proof-of-concept experiments aim to confer salt tolerance on sensitive plants to benefit Australia’s agri-industry and ensure food security in the future.
Breaking Gondwana: interplay between tectonics, climate and resources
- Associate Professor Stijn Glorie - School of Physical Sciences.
- Awarded $894,060.
Associate Professor Glorie’s project aims to reconstruct 250 million years of landscape evolution in response to rifting and break-up of the Gondwana supercontinent, using the innovative approach of combining regional thermochronology with global plate tectonic models. From these reconstructions, the time-integrated record of exhumation and erosion at the continental margins will be revealed at an unprecedented scale.
As well as providing a deep time archive of the relationships between tectonic forcing, continental erosion and the global climate – which may assist predictions and debate on future climate change – the outcomes will also provide economic benefits as they will inform on the exhumation and preservation of critical resources.
“I congratulate our Future Fellows on securing funding from the Australian Research Council to continue their valuable work here in South Australia,” said the University of Adelaide’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Anton Middelberg.
“Research undertaken by our community of experts here at the University of Adelaide generates new knowledge and new uses for knowledge that improves our lives by informing solutions to global challenges.
“Our five Future Fellows will increase their efforts to understand and improve other players in climate change, collaborative pathways to better environmental policy, brain health, drought and finding ways to future proof our crops.”