Welcome to the Plant Science Group
The Plant Science Group is recognized nationally and internationally for its contributions to understanding regulation of nutrient transport and metabolism in higher plants. Currently the group is comprised of six academic staff, four postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate and Honours degree students. Our research activities fall into two broad areas namely, nutrient allocation impacting on crop yield and quality and reconstructing sustainable ecosystems.
Until recently, our research focus on nutrient allocation has been on the molecular physiology of regulatory mechanisms governing nutrient accumulation by reproductive organs (fruit and seed) and the developmental biology of cells specialized for membrane transport of nutrients (transfer cells). Spearheaded by two new academic appointments, we are now establishing additional research areas. These include (i) exploring the potential of sorghum as a biofuel resource and (ii) exploiting the single-celled cotton fibre as an experimental model to understand aspects of cell growth and cellulose biosynthesis. Forming the Australia/China Research Centre for Crop Improvement (RCCI) in 2008 has added a program to our research portfolio of identifying mechanisms conferring tolerance of crop development to drought and heat stress. Our linkage with agronomists and plant geneticists opens up exciting opportunities of transferring our findings into targeted breeding programs.
In relation to reconstructing sustainable ecosystems, the Plant Science Group has been pivotal in establishing the research base of the Centre for Sustainable Ecosystem Restoration (CSER) and continues to play the key role in expansion of this University centre. The initial experimental restoration site - the Ravensworth State Forest Vegetation Complex, has been recognized as a "Highly Commended" site in the Global Restoration Network of the Society of Ecological Restoration, International.