September is Biodiversity Month, an opportunity to reflect and promote the importance of nature in all its diversity. Maintaining plant biodiversity in nature and increasing the diversity of agricultural crops are core aims of the Centre for Plant Success and we look forward to celebrating our achievements in this space in September each year.
It has been an exciting and successful time down here at the Tasmanian Node of the Centre for Plant Success. After much dust and destruction, we have a nice new home thanks to the renovation skills of Catherine Jones, our Node Administrator. The ‘moat’ around our state has proved an effective barrier to much of the upheaval suffered by many across the country, allowing projects and post-docs to start with minimal disruption. However, the great unknown regarding doctoral recruitment remains. Higher Degree Research students are the folk that will power the engine room of the Centre, so we wait patiently for an easing of travel restrictions to allow applicants to join us from overseas.
My experience of the first 6 months of the centre has continued a steep and fascinating learning curve. Great discussions ranging from the control of branching to the water relations of Marchantia have kept my head buzzing. It is very satisfying to see collaborative projects gradually migrating from the page (computer screen) to reality. Small seminar and discussion groups are a really productive way to make progress, but we are a large group, and it will take careful management to ensure that we don’t suffer a “big crunch” (collapsing under our own informational gravity). I look forward to hearing about others’ experiences in information sharing and cross-disciplinary collaboration at the upcoming Centre Research Retreat in November.
As the viral dust begins to clear across Australia I think we will be in a great position to ramp up our interactions and begin talking and sharing experiences outside of virtual meetings. I am really looking forward to being able to welcome you all to Tasmania sometime in the near future, where we can wander around the glasshouses at UTAS or the spectacular Gondwanan forests and poke a successful plant or two.
Professor Tim Brodribb
University of Tasmania Node Leader and Plant Success Program 2 Leader