Plants must maintain the turgor of their cells in order to grow and retain the rigidity and structural integrity of tissues and organs, including leaves. Loss of cell turgor during dehydration causes wilting, and at some critical point tissue death. Plants can increase cell turgor by increasing the osmotic content of their cells, including via the uptake and accumulation of sugars, driving the uptake of water via osmosis. The capacity for a plant to maintain cell turgor pressure under water deficit is strongly correlated with drought tolerance.
The aim of this project is to understand the evolution and function of mechanisms for osmoregulation, allowing success in natural and agricultural systems. This project will incorporate physiological approaches to investigate the relative capacity of diverse, evolutionarily-distant land plant groups to regulate cell turgor under water deficit, in addition to genetic approaches in key model land plant species to determine how this process is regulated at a molecular level.
This project will be associated with the UTAS node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture, and co-supervised by Prof. Tim Brodribb and Steve Smith.
Prospective applicants should contact the primary supervisor – Dr Frances Sussmilch (Frances.Sussmilch@utas.edu.au).
To apply for this job email your details to Frances.Sussmilch@utas.edu.au