Director's Colloquium

Using simple mathematics to explore the plant-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide, oxygen and water vapour.

Professor Graham Farquhar
Research School of Biology, ANU

Plants are brilliant organisms with exquisite sensing of their environment, and remarkable coordination in their responses. Simple mathematical treatments based on physical, chemical or economic models give order to our observations of plant behaviour, allow us to make predictions, and speed up human communication about the effects of environmental or genetic perturbations. The talk discusses stochastic rainfall, optimal water use, and how to recognise differences across genotypes using measurements of carbon isotope discrimination, and organic oxygen isotope composition.

Professor Graham Farquhar has undertaken and led research across a broad range of fields and scales, from integration of photosynthesis with nitrogen and water use of plants, stomatal physiology, isotopic composition of plants and global change. He is a Fellow of The Australian Academy of Science and of the Royal Society and a Foreign Associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He has over 300 research publications and has received many awards for his research, including the Order of Australia Officer (2013), the Rank Prize for Nutrition (shared, 2014) the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science (2015) and the Kyoto Prize for Basic Sciences (2017). He was named 2018 Senior Australian of the Year for his contributions to world food security.

Graham is Distinguished Professor of the Australian National University’s (ANU) Research School of Biology and a Chief Investigator of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis.

Date & time

Tue 9 Apr 2019, 12.30–1.30pm



Huxley Theatre


Staff, students and public welcome