Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) is a long-term perennial crop of great economic importance in South-East Asia and the Pacific, including in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. It provides much-needed income to large plantations and smallholders. Basal stem rot (BSR), caused by the fungus Ganoderma boninense, poses a major threat to the oil palm industry, with BSR incidence increasing with each successive planting. The only viable long-term method of controlling BSR is to implement improved cultural practices and use more resistant planting material.

This research aims to find markers linked to various phenotypic traits, including susceptibility to BSR, and to further understanding of Ganoderma–oil palm interactions. Multiple project topics are available.

Location: St Lucia

Expected outcomes: depending on the final project, skills and knowledge in gene sequencing, bioinformatics, transcriptomics, microscopy, aspects of plant defence, plant-fungal interaction and others

Supervisors: Dr Agnieszka Mudge

Before you apply: contact the primary supervisor for more details

Project members