Katie Broughton is the recipient of one of the 2012 DAFF Science and Innovation Awards

23 March 2012

Katie Broughton, one of our PhD students, attended the Outlook 2012 conference from 6-7 March in Canberra, where she received a Cotton Research and Development Corporation Award for the 2012 Science and Innovation Award for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Working with CSIRO, and the Universities of Sydney and Western Sydney Katie is investigating how projected climatic changes affect cotton physiology and production in Australia. Related research is being conducted in Lubbock, USA, with scientists looking at the impact of water deficits and future climate change impacts using field-based trials. Her research so far has focused on glasshouse experiments however; one challenge is to compare findings with what occurs in the field. This project will allow her to collaborate with cotton physiologists in the US and learn to use specialised whole-plant field chambers with the intention of using these chambers in Australia for climate change studies. Specifically this will enable investigations to be conducted under Australian field conditions, using our cotton varieties, providing improved insights into how future environments (e.g. high temperature, high atmospheric vapour pressure deficits) will impact the Australian cotton industry such that appropriate adaptation strategies can be developed.

For this project, Katie will travel to the USA during their cotton season to work with plant physiologists (Dr Paxton Payton, Dr James Mahan, and Dr Jeff Baker) with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). She will participate in experiments being undertaken Lubbock, Texas which are focusing on the effects of water stress and modification of Vapour Pressure Deficits (VPD) on U.S. cotton varieties and agricultural systems. These are different to Australian cotton production in terms of varieties, soil type and methods of irrigation. She will work with the scientists to learn how to use the whole plant chambers that are currently being used for plant stress and climate research. At the same time she plans to understand the construction and operation of these whole plant chambers, which will enable me to bring this technology back to Australia. Katie says that: "During the course of this project we will construct our own chambers and use them on climate change experiments in the 2012/2013 Australian cotton season on our own cotton varieties and agricultural system."

Licor 6400 used to measure leaf gas exchange
Licor 6400 used to measure leaf gas exchange

Experiments during the 2012/2013 Australian cotton season will be conducted at the Australian Cotton Research Institute (ACRI) Narrabri, NSW, where Katie will be working with scientists from CSIRO (Dr Michael Bange), the University of Western Sydney (Prof David Tissue) and the University of Sydney (Dr Daniel Tan and Prof Jeff Amthor). These experiments will use the whole plant chambers to modify the environment of cotton in the field during critical developmental stages, with water stress treatments, and different sowing times.

Contact: Dr Daniel Tan

Phone: 02 8627 1052

Email: 0c35565c5c01600d3307371e152557200c7e3f322f421707