This research theme will determine how crop species, genetics, management factors and climatic conditions interact with ecosystem genomes (the plant and microbiome) to express disease-suppressive functionality.

Managing agro-ecosystems towards disease-suppressive states is an opportunity to sustainably maintain production and reduce dependence on chemical and other inputs. As an ecosystem metaphenome, general disease suppression confers immunity/protection to a range of plants from a variety of pathosystems and is enduring over time. The role of microbial membership and functions or processes within these communities has been defined for disease-suppressive soils.

The team will also test the plant-supported heritability of plant rhizosphere microbiomes and traits over time. Using novel, mixed or cover species to manage the assemblage of microbial communities may provide new soil microbiome management tools.

Finally, the project team plan to determine the relative importance of different farm management practices on disease-suppressive soil metaphenome, and elucidate links between management practices, soil microbial biomass, and groups of beneficial and pathogenic taxa.

The research challenge is to understand how environmental conditions and management practices affect disease suppression in ecosystems, and then to apply this knowledge to management practices that can alter the ecosystem trajectory towards an enduring, disease-suppressive state.

 

Research Team

Dr Steve Wakelin

Dr Steve Wakelin

Roles:

Researcher

Institution:

Scion

Prof Leo Condron

Prof Leo Condron

Roles:

Researcher

Institution:

Lincoln University

Prof Eirian Jones

Prof Eirian Jones

Roles:

Researcher

Institution:

Lincoln University

Prof Amanda Black

Prof Amanda Black

Roles:

Director

Researcher

Institution:

Lincoln University

Prof Nick Roskruge

Prof Nick Roskruge

Roles:

Deputy Director

Researcher

Institution:

Massey University

Dr Alexa Byers

Dr Alexa Byers

Roles:

Postdoctoral Fellow

Institution:

Lincoln University

Alana Marie Thurston

Alana Marie Thurston

Roles:

PhD student

Institution:

Lincoln University

Fionnuala Bulman

Fionnuala Bulman

Roles:

PhD student

Institution:

Lincoln University