Impact of climatic conditions on fungal diseases of pyrethrum in Tasmania

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

6 March 2023

Campus

Burnie

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

Pyrethrum is a major horticultural crop in northern Tasmania.  The Australian pyrethrum industry, the majority of which is situated in Tasmania, is the largest supplier of the natural insecticides, pyrethrins, into the world market.  Disease management in pyrethum is a major concern.  Diseases such as ray blight and tan spot represent a major risk to yield and the industry’s ability consistently meet market production requirements.  Managing that disease also represents a major financial and environmental cost.  Therefore, any effort to reduce these costs without major disease yield losses would be beneficial.

Currently, a standard industry wide recommended spray program is deployed to manage disease.   However, anecdotal evidence from growers and results obtained from previous studies suggests that different growing regions are subject to different levels of disease pressure.  Additionally, the impact of fungal diseases on crop yields is highly dependent upon climatic conditions. It is suggested that if the risk of negative disease impacts is quantified relative to environmental conditions, disease control strategies could be refined for implementation the target control strategies.  This would lead to more effective and efficient fungicide applications, and an overall reduction in control costs by reducing fungicide sprays.

This project will investigate the effect of environmental factors such as temperature, moisture and light on disease outbreaks.  The components that drive disease outbreaks include, fungal growth, sporulation, plant host infection and host colonisation.  How the environmental conditions impact each of these components individual and/or as a system will be key questions for this project.  The work undertaken in this project will support a larger, Hort Innovation supported project, that aims to develop risk models and decision systems for the Australian pyrethrum to provide improved disease management strategies for the industry.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Jason Scott

Funding

Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Eligibility

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Applicants must already have been awarded a first-class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in conducting plant pathological research studies

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Jason Scott to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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