PIA recipients and students at Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Natascha Weinberger and Ximena Cibils-Stewart both stayed in Adelaide while they completed their experiments using AM fungi (Arbuscular mycorrhizal). Natascha (front) is from Austria and working on mycorrhiza-induced resistance. She’s looking at using different species and combinations of mycorrhizal to see how they affect growth, the plant’s defence against pathogens and what the trade-offs are. Working with micro tomatoes (microtoms) Natascha is using imaging and hyperspec to see how they respond. “It’s really cool to have imaging over time to look at.”

Ximena (at the rear) is from Uruguay where she works at the National Institute for Agricultural Research as an entomology-scientist. In her third year of a PhD at WSU’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Ximena is interested in the interactions between tall fescue and perennial ryegrass, the endophytic fungi (Epichloe) that live in the grass leaves, and silicon uptake. Ximena has already shown that the fungi not only protect the grass from insects, it also increases the uptake of silicon which makes leaves tougher for chewing insects.

We are glad you enjoyed your time with the APPF.