There's increasing evidence that when plants are grown, bred and selected in exotic ecosystems, away from their native ecosystems, they have depauperate endophytic mycobiota compared to their native counterpart, making them vulnerable to their natural enemies. Current commercial macadamia varieties were re-introduced to Australia from the selections made overseas, and are potentially devoid of the specialist protective endophytes. Consequently, they're more susceptible to endemic and newly introduced exotic pathogens. This scenario confers a conundrum to the host-pathogen interactions of the re-introduced and native germplasm. Novel diseases are emerging and the trend shows no signs of abating. Recent extreme weather events exacerbate the dynamics and threat posed by endemic or introduced biotic agents.

This project will unravel the endophytic and endogenous microbes in an Australian native subtropical tree crop.

Location: St Lucia and Gatton

Expected outcomes: advanced plant science and molecular skills, and the chance to contribute to publications from the research

Supervisors: Dr Femi Akinsanmi (QAAFI)

Before you apply: contact the primary supervisor for more details