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Investigators

Distinguished Prof Ian Wright

Distinguished Prof Ian Wright

Ian Wright leads the WSU node of the ARC Centre for Plant Success. His research seeks to understand variation in plant functional traits, and how trait variation relates to plant ecological strategies. For the Centre we are focusing on adaptations to temperature and water stress within the Australian flora, including in crop wild relatives.

Honorary Prof Brian Atwell

Honorary Prof Brian Atwell

Brian Atwell is an Assoc Inv in the Centre of Excellence, based at Macquarie University. His research focuses on abiotic stress tolerance in cultivated plants and eucalypts, principally by comparing crop species with the many wild relatives that have evolved to survive in adverse environments throughout Australia and aims to identify the genetic basis of physiological and biochemical tolerance to heat, drought and salinity.

Assoc Prof Brendan Choat

Assoc Prof Brendan Choat

My research centres on the physiological ecology of plants with a primary focus on plant hydraulics, water relations and functional anatomy. I am studying how the structure of the xylem achieves a compromise between features that promote efficiency of transport to the leaves while preserving safety from cavitation.

Assoc Prof Rachael Gallagher

Assoc Prof Rachael Gallagher

My primary interest is plant conservation, particularly under climate change. My main research areas are conservation biology, ecology, plant functional traits, biogeography, macroecology, species adaptation to climate change and global change biology.

Assoc Prof Jonathan Plett

Assoc Prof Jonathan Plett

The aim of my research program is to compare and contrast the genetic traits in plants that render them susceptible to colonization by mutualistic versus pathogenic microbes. Further, I study the countermeasures used by microbes to manipulate the outcome of these interactions.

Honorary Prof Hendrik Poorter

Honorary Prof Hendrik Poorter

Honorary Professor, School of Natural Sciences, Macquarie University

Prof Jeff Powell

Prof Jeff Powell

I'm interested in the processes underlying the assembly of microbial communities and how these processes can be manipulated to achieve beneficial outcomes. A goal of my research is to understand the contributions of microbial biodiversity to the productivity of managed and natural systems and to how these systems respond to environmental change.

PhD candidates

Anu Middha

Anu Middha

My research focuses on identifying the distinctive cuticular features that contribute to increased tolerance in certain accessions of Themeda triandra. I aim to unravel the biochemical mechanisms underlying leaf cuticles, specifically identifying the components of cuticle wax that are most responsive to heat and water stress.

Jiahao Wen

Jiahao Wen

In my search I will be investigating adaptations to environmental stresses in Australian native species (e.g. heat, drought and low soil nutrients).

Nodoka Izumi

Nodoka Izumi

I'm interested in structure-function relationships in plants. I'm currently interested in xylem anatomy, particularly how variation in parenchyma structures is associated with xylem functions.

Tiantian Pan

Tiantian Pan

I'm studying the coordination of photosynthesis and hydraulic traits in Australian plants, and testing optimality theory from the perspective of the whole plant.

Postdoctoral researchers

Dr Travis Britton

Dr Travis Britton

I'm working on the ecophysiological adapations of eucalypts to drought and heat stress. My past research interests have largely focused on understanding how ecological interactions among neighbouring plants modify the direct effects of environmental change in forest communities.

Suz Everingham

Suz Everingham

My research uses large-scale data to combine metrics of drought exposure, drought sensitivity and plant adaptive capacity to create a framework for the extinction risk of plants due to drought. This drought-risk framework will allow more confident predictions of plant extinction risk under climate change scenarios as part of the IUCN Red Listing process.

Dr Vinod Jacob

Dr Vinod Jacob

In collaboration with Associate Investigator Prof. Brian Atwell (Macquarie University), my current research is aimed at better understanding ecological and physiological adaptations to heat and water stress in target clades of Australian Andropogoneae grasses with a primary focus on plant hydraulics and gas exchange.

Dr Emma Sumner

Dr Emma Sumner

I’m a plant ecologist within the CoE for Plant Success based at HIE. My research focuses on heat and drought adaptations among Australian native grasses in the Andopogoneae tribe including wild sorghum and Kangaroo grass (Themeda triandra).

Dr Shubham Chhajed

Dr Shubham Chhajed

I'm studying whole-plant ecophysiology and its relation with plant allometry, growth and climate using first principles. I'm also interested in plant carbon-water relations across spatial and temporal ecological scales.

Dr Andrea Westerband

Dr Andrea Westerband

My research investigates how plants allocate carbon, water and nutrients to different functions in response to the environment. She has expertise running large-scale field campaigns as well as in population modelling.

Dr Kasia Ziemińska

Dr Kasia Ziemińska

I'm a plant ecologist, based at HIE, and a wood anatomist passionate about understanding how anatomical diversity drives tree functions and ecology. My current research investigates how anatomy and tree growth are interlinked with each other.

Past members

Dr Zhangying Lei

Now a lecturer at Northwest A & F University, Yangling, China

Dr Yuki Tsujii

Now a Research Fellow at Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan