Theme: Biodiversity and conservation science, Ecology genetics and evolution, Environmental management

Description: Nutrient deficiencies and drought are major agricultural constraints. Fertilisers and irrigation help to alleviate these issues, but rely on non-renewable resources and contribute to environmental degradation. By 2050 there will be nine billion people on Earth, which places food security at the top of society’s challenges for the 21st century. Soils harbour a wide variety of microbial taxa that significantly enhance plant nutrient acquisition and drought tolerance. These organisms could be used to more sustainably maintain, or enhance, global food security. In this project, microbes will be isolated from the roots of stressed plants and then screened for attributes that promote plant fitness under drought and nutrient stress.

Contact: Associate Professor Paul Dennis