We were very happy to have been successful in the latest ARC Discovery round! Our project is entitled “To grow or to store: do plants hedge their bets?” and will investigate a long-standing question about the function of perennial plants: how much of the carbon taken up by photosynthesis is used immediately for growth, and how much is kept in reserve as insurance against future stress? My co-CI’s are Remko Duursma (HIE), Roddy Dewar (Australian National University) and Mat Williams (University of Edinburgh).
Teresa Gimeno’s recent paper on stomatal behaviour at EucFACE received page 5 coverage in Saturday’s Weekend Australian. The paper finds that instantaneous water-use efficiency increases in proportion to the CO2 concentration, or in layman’s terms “Either they use the same amount of water but they do more photosynthesis, or they do the same amount of photosynthesis but use less water”. I was pleased to see that the reporter, John Ross, was careful to include my caveats: “Professor Medlyn stressed that the experiment had analysed extra CO2 only “at the leaf scale”, with more work needed to observe the effects on whole plants and communities. Hotter conditions would probably cancel out benefits of higher CO2.”
We are currently advertising for a three-year postdoctoral position in Terrestrial Ecosystem Modelling. http://j.mp/HIE-Modeller The aim of this position is help us develop a new vegetation model focused on Australian woody ecosystems, capitalising on the amazing datasets available here at HIE. It’s a great opportunity! Please contact me for further information.
We’re very pleased to welcome Chris Williams, from Clarke University, who will be with us on sabbatical for the next 9 months. Chris is here on a HIE Research Exchange and will be working with us on modelling ecosystem responses to drought, evaluating and improving models using some of the many datasets available through HIE research. We are looking forward very much to working with him!
Our university has changed name, from University of Western Sydney to Western Sydney University. Unfortunately our web addresses and emails had to change too! You can now find the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment here
and my new email address is b.medlyn – at – westernsydney.edu.au. My old email address should still work for a while.
We are very excited for PhD student Yaojie Lu, who has received a Visiting Graduate Student Fellowship Award to work at the the US National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (Nimbios). Lu will spend 2 months working with Nimbios Postdoctoral Fellow Caroline Farrior on modelling competitively optimal stomatal behaviour. Congratulations Lu!
I’ll be putting news from our research group onto this page. The main news this week is that I have finally got this new website up and running – only 5 months after my move to the Hawkesbury Institute!