Home NewsAustralia Cruel irony as years of drought, farming research lost in Queensland Uni flood damage

Cruel irony as years of drought, farming research lost in Queensland Uni flood damage

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Plant scientists are beginning once more after dropping years of agricultural analysis to flooding in south-east Queensland, with fears some work at Australia’s high agricultural analysis centre might be set again by many years.

When floodwaters rose round Brisbane, the College of Queensland’s St Lucia glasshouses have been shortly submerged beneath metres of water, destroying analysis initiatives in a single day.

For a lot of doctoral college students and postdoctoral fellows, the flooding got here proper on the finish of their analysis contracts, leaving them no time to re-establish experiments and unable to cross their findings on to business.

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Meals Innovation (QAAFI) analysis fellow Karen Massel had spent the final two and a half years engaged on bettering the drought resilience of barley and sorghum crops.

“We weren’t allowed to come back to campus, however I acquired emails texts day by day displaying the water rising, “Dr Massel mentioned.

It wasn’t till Thursday that Dr Massel was capable of enter the glasshouse and assess the harm, however by then, her experiments have been too far gone to salvage.

Research plants in pots knocked over and dying inside a glasshouse.
Broken crop experiments contained in the glasshouse at UQ St Lucia campus.(Provided)

“As soon as the water had ruined the electrical energy — though perhaps among the vegetation could have survived the water — it was already about 50 levels contained in the glasshouses simply with out temperature management, and it being summer season.”

“So, all the things form of went by means of a giant shock. [The plants] have been principally cooked.”

None of Dr Massel’s drought findings may be printed.

She mentioned she was simply one of many a whole lot of researchers on the College of Queensland impacted by the floods.

“That is going to have vital impression on my profession and lots of my college students’ careers as properly,” Dr Massel mentioned.

“We could by no means truly get to know precisely what we have been learning within the first place, which might be simply an enormous lack of information to the ag business.”

A young woman wearing black shorts and white shirt stands in front of petri dishes in a research lab.
Dr Karen Massel within the lab at The College of Queensland.(ABC Information: Alys Marshall)

The place to now?

Whereas Brisbane River floodwater has receded and the clean-up is underway, questions are actually being requested concerning the suitability of getting Australia’s high agricultural analysis centre in a flood-prone space.

Director for the Centre of Crop Science with QAAFI professor Ian Godwin mentioned the College of Queensland wanted to significantly take into account relocating its glasshouses.

“And lots of the work we do [in these glasshouses] has business companions who’re counting on us to ship the subsequent stage of a drought adaptation trait for them,” he mentioned.

“The identical factor occurred in 2011, and I used to be concerned in that post-flood restoration, and the advice of the committee then was that the glasshouses ought to have been moved.

“As soon as extra, we’ll make that advice once more. It simply comes right down to threat administration.”

A man sits at a desk with two computer screens sits.
Professor Ian Godwin says the college is but to announce any plans for the way forward for the glasshouses.(ABC Information: ABC: Alys Marshall)

Principal analysis fellow at QAAFI,  Lee Hickey, who leads a workforce trying into modern plant breeding applied sciences, agrees.

“With local weather change, we’ve got to anticipate these excessive climate occasions to be occurring extra regularly — similar to drought in our a part of the world,” Dr Hickey mentioned.

Professor Godwin mentioned the College of Queensland was but to announce any plans for the way forward for the glasshouses.

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