Available student project - Using 3D microscopy to understand drought tolerance in plants

Research fields

  • Biophysics
  • Physics of Fluids

Project details

Plants have an amazing ability to take up water, drawing it through their stems and leaves under high 'tension' - at extraordinary negative pressures that can't be reproduced in laboratories. Some species, such as mangroves and acacias, are able to remain functional in extremely hostile conditions - think of mangroves and salt water or acacias in drying clay soils. Despite its importance,many aspects of plant hydraulics remain poorly understood.  X-ray micro tomography (XCT) is a non-descructive microscopy technique that produces detailed 3D maps with micron-level resolution.  Combined with carefully experimental protocols, XCT can give an unprecedented view of how plants respond physically to water stress.  This multi-disciplinary project will link researchers in the ANU's Research Schools of Biology and Physics to tackle this difficult and important problem.

Required background

The overall research involves structural biology, imaging science and the physics of fluids, and so the student project can be tailored to students with a backgrounds in biology, physics or engineering.

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • 3rd year special project
  • PhB (1st year)
  • PhB (2nd or 3rd year)
  • Honours project
  • Phd or Masters

Contact supervisor

Sheppard, Adrian profile
Head of Department

Other supervisor(s)

Herring, Anna profile
Postdoctoral Fellow

Bradby, Jodie profile

Updated:  4 September 2019/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster