Research overview

Plant physiology

The overarching goal of my research is to better understand and to improve the productivity of crop plants. As the key driver of crop yield, boosting photosynthesis is viewed as the key target for a second green revolution. It is however critical that we do so whilst also making more efficient use of the plant’s available resources, specifically water and nutrients. This is particularly important in Australian cropping systems where resources are often limited. In the context of climate change, I am also interested in enhancing the resilience of Australian farming systems and improving the stress tolerance of agricultural and horticultural crop species. Currently, I work with wheat and chickpea, two of the major economically important crops grown in Australia.

I am also very interested in the development of cheap yet robust methods for the measurement of plant traits. There is an assumption that there must be a trade off in data quality when you build equipment on a budget, yet the tools I have developed have proven this certainly does not need to be the case. By keeping costs low and using open source data processing pipelines we can make these scientific tools available for more researchers across the world.

Weed science

Weeds have a major impact on the productivity of agricultural systems, competing with crops for valuable resources. This is particularly true in Australia where water is often limiting to crop growth and yield. Controlling weeds is therefore of utmost importance and in the past growers have relied heavily upon herbicides. Yet weeds are evolving resistance to herbicides and the environmental impacts of herbicide use are clearer than ever. My weed science research focusses on reducing agriculture’s reliance on herbicides. Site specific weed control is viewed as the key way to reducing herbicide use and transitioning to non-chemical weed control techniques. We are working on real time colour and machine learning based approaches to weed detection, as well as several new ways of controlling weeds, including using lasers, targeted tillage and electricity.

Research outputs

To view a list of my most recent publications please click here.

To view the posters I have presented at conferences please click here.

If you would like more information about any of my work please get in touch