Faculty of Science

UWA School of Agriculture and Environment

A selection of current projects in the School is listed here.

We welcome you to discuss other research project ideas with us. To do this:
Domestic students can contact the Graduate Research Coordinator at the School or Centre in which you wish to undertake research.
International students can use our online enquiry form, which helps us match your research interests with a potential supervisor.

Optimising industrial hemp as a new fiber crop in evolving agriculture in Australia
This project aims to optimise the use of industrial hemp (iHemp) in Australian agriculture, in the poorly fertile and water deficient soils of the south west coast of Australia.
Environmental stress as a threatening process for the western ringtail possum
This project will investigate the role of stress on the survival and reproduction of the western ringtail possum. Given the species critically endangered status it is highly likely that populations living near busy roads or within the urban matrix experience unprecedented levels of stress.
Does personality affect western ringtail possum survival?
The western ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus occidentalis) has an alarming high risk of extinction and there are anecdotal reports of possums “roaming around and getting in trouble”, which could be associated with personality traits that result in low survival and therefore poor conservation outcomes. This project will measure personality traits and relate them to survival to assist in the conservation of this critically endangered species.
Rope bridges to restore gene flow and reduce road fatalities of western ringtail possums
The western ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus occidentalis) has been declared critically endangered. It has an alarming high risk of extinction and road fatalities are a known threat. This project will investigate the effectiveness of rope bridges to reduce road kills and the genetic impact of rope bridges between groups of possums separated by barriers.
Nectar production in Western Australian Leptospermum species
To help develop a Western Australian medicinal honey industry, this project will use ecophysiological methods to determine how environmental and plant-internal factors influence nectar volumes and nectar quality.
Omics analyses of yield and yield components for improved wheat production
Our research goal is to employ genetics and omics tools to enhance wheat production, especially under dryland environment.
Which cellular cues regulate seasonal perception and shoot growth?
This project will investigate the convergence of oxygen, redox and energy cues in regulating the cell cycle in plant meristems. Studies can span several domains, from the apical meristem of Arabidopsis or tomato, to the axillary quiescent or dormant buds of perennial species.
Harnessing WA native Leptospermum for high value honey products
Leptospermum species native to Western Australia (WA) have been identified as potential sources of high DHA nectar, placing WA in a unique position for high value honey production. This project aims to determine the feasibility for genetic improvement of Leptospermum by studying its potential for flowering time compression and capacity for intra/inter-species gene flow to form the basis of future breeding programs.
What’s all the buzz? Managing competing interests in developing Western Australia’s beekeeping industry
The project will assess desirable interventions and strategies to promote balance in our natural environment towards securing a sustainable future for native bushland, wildlife, farming communities, and promotes a commercial beekeeping industry that generates high-value ‘clean and green’ bee products.
Improving decision making for crop pest biosecurity
In this project you will investigate what is the best response to new pest and disease threats to crop production systems.These responses could include better border protection, surveillance or even crop varieties.
Valuing mine site restoration and biodiversity offsets
You will explore the social welfare impacts of restoring old mine sites. Using an economic valuation method called 'choice experiments', you will estimate the values that people attach to environmental rehabilitation.
Predicting China's peak carbon emissions and compliance cost
This project uses data at the global, national, provincial, industry and firm levels to model China's peak carbon emissions and associated environmental compliance costs under various regulatory scenarios.
Productivity and efficiency analysis
This project uses data at the farm, firm, industry and state levels to investigate relative performance and productivity change; the analysis could be environmentally sensitive, including undesirable outputs.
Agent-based modelling of land use policy effects
This project investigates the effects on land use, farm profitability and environmental outcomes of government policies. The focus is on catchment or basin level outcomes.
The economics of recreational fishing management
This project uses data on recreational fishing destinations and activities to develop models that help identify the determinants of site choice and the values anglers attach to fish and site attributes.
Studying social networks for environmental conservation
This project will study the role of social networks on participation and bidding behaviour in competitive conservation tenders.
Balancing risks and rewards in an urban aquifer affected by climate change
The research addresses managed aquifer recharge (MAR) – the intentional recharge of water to suitable aquifers for subsequent recovery or to achieve environmental benefits. It builds on past physical research but focuses on social and economic aspects of MAR. It will use two different methods of estimating the benefits of MAR and converting them into monetary values.
Go with the flow: The ecology of freshwater prawns in the Kimberley
This project will examine the influence of river flows on the ecology and use of the freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium spinipes, in the Fitzroy River. This research will help us to manage risks to northern Australia's rivers from human impacts.
Fish diets and river flows in northern Australia
This project will examine the influence of river flows on the variation in the diets of freshwater fish in tropical rivers. This research will help to manage risks to northern Australia’s rivers from human impacts.
Investigating the hydrology of the Fitzroy River to protect the iconic sawfish
In order to protect the iconic and endangered largetooth sawfish in northern Australia we must protect critical riverine nursery habitat. The student will work as part of an interdisciplinary team of hydrologists, physiologists and ecologists to develop an ecohydrology model of the Fitzroy River to quantify present and future environmental conditions sawfish experience.
Corporate geographies
This projects aims to examine the resilience, productivity and competitiveness of cities and their regional networks in the face of economic vulnerability and global change.
Agricultural and native vegetation systems in the Wheatbelt: Past, present and future
This project aims to assess how both agricultural and native vegetation systems in the Wheatbelt function (crop/vegetation production, greenhouse gas exchanges and water budgets) in the present, how sensitive they have been to past climate variability and how they may respond to future change.
Characterisation of soil microbial interactions for increased efficacy of herbicides, using novel fertiliser management practices
This project will investigate whether herbicides influence soil biological processes when different types of fertilisers are used.
Geometric modelling of oxygen and water dynamics during dormancy in grapevine buds
Oxygen and water are fundamental substrates of life, yet the dormant state is hypoxic and dessicated. Why?
Subterranean clover genomic resources
This is a multi-agency, public and private sector project. It aims to develop a comprehensive pre-breeding research and development plan for annual legumes, to improve the profitability and sustainability of red meat production in Australia.
Revisiting Mendel's peas in the age of genomics
This project will generate a dynamic and evolving gene pool for field peas, as a model for efficient genomic selection in crop plants.