Doctor Rebecca Vandegeer

Dr Rebecca Vandegeer joined the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Plant-Herbivore Interactions in September 2017. She is currently working with Dr Scott Johnson, Prof. David Tissue and Prof. Sue Hartley (University of York) on the ARC Discovery project: “Down to earth defence: unlocking silicon-derived defences for plant protection”. This project will investigate the role of silicon uptake in the resistance of grasses to drought and insect herbivory, and how these relate to changes in plant physiology and biochemistry.

Dr Vandegeer’s research interests involve plant physiological and biochemical responses to biotic and abiotic factors, including insects, pathogens, water-stress and elevated CO2.

Dr Vandegeer completed her PhD in 2016 with the University of Melbourne and Agriculture Victoria, under the supervision of Prof. Michael Tausz and Dr Kevin Powell. Her project investigated the response of antioxidant defence systems during insect-borne virus infection of wheat grown under elevated CO2, as part of the Australian Grains Free Air CO2 Enrichment (AGFACE) project.

Dr Vandegeer has also previously investigated plant defence responses (particularly, cyanogenic glucosides) of cassava to drought, during a research project with Monash University.

Areas of research

Plant physiology, plant biochemistry, climate change biology, drought, elevated CO2, photosynthesis, plant-insect interactions, entomology, plant virology, antioxidant defence systems, plant defence.

Selected publications

Vandegeer RK, Tissue DT, Hartley SE, Glauser G, Johnson SN, (2020) 'Physiological acclimation of a grass species occurs during sustained but not repeated drought events', Environmental and Experimental Botany, vol.171, Article no.103954

Hall CR, Waterman JM, Vandegeer RK, Hartley SE, Johnson SN, (2019) 'The Role of Silicon in Antiherbivore Phytohormonal Signalling', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.10, Article no.1132

Trębicki P, Vandegeer RK, Bosque-Pérez NA, Powell KS, Dáder B, Freeman AJ, Yen AL, Fitzgerald GJ, Luck JE, (2016) 'Virus infection mediates the effects of elevated CO2 on plants and vectors', Scientific Reports, vol.6, Article no.22785

Vandegeer RK, Powell KS, Tausz M, (2016) 'Barley yellow dwarf virus infection and elevated CO2 alter the antioxidants ascorbate and glutathione in wheat), Journal of Plant Physiology, vol.199, pp 96-99

Vandegeer R, Miller RE, Bain M, Gleadow RM, Cavagnaro TR, (2013) 'Drought adversely affects tuber development and nutritional quality of the staple crop cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz)', Functional Plant Biology, vol.40, pp 195-200