Comparison of root traits in old and new wheat genotypes

Plant physiologists have studied the single plant, and agronomists have looked at the whole crop, but the plant within the community has scarcely been investigated. Whilst evolution favours competitive phenotypes, agriculture selects for phenotypes with lower competitive ability or a communal behaviour. 

Mariano Cossani

The negative correlation between yield and competitive ability has been demonstrated experimentally in species of contrasting physiology and morphology, including cereals, pulses and oilseed crops. However, these studies have only analysed aboveground traits.  In this Honours, the student will characterise root systems of old and new wheat genotypes in response to stand density to see how they are affected by the competition. 

You will learn and use state-of-the-art phenotyping and software tools, as illustrated in the figure comparing root distribution patterns of Heron (released in 1958) and Gladius (released in 2007).


Mariano Cossani, Victor Sadras and Stuart Roy

Mariano Cossani and Victor Sadras work at SARDI and are affiliated to the the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine on crop physiology with focus on plant adaptation to abiotic stress. Their research interests include theoretical model of crop yield in annual species, capture and efficiency in the use of resources for cereals and pulses, yield gap analysis, developing of phenotyping methods and evolutionary aspects of the crop species.

Stuart Roy is Associate Professor at the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine and Interim Head of Department & Deputy Director (Industry) for the ARC ITTC for Accelerated Future Crop Development. He has interest in development of quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping for novel genes involved in salinity and other abiotic stress tolerance and in understanding the physiological mechanisms controlling the plant's response to salinity stress.

Further information

This project may be eligible for a student scholarship. Please contact the project supervisors for details and to express your interest:

Tagged in Honours projects - Agricultural science, Honours projects - Plant science