Pasture systems ecology and climate extremes
Increased severity of drought and heat waves – key climate change predictions - will affect global food and livestock production via changes in plant physiology and, ultimately, productivity and nutrition. Understanding plant response to future changes in climate is critical for developing climate-smart pasture systems to sustain livestock farming in the coming decades. Flexible carbon allocation strategies, including morphological and biochemical adjustments to root systems, represent a key mechanism by which plants can adapt to changes in the biotic and abiotic environment. Knowledge of how pasture species respond to warming and altered rainfall regimes in terms of their belowground carbon allocation strategies is central for understanding how pasture systems will perform under future, more extreme climates. My PhD research will examine how key Australian pasture grasses differ in their morphological and biochemical (osmotic) responses to extreme drought and heat waves, and whether these strategies relate to their ability to resist and recover from the effects of severe climate stress.
Prof. Sally Power, Prof. Mark Tjoelker, Prof. Elise Pendall