Prerequisites

BSc (or equivalent) with an overall GPA of 4 and a GPA of at least 4.5 over #8 of late year courses from Part B of the BSc List relevant to the chosen field, and satisfy any additional requirements set by the Head of School.

Description:

Organic pollutants such as pesticides and hydrocarbons are associated with environmental degradation and are often slow to decompose. In this project you will monitor the degradation rates of organic pollutants in soils amended with a range of novel materials that may accelerate decomposition. This important work may identify ways to speed up the removal of organic pollutants from soils and help to protect the environment.

Location: St Lucia
You can expect to achieve:

Experience in and knowledge of state-of-the-art methods in soil and microbial sciences that may be applied to broader ecological fields as well as industry.

Primary supervisor: Dr Paul Dennis | Email
Prior to applying:

Contact primary supervisor for more information about the project (either for undergraduate or postgraduate projects).

 

Description: Eleocharis difformis and Eleocharis ochrostachys are aquatic sedges in coastal wallum wetlands with morphology but different distribution across SEQLD and northern NSW. The project will refine the morphological characters to confirm their current distribution and habitat preference, with existing specimens and collection of new specimens. Molecular genetics and traditional taxonomy will be used in collaboration with scientists from the Queensland Herbarium and Queensland Science Department.
Location: Contact primary supervisor
You can expect to achieve: Insight into plant ecology and taxonomy with view of biodiversity management and conservation at the interface of university and government.
Primary supervisor: Professor Susanne Schmidt | Email and Dr Lyn Cook | Email
Prior to applying:

Contact primary supervisor for more information about the project (email, in person)

Supervisor's research interests/group: Plant Ecophysiology; genetics, conservation.
Description:

Banana’s are one of Queensland’s main agricultural products. Microorganisms influence the health and nutrition of banana’s but the identities of microbes that live in association with banana’s are largely unknown. In his project we will apply high throughput sequencing technologies to characterise the banana microbiome and its role in plant growth promotion and disease prevention.

Location: St Lucia
Expected outcomes:

Experience in and knowledge of state-of-the-art methods in plant and microbial sciences that may be applied to broader ecological fields as well as industry.

Primary supervisor: Dr Paul Dennis | Email
Prior to applying:

Contact primary supervisor for more information about the project (either for undergraduate or postgraduate projects).

Description:

Beneficial microbes are a hot topic as many crops produce lower yields than expected because detrimental soil organisms reduce plant vigour and growth. The project builds on our extensive microbe collection to identify beneficial microbes that enhance plant growth or control soil-borne pests (e.g. root-damaging nematodes) with view of effective bio-fertilisers for broad acre crops and horticulture.

Location: St Lucia, field trips to research sites in Queensland, collaborating companies (Italy, The Netherlands)
Expected outcomes:

Insight into microbe-plant-pathogen interactions with industry-relevant research as microbial products are increasingly considered a vital component of crop systems based on ecological principles rather than agrochemicals. Collaboration with university researchers and industry practitioners in an expanding field of global relevance. Preparation for profession in research, industry or government.

Primary supervisor:

Professor Susanne Schmidt | Email and Dr Jay Anderson

Prior to applying:

Contact primary supervisor for more information about the project (email, in person).

Supervisor's research interests/group: Plant Nutrition and Ecophysiology; NextGen fertilisers; soil function and biology; Sustainable land use; agriculture based on ecological principles. 

 

Description:

High input of fertilisers causes pollution; this project explores sugarcane varieties with aim to identify those with a superior ability to acquire nitrogen from fertilisers and soil and to use nitrogen for crucial processes once acquire. The project is aligned with international efforts to select and breed crops that are not only high-yielding and disease resistant but that are also resource use efficient to achieve high-production, low-input agriculture.

Location:

Brisbane, possible field trip to north QLD

You can expect to achieve:

Understanding of sugarcane physiology, laboratory and field techniques, concepts relating to resource use efficient crops, plant-soil-fertiliser interactions, collaboration with sugarcane industry and preparation for profession in agro-industries and research.

Primary supervisor:

Professor Susanne Schmidt - Email

Prior to applying:

Contact primary supervisor for more information about the project.

Supervisor's research interests/group:

Plant Nutrition and Ecophysiology; agriculture based on ecological principles.

 

Description:

The Lockyer Valley has an extensive vegetable production industry. Among the crops grown, leafy vegetables such as lettuce are prone to leaf spotting diseases which ruin their market value. Research on management methods based on microbial (probiotic) solutions could help to identify alternatives to the use of synthetic fungicides.

Disease models include: Lettuce anthracnose, and cucurbit powdery mildew.

Location: Gatton
You can expect to achieve: Students undertaking a project in this area will assist with an experienced team to design the project which will contribute to pre-existing investigations. They will gain an understanding of how research is carried out and gain an insight into crop productions and disease management processes. Skills learned will include the design and conduct of field trials, collection and analyses of research data. This research will also be supported by the research and development team of Multikraft Australia and Multikraft (Europe).
Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Vic Galea | Email
Prior to applying: Contact primary supervisor for more information about the project (either undergraduate or postgraduate projects)

 

Description: Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) is a pest of honey bees.  The larvae of this insect colonises bee hives where it destroys the honey comb, eats bee larvae and consumes pollen and honey.  Small hive beetle does have natural pests of its own.  Among these are a group of entomopathogenic (insect killing) fungi such as Metarhizium and Beauveria.  This project will investigate the effectiveness of these fungi to reduce the fitness of small hive beetle colonies. This work will build upon research initiated by Dr Diana Leemon (QDAF) who will be involved in this project.
Location: Gatton
You can expect to achieve: Research and discovery skills, problem solving and idea creation for a challenging problem.
Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Vic Galea | Email
Prior to applying: Contact the primary supervisor for more information about this project.
Supervisor's research group: Dr Diana Leemon (QDAF)
Project commencement subject to: 1st and 2nd semester
Description: Whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) is a major pest of greenhouse crops. They are largely resistant to many chemical pesticides and can be quite damaging to the plants on which they feed. The damage that they cause to high value greenhouse crops can significantly downgrade quality.  Whitefly are also responsible for transmitting plant viruses. Whitefly have been known to be affected by disease epidemics caused by a group of entomopathogenic (insect killing) fungi such as Metarhizium and Isaria.  This project will investigate the effectiveness of these fungi to reduce the fitness of whitefly. This work will build upon research initiated by Dr Diana Leemon (QDAF) who will be involved in this project.