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My research is principally focussed on understanding plant responses to environmental factors within the context of increased sustainability and quality in crop production. My key interest is focused on the role of sunlight, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation in particular. Whilst plant responses to UV are numerous, comparatively little is understood regarding the possible exploitation of such endpoints to drive quality within modern crop production. Our research encompasses fundamental plant science, and the application of that knowledge through commercialisation pathways.
Our research is currently across three themes:
Understanding how plants respond to changes in their light environment is an important component of plant biology. We are interested in how photoreceptor systems and signalling networks regulate plant developmental characteristics and physiological responses, particularly those related to UV radiation. One key focus for our work is the importance and function of the UV-B plant photoreceptor, UVR8. This work is currently funded by the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
One of the largest challenges in global agriculture is enabling scientific knowledge to be translated into innovative agricultural practice. We have commercialised photobiological research into a Massey technology start-up company, BioLumic [biolumic.com], which is underpinning research into a range of topics, including the effects of UV radiation on plant pathogen and pest control, plant priming for enhanced quality and yield attributes, and algal farming innovation.
The significant increase in aspiring middle-class consumers during this century demands a pipeline of innovation for maximising productivity and quality of high-value horticultural produce. We are involved in several projects focused on maximising returns across New Zealand hort-sectors, including pipfruit, kiwifruit, wine production, and also manuka honey, which is currently funded by a Ministry of Primary Industries Primary Growth Partnership.
Resource Development and Management, Future Food Systems
Field of research codes
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences (070000):
Biological Sciences (060000):
Horticultural Production (070600):
Plant Biology (060700): Plant Cell and Molecular Biology (060702): Plant Physiology (060705)
Project Title: UV-B radiation as a master regulator of performance and leaf organ development in sunlight.
Date Range: 2014 - 2017
Funding Body: Royal Society of New Zealand
Main Supervisor of: