Lead Chief Investigator: Jim Weller, The University of Tasmania

Collaborating Chief Investigators: Tim Brodribb, Graeme Hammer, Ian Wright, Robert Henry, David Jordan


Our aim is to understand the impact of domestication on how plants manage water, discover the extent to which adaptations are conserved, and discern any phylogenetic patterns to this conservation if present.  

We will also examine how key beneficial genetic variants for other traits, such as phenology and growth habit, may indirectly or secondarily influence water management, and understand the constraints that this may impose on the plant’s overall performance. 

Our research will inform the modelling of plant mechanism–network interactions from a functional and crop perspective.  

Our approach

We will characterise the functional basis for changes to plant water use by examining a diverse range of relevant plant anatomical traits and physiological responses in a diverse range of crop species, comparing wild and domesticated forms.  

Through detailed functional and genetic analyses, we will explore the conservation and divergence of changes in water management through crop evolution at different phylogenetic scales, and discern any phylogenetic patterns to this conservation if present.  

Subsequent genetic analysis of selected/key traits in selected systems will define the genes and gene interactions that underlie these adaptations.