Projects

With an incredible track record of successful growth since our beginnings in 2011, the Hawkesbury Institute now leads large-scale initatives across the enviromental, life sciences and agricultural sciences agenda.

Six projects commencing in 2017-18 are investigating how plants challenged by environmental change and herbivore attack (above- and belowground) could benefit from plant silicon.
African Beetles
"Stingless bees as effective managed pollinators for Australian horticulture" aims to explore opportunities to protect native bees and honeybees by better understanding which ones contribute to different crops' pollination, and to develop ways to better provide pollinating insects with the right food sources to thrive under different crops and in different seasons.
Pollinator 150
The Which Plant Where, When and Why Database project is a program of research that will result in a new database tool to ensure that landscape plantings can account for current and future climate scenarios to grow Australian urban greenspace in coming decades. Backed by a five-year research program, this tool will enable plant selectors to select plants with the features they need tested under the climatic conditions they will live with in coming decades.
Greening Cities 150

Within the PAstures and Climate Extreme (PACE) research program, researchers will be testing combinations of plant species, rainfall additions or exclusions (drought), warming from infra-red heat lamps and the performance of pasture systems under future predicted climate scenarios.

Warming MLA 150
The next phase of this project running from August 2017 to August 2018 is to take the results to audiences around Australia.

This will include workshops and events in six cities/regions and production of a technical guide document that can help tree selectors make better decisions about tree quality based on data from the field surveys conducted in the first phase of the project.

Container 150
Dr. Kristine Crous has been awarded an ARC DECRA to investigate how rainforest trees will cope with climate warming. This project focuses on how rainforest species in Australia will respond to climate variability via linking the acclimation potential of species at the warmest edge of their distribution to climate, in order to inform future distribution ranges and species resiliency.
Rainforest 150
A/Prof Sathaa A Sathasivan and Professor Brajesh Singh from the Global Centre for Land-Based Innovation is working to improve our ability to disinfect the drinking water supplies of more than seven million Australians in a new ARC Linkage project, "Smart Management of Disinfectant in Chloraminated Water Supplies".
Water Pipe 150
Dr Uffe Nielsen and Professor Brajesh Singh are investigating how past rainfall variability influences the plant, invertebrate and microbial communities of Australia's extensive dryland ecosystems and their responses to altered rainfall regimes in a new Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery project.
Spinifex-150
Dr Ben Moore is leading a new ARC Linkage project to investigate how the microbial communities inside koalas' digestive systems influence the health and wellbeing of koalas particularly after koalas are moved into new areas.
Koala 150
Yellow Canopy Syndrome is a condition affecting sugarcane crops in Queensland. Symptoms are broad and non-specific and include yellowing, poor yields and low productivity. The cause is not known and researchers from HIE have been asked to investigate this condition by using advanced genomics, molecular and sequencing technologies.
Yellow Cane 110
Professor Brajesh Singh and Dr Catriona Macdonald are leading a new project with CRC CARE to develop a framework for using biological methods such as bacteria and fungi to efficiently remediate and decontaiminate soils using advanced molecular, bioinformatics and genomics techniques.
Contamination 150
The project is an international collaboration supported through funding from the Australian Government's Australian Biological Resources Study National Taxonomy Research Grant Program and will explore ambrosia beetle and associated microbial diversity to identify critical pests and pathogenic fungi and bacteria...
Ambrosia Beetle 110
Many plants form complex relationships around their roots with fungi which form mutually beneficial partnerships between the plants and the fungi. This project seeks to determine the levels of benefits for plants from these partnerships which may have implications for future plant and crop productivity.
Arbuscular Mycorrhizae
This study involves a pioneering field experiment to test the effects of elevated CO2, providing the first strong evidence on how water savings induced by increased CO2 alter the abundance of grasses and shrubs (promote "woody thickening", in other words) and affect woodlands flammability.
EucFACE Shrub And Grass Growth
The projected average Australian climate warming of 3°C by 2070 represents a shift in climate equivalent to moving 900 km from Sydney to Brisbane. As forest trees cannot migrate fast enough to avoid these unprecedented increases in temperature, the resiliency of Australian forests to climate warming will depend on their capacity to physiologically adjust to higher temperatures.
Hawkesbury Forest With Chambers
Grasses are relatively tolerant of above-ground herbivory but usually also fight back using a variety of mechanisms, including toughness, toxicity and bodyguards. This project will investigate whether grasses respond in the same way when attacked belowground. It will consider these three types of defence mechanisms across a range of grasses to identify the underlying reasons for the different root defensive strategies employed.
African Beetles
Many eucalypts form associations with different and diverse groups of fungi, a trait shared by only a few significant tree species. We don't fully understand the benefits that eucalypt trees derive from these associations. We will explain the basis for the diversity of fungi involved and determine whether trees will make greater demands of their 'partners' in future climates.
Arbuscular Mycorrhizae