Professor Mark Adams
I believe that real solutions to environmental problems are in the bush. I think that the best way to conserve natural resources is by using them wisely.
My current research interests include:
- Adaptation of plants to stress – mechanisms by which plants adapt to extremes of temperature, salinity and to high CO2;
- Productivity – carbon use efficiency of plants, nutrient requirements, photosynthesis, respiration;
- Water use by woody plants – especially application of stable isotopes and sap flow techniques for quantifying tree use of soil and groundwater sources of water and water-use efficiency;
- Fire and forest management – especially the effects of fire on the carbon balance of native forests.
I have made sustained, high quality, and clearly inter-disciplinary, contributions for the past 25 years. My laboratory has continued to be a place for developing original lines of inquiry.
My studies of nutrient cycling in native forests elucidated many of the key processes that govern and regulate the availability of nitrogen and phosphorus in particular, and roles of fire thereon. That work culminated in several authoritative reviews and was the basis of what has become standard text (Forest Soils and Nutrient Cycles). Our research has shown that nitrogen allocation in native plants is seldom optimal for photosynthesis and that, instead, considerable leaf N is present largely in a storage role – commensurate with accepted strategies for coping with seasonal variation in N availability and with generally low N soils.
Water use by trees is now a critical issue in much of Australia. Our contributions to this field have revolved around our ability to accurately measure flow in xylem. This capability allowed us to demonstrate for the first time, the phenomenon of ‘reverse hydraulic lift’. The technology we developed is now licensed from UWA to the Australian Company, ICTInternational, and is sold and used in Europe, the USA and many other countries and regions. It has become a ‘gold standard’ amongst tree water use technologies.
Understanding the controls on exchanges of C among plants, soils and the atmosphere are key in assessing the likely impacts on the climate system and biosphere of rising CO2 and temperature. Our recent studies on likely controls of respiration and photosynthesis by trees are showing a clear way forward.
Mark Adams received his B.Sc. Honours and PhD From the University of Melbourne. Mark is currently Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Sydney. He has held Professorial appointments at the University of Western Australia, the University of Melbourne, and most recently at UNSW. Mark publishes widely with a focus on sustainability and biogeochemistry of natural and managed ecosystems. His published work includes more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, a major text on nutrition of eucalypts, and many commissioned reports for governments and industries. He led the first state-based assessment of forest carbon stocks, conducted for the then State Electricity Commission of Victoria and published in the Australian Journal of Botany in 1992. He was also responsible for the carbon component of the assessment of Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management for the WA State Government as part of expert panels between 1998 and 2003.
Mark has been the recipient of a range of fellowships and awards in Australia (QEII Fellowship), France (Bede Morris Fellowship), NZ (Erskine Fellowship) and Germany (Alexander Von Humboldt Fellowship, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award). A passionate believer in “conservation through use”, Mark enjoys working with postgraduate students and with people who live on and work the land. In addition to tropical and temperate Australian forests, woodlands, and grasslands, Mark has conducted research in Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Kenya as well as in Europe, the UK and the USA.
In 2006 he finished a six-year term as a member of the Board of Trustees for the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) at Nairobi, Kenya and as the ICRAF trustee on the board of the Centre for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia. He works closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency on developing stable isotope techniques suitable for assessing the sustainability of land management in developing countries.
- Maleknia SD, Bell TL, Adams MA (2009). Eucalypt smoke and wildfires: temperature dependent emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds. International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, (doi:10.1016/ j.ijms.2008.10.027) 279, Issues 2-3, 126-133
- McIntyre RES, Adams MA, Ford DJ, and Grierson PF (2009). Rewetting and litter addition influences mineralisation and microbial communities in soils from a semi-arid intermittent stream. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 41, 92 – 101.
- Winters AJ, Adams MA, Bleby TM, Rennenberg H, Steigner D, Steinbrecher R, and Kreuzwieser J (2009). Emissions of isoprene, monoterpenes and short-chained carbonyl compounds from Eucalyptus spp. in southern Australia. Atmospheric Environments 43, Issue 19, 3035-3043.
- Kruse J and Adams MA (2008). Foliar nitrogen as a predictor of respiration rate and efficiency during growth and maintenance. Global Change Biology 14, 1233 - 1251.
- Kruse J and Adams MA (2008) Integrating two physiological approaches helps relate respiration to growth of Pinus radiata. New Phytologist 180, 841 – 852.
- Cullen LE, Adams MA, Anderson MJ and Grierson PF (2008). Analysis of d13C and d18O in tree rings of Callitris glaucophylla provides evidence of a region-wide increase in rainfall and stomatal control of photosynthesis. Tree Physiology 28, 1525 – 1533.
- Attiwill PM and Adams MA (2008). Harnessing forest ecological sciences in the service of stewardship and sustainability. A perspective from ‘down-under’. Forest Ecology and Management 256, 1636 – 1645.
- Kruse J, Hopmans P and Adams MA (2008). Temperature responses are a window to the physiology of dark respiration: Differences between CO2 release and O2 reduction shed light on energy conservation. Plant, Cell and Environment 31, 901 – 914.
- Kruse J and Adams MA (2008). Three parameters comprehensively describe the temperature response of respiratory oxygen reduction. Plant, Cell and Environment 31, 954 - 967.