Congratulations Tim!

Congratulations to Tim Maher for being awarded his Masters (Research), and for achieving a top-band also. Time’s thesis was titled “Withstanding heat waves: Proteomic analysis of adaptive thermotolerance in Eucalyptus grandis seedlings”. His supervisor team consisted of Rachael Gallagher, Mehdi Mirzaei and Ian Wright.

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Rachael awarded an ARC DECRA!!

Hearty congratulations to Rachael Gallagher who has been awarded a prestigious 3-year Discovery Early Career Researcher Award by the Australian Research Council. The title of Rachael’s proposal is  “Life on the edge: how species interactions shape range boundaries”.

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The new plant growth chambers have arrived!

Exciting times! In late 2015 we secured funding to replace a number of aging controlled-environment growth chambers with state-of-the-art Conviron chambers, replete with light, temperature, humidity and [CO2] control. The new chambers arrived today. Over the next few weeks these will be installed and this very important area of the Plant Growth Facility will be refurbished. This follows on from other major works carried out over the last year, including replacing glasshouse lighting systems with high-efficiency (and very bright) LED lights, and replacing aging glasshouse side-walls and roofs. Now, to do some research!


One of the chambers, arriving by crane


Masood (Facility Manager), modelling one of the new Conviron chambers


The beautiful pink glow of LED lighting

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Congratulations Saskia!

Hearty congratulations to Saskia Grootemaat who handed in her PhD thesis last week! Her thesis is titled “Plant traits and their effect on fire and decomposition”. Supervisors: Ian Wright, Hans Cornelissen (Vrije U.), Peter van Bodegom (U. Leiden).


L-R: Ian Wright, Saskia Grootemaat, Michelle Leishman (Head of Department).

Saskia James graduation

James Lawson, Anthony Manea (PIREL lab) and Saskia Grootemaat in their graduation day finery.

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Welcome René!

René Heim is a new PhD candidate jointly enrolled at Macquarie University and U. Hamburg. His research combines spectral vegetation sensing, data mining, phytopathology and plant functional ecology. René will initially focus on the invasive rust Puccinia psidii (Myrtle Rust), a threat to the native plant family Myrtaceae and to many Australian ecosystems, and to the economy. René has his own blogsite here.


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Rachael wins a NSW Young Tall Poppy Award!

Huge congratulations to Rachael Gallagher for being awarded a NSW Young Tall Poppy Award. See MQ news piece here. The Tall Poppy awards , run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS), recognise and celebrate intellectual and scientific excellence among Australia’s early career researchers, and also talent and passion for communication. As such, Rachael will spend a year sharing her knowledge with school students, teachers and the broader community through workshops, seminars and public lectures.

2015-10-21-18.50.49 NSW Tall Poppy photo 2015 (with Rachael G)

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Science at the Shine Dome 2015

Rachael and Ian recently attended “Science at the Shine Dome 2015”, an anual event and 3-day talkfest at the Australian Academy of Sciences where new Fellows are inducted in to the Academy, various early- and mid-career research (EMCR) awards are made, prizewinners give talks about their research, and EMCRs participate in a range of workshops. Ian was awarded the 2015 Fenner Medal – an award recognising distinguised research in biology, commemorating the outstanding contributions to Australian science by the late Professor FJ Fenner (who, among other things, oversaw the use of Myxoma virus to control plague rabbit populations). Here’s Rachael and Ian looking their fancy best at the annual black-tie dinner: DSC_1120 … and Ian attempting to describe global variation in leaf size to a general science audience:

“Science at the Shine Dome” Day two, Canberra on May 26, 2015. PHOTO: MARK GRAHAM

… and the 1950s sci-fi beauty of the Shine Dome at night: DSC_1110


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