Madeline Carins Murphy

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Madeline Carins-Murphy

Postdoctoral Fellow

Room 267 , Life Sciences Building

+61 3 6226 2599 (phone)

+61 3 6226 2698 (fax)

Dr Madeline Carins-Murphy is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the School of Natural Sciences. Her research is focused on the vulnerability of the plant internal water transport system to environmental stress. She is particularly interested in the impact of drought and heat on plant productivity, reproduction and mortality which is of critical importance for understanding how both natural vegetation and crops will respond to projected climate change. Her research has established fundamental structure-function relationships in leaves and flowers that reflect the central role of water transport in plant acclimation, adaptation and evolution. In her current postdoctoral position, she is actively developing the use of novel real-time imaging techniques to monitor water stress and damage to living plants in the field.


During her PhD (2011-2015) under the supervision of Professors Tim Brodribb and Greg Jordan at the School of Natural Sciences (University of Tasmania), she showed that the spatial relationships between 1) leaf cells and 2) structures that regulate water delivery (veins) and water loss (stomata) are such as to maximise carbon gain through uptake of CO2, while minimising carbon investment in leaf infrastructure. This fine-tuning of water transport to match demand underpins plant acclimation, adaptation, and evolution – as evidenced by the conservation of these relationships across different growing conditions, species, and plant groups. These discoveries inform projections concerning past plant function and future responses to climate change.

Since completing her PhD, she has held a postdoctoral position at the University of Tasmania in Prof Brodribb’s research group investigating plant-stress damage thresholds using novel imaging techniques (the “optical technique” and X-ray microtomography). Success in gaining funding for an ARC Linkage Project in 2018 has allowed her to continue this line of research. Since then she has been working with industry partners (a local horticultural business) to deliver research outcomes to local growers and answer fundamental questions about plant water and heat stress physiology.

Career summary


2010 B.Sc. (1st Class Hons.) Plant Science, University of Tasmania

2016 Ph.D. ‘Cell expansion coordinates leaf vein and stomatal density’, University of Tasmania

View more on Miss Madeline Carins-Murphy in WARP

Research Themes

Madeline's research aims to measure and predict the impact of drought and heat events on plant productivity, reproduction and mortality. Research outcomes seek to provide new tools for growers and land managers to continuously monitor plant stress allowing precise interventions (i.e. by irrigation) during heat and drought. Potential outcomes will also inform the selection of crops and genotypes to build resilience against hot and dry conditions.


  • Drought physiology
  • Vascular function
  • Plant Hydraulics
  • Xylem evolution
  • Leaf vein evolution
  • Stomatal function
  • Stomatal evolution

Fields of Research

  • Plant physiology (310806)
  • Ecological physiology (310303)
  • Plant developmental and reproductive biology (310804)
  • Agronomy (300403)
  • Biological adaptation (310403)
  • Crop and pasture biochemistry and physiology (300404)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences (280111)
  • Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem) (190101)
  • Ecosystem adaptation to climate change (190102)
  • Management of water consumption by plant production (260104)
  • Horticultural crops (260599)
  • Terrestrial biodiversity (180606)
  • Wheat (260312)
  • Barley (260301)
  • Grains and seeds (260399)
  • Terrestrial systems and management (180699)


Total publications


Journal Article

(16 outputs)
2020Bourbia I, Carins-Murphy MR, Gracie AJ, Brodribb TJ, 'Xylem cavitation isolates leaky flowers during water stress in pyrethrum', New Phytologist, 227, (1) pp. 146-155. ISSN 0028-646X (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/nph.16516 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 13Web of Science - 14

Co-authors: Bourbia I; Gracie AJ; Brodribb TJ


2020Gauthey A, Peters JMR, Carins-Murphy MR, Rodriguez-Dominguez CM, Li X, et al., 'Visual and hydraulic techniques produce similar estimates of cavitation resistance in woody species', New Phytologist pp. 1-14. ISSN 0028-646X (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/nph.16746 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 25Web of Science - 25

Co-authors: Rodriguez-Dominguez CM; Brodribb TJ


2020Hope E, Carins-Murphy MR, Hudson C, Baxter L, Gracie A, 'Opium poppy capsule growth and alkaloid production is constrained by shade during early floral development', Annals of Applied Biology, 176, (3) pp. 296-307. ISSN 0003-4746 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/aab.12581 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 53

Co-authors: Hope E; Gracie A


2020Johnson KM, Brodersen C, Carins-Murphy MR, Choat B, Brodribb TJ, 'Xylem embolism spreads by single-conduit events in three dry forest angiosperm stems', Plant Physiology, 184, (1) pp. 212-222. ISSN 0032-0889 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1104/pp.20.00464 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 22Web of Science - 23

Co-authors: Johnson KM; Brodribb TJ


2020Peters JMR, Gauthey A, Lopez R, Carins-Murphy MR, Brodribb TJ, et al., 'Non-invasive imaging reveals convergence in root and stem vulnerability to cavitation across five tree species', Journal of Experimental Botany Article eraa381. ISSN 0022-0957 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/jxb/eraa381 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 12

Co-authors: Brodribb TJ


2019Choat B, Nolf M, Lopez R, Peters JMR, Carins-Murphy MR, et al., 'Non-invasive imaging shows no evidence of embolism repair after drought in tree species of two genera', Tree Physiology, 39, (1) pp. 113-121. ISSN 0829-318X (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpy093 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 26Web of Science - 26

Co-authors: Brodribb TJ


2019Torres-Ruiz JM, Kremer A, Carins Murphy MR, Brodribb T, Lamarque LJ, et al., 'Genetic differentiation in functional traits among European sessile oak populations', Tree Physiology, 39, (10) pp. 1736-1749. ISSN 0829-318X (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/treephys/tpz090 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 24Web of Science - 23

Co-authors: Brodribb T


2018Rodriguez-Dominguez CM, Carins-Murphy MR, Lucani C, Brodribb TJ, 'Mapping xylem failure in disparate organs of whole plants reveals extreme resistance in olive roots', New Phytologist, 218, (3) pp. 1025-1035. ISSN 1469-8137 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/nph.15079 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 73Web of Science - 69

Co-authors: Rodriguez-Dominguez CM; Lucani C; Brodribb TJ


2018Zhang F-P, Carins-Murphy MR, Cardoso AA, Jordan GJ, Brodribb TJ, 'Similar geometric rules govern the distribution of veins and stomata in petals, sepals and leaves', New Phytologist, 219, (4) pp. 1224-1234. ISSN 1469-8137 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/nph.15210 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 25Web of Science - 26

Co-authors: Cardoso AA; Jordan GJ; Brodribb TJ


2017Brodribb TJ, McAdam SAM, Carins Murphy MR, 'Xylem and stomata, coordinated through time and space', Plant, Cell and Environment, 40, (6) pp. 872-880. ISSN 0140-7791 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/pce.12817 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 67Web of Science - 67

Co-authors: Brodribb TJ; McAdam SAM


2017Carins Murphy MR, Jordan GJ, Brodribb TJ, 'Ferns are less dependent on passive dilution by cell expansion to coordinate leaf vein and stomatal spacing than angiosperms', PLoS One, 12, (9) Article e0185648. ISSN 1932-6203 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185648 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Jordan GJ; Brodribb TJ


2017Carins-Murphy MR, Dow GJ, Jordan GJ, Brodribb TJ, 'Vein density is independent of epidermal cell size in Arabidopsis mutants', Functional Plant Biology, 44, (4) pp. 410-418. ISSN 1445-4408 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/FP16299 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 8

Co-authors: Jordan GJ; Brodribb TJ


2017McAdam SAM, Eleouet MP, Best M, Brodribb TJ, Carins Murphy M, et al., 'Linking auxin with photosynthetic rate via leaf venation', Plant Physiology, 175, (1) pp. 351-360. ISSN 0032-0889 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1104/pp.17.00535 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 27Web of Science - 29

Co-authors: McAdam SAM; Best M; Brodribb TJ; Cook SD; Dimitriou T; Gelinas-Marion A; Gill WM; Maconochie M; McAdam EL; McGuiness P; Nichols DS; Ross JJ; Sussmilch FC; Urquhart S


2016Carins Murphy MR, Jordan GJ, Brodribb TJ, 'Cell expansion not cell differentiation predominantly co-ordinates veins and stomata within and among herbs and woody angiosperms grown under sun and shade', Annals of Botany, 118, (6) pp. 1127-1138. ISSN 0305-7364 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcw167 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 50Web of Science - 50

Co-authors: Jordan GJ; Brodribb TJ


2014Carins Murphy MR, Jordan GJ, Brodribb TJ, 'Acclimation to humidity modifies the link between leaf size and the density of veins and stomata', Plant, Cell and Environment, 37, (1) pp. 124-131. ISSN 1365-3040 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/pce.12136 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 140Web of Science - 127

Co-authors: Jordan GJ; Brodribb TJ


2012Carins Murphy MR, Jordan GJ, Brodribb TJ, 'Differential leaf expansion can enable hydraulic acclimation to sun and shade', Plant, Cell and Environment, 35, (8) pp. 1407-1418. ISSN 0140-7791 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2012.02498.x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 117Web of Science - 107

Co-authors: Jordan GJ; Brodribb TJ


Research Supervision




PhDPlant Whispers: Monitoring plant water potential to quantify plant water needs and health status during drought2018
PhDLinking Heat, Drought and Plant Damage Through Hydraulic Failure in Trees2019
PhDHydraulics of the Plant Reproductive System2021