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 shedding years of agricultural analysis to flooding in south-east Queensland, with fears some work at Australia’s prime agricultural analysis centre could possibly be set again by a long time.

When floodwaters rose round Brisbane, the College of Queensland’s St Lucia glasshouses had 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 move their findings on to trade.

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

“We weren’t allowed to return to campus, however I bought emails texts day-after-day displaying the water rising, “Dr Massel mentioned.

It wasn’t till Thursday that Dr Massel was in a position to enter the glasshouse and assess the harm, however by then, her experiments had 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.(Equipped)

“As soon as the water had ruined the electrical energy — though perhaps a number of 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, every little thing type of went by a giant shock. [The plants] had been mainly cooked.”

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

She mentioned she was simply one of many tons of 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 nicely,” Dr Massel mentioned.

“We could by no means really get to grasp precisely what we had been learning within the first place, which might be simply an enormous lack of data to the ag trade.”

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 at the moment are being requested concerning the suitability of getting Australia’s prime 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 contemplate relocating its glasshouses.

“And lots of the work we do [in these glasshouses] has trade companions who’re counting on us to ship the following degree 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 are going to make that advice once more. It simply comes all the way down to danger 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 group wanting into modern plant breeding applied sciences, agrees.

“With local weather change, we now have to anticipate these excessive climate occasions to be occurring extra ceaselessly — identical 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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