Improving our crops
Associate Professor Brian Atwell wants to feed the planet. Conservative estimates show that the Earth’s temperature will rise on average 0.9 degrees Celsius over the next century, which could mean disaster for plants that are highly sensitive to their environment. Atwell’s team has found a gene in heat-tolerant rices in northern Australia that allows photosynthesis at higher temperatures, enabling higher productivity of the plant.
“There will be a group of people who have an open mind about using wild plants in Australia to try to improve the 15 or 20 major foods that feed almost everybody on this planet,” Atwell says.
Our secure planet future-shaping research priority focuses on sustaining our interdependent world and exploring our place in the universe.
Living in a changing environment
Our cross-disciplinary research teams explore and understand the environment and its chemical, biological, climactic, and physical variations across space and time. With climate change among our greatest challenges, we seek to manage risks, reduce vulnerability and promote resilience in human, economic and natural systems impacted by this change. Our research informs management practices and provides a basis for effective decision-making at local, national and global levels.
Exploring planet Earth and beyond
We investigate the constitution and properties of the components of our universe, with cross-disciplinary research teams working across astronomy and astrophysics, Earth sciences and planetary sciences. We shed light on our planet and beyond – from the internal structure of the Earth, to the habitability of extra-solar planets and galaxies in the furthest reaches of the universe.