Plant Stress Ecophysiology

Stressed Plants

Sharon Robinson Research Pages

Plant Stress Ecophysiology

Physiological techniques can help to answer many questions in ecology, conservation biology and agriculture. These research areas involve collaboration with colleagues at Wollongong (weed ecophysiology - Kris French, Mangroves and salt marshes - Todd Minchinton) and around Australia (Phylloxera DPI Victoria and CSIRO Land and Water).

Weed ecophysiology

What are the mechanisms that allow Bitou Bush to be such an aggressive weed in Coastal NSW?
See also Kris French scholars page

Mangroves and salt marshes

Why are Mangroves invading salt marshes?
see also Todd Minchinton scholars page

Plants and disease

Early detection of Phylloxera infestation in vines (with DPI Victoria and CSIRO Land and Water)

Grape phylloxera is a root-feeding pest of viticultural industries. In Australia, phylloxera infested vineyards are subjected to quarantine restrictions and early detection remains vital for the timely implementation of post-outbreak quarantine protocols.

Current detection methods rely on time-consuming ground surveying which involves detailed examination of grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) root systems. Leaf pigment composition is often a sensitive indicator of plant stress.

The increasing popularity of remote sensing systems, which exploit those changes in pigments observed with plant stress, offers a real possibility for the development of a phylloxera specific remote detection system. (see Blanchfield et al 2006).

Current students

Liza Smith - BSc Honours

Future opportunities for research

1. Early detection of Phylloxera infestation in vines using remote sensing
2. Early detection of Phylloxera infestation in vines using chlorophyll fluorescence and pigment composition
3. Does Bitou bush change alter nutrient cycling and light environment in coastal sun dune environments?
4. Does disturbance enhance Mangrove invasion into salt marshes?
5. How will climate change affect native - weed interactions?

Current publications

Blanchfield, A.L., Robinson, S.A., Renzullo, L., Powell, K.S. (2006) Can Leaf Pigment Composition help us identify Grapevines infested with Phylloxera? Functional Plant Biology 33 (in press).

Dunn, J.L., Turnbull, J.D., Robinson, S.A. (2004) Comparison of solvent regimes for the extraction of photosynthetic pigments from leaves of higher plants. Functional Plant Biology 31: 195-202? Paper in PDF (83k)

Robinson, S.A. (2001). Plant light stress. In Encyclopaedia of Life Sciences. Nature Publishing Group, London. London A1319 p5, ( pp5

Ruuska, S., von Caemmerer, S., Badger, M.R., Andrews, T.J., Price, G.D., Robinson, S.A. (2000) Xanthophyll cycle, light energy dissipation and electron transport in transgenic tobaccos with reduced carbon assimilation capacity. Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 27 289-300. (33%).

Fyfe, S.K., 2003. Spatial and temporal variation in spectral reflectance: are seagrass species spectrally distinct?, Limnology and Oceanography, Coastal Optics Special Issue, 48(1 part 2):464-479.

Ressom, H., S. Fyfe, P. Natarajan, & S. Sriranganam, 2003. Monitoring seagrass health using neural networks, Proceedings of the IEEE International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, Portland, USA, July 20-24, 2003, Vol 2, pp. 1019-1024.

Fyfe, S.K., & A.G. Dekker, 2001. Seagrass species: are they spectrally distinct?, Proceedings of the IEEE International Geosciences and Remote Sensing Symposium, Sydney, July 2001, Vol VI: 2740-2742.


*Seagrass Ocean Optics Poster (PDF 291k)