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Associate Professor Jennifer Watling
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I have been a member of the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide since 2001. Prior to that I held a post-doctoral research position in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield, UK.
My PhD research was conducted at the Australian National University in Canberra and also at James Cook University in north Queensland.
From 2007-2009 I was the Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Adelaide, and prior to that the Associate Dean (International).
I have been Head of School since February 2012.
Photo of A/Prof Watling by David Hollingworth
I teach plant physiology at levels 2 and 3 and supervise honours and postgraduate students.
Post Doctoral Researchers
Dr Hao Shen - Impact of Cassytha pubescens on host photosynthesis
Dr Jane Prider - Potential of Cassytha pubescens as a biocontrol agent for gorse and broom
Dr Rebecca Miller - Mechanisms of heating in thermogenic plants.
Dr Nicole Grant - Mechanisms of heat production in thermogenic plants. Endeavour Award.
Current postgraduate students
Kathryn Hill - Evolution of leaf structure and function
Robert Cirocco - Effects of light, nutrients and water on the parasitic vine Cassytha pubescens and its hosts
Elizabeth Maciunas - Niche partitioning and population genetics in the parasitic genus Cassytha
Lening Huang - Impacts of climate change on photosynthesis in C3 and C4 plants.
Current Honours Students
Ella McKinley - Effects of climate change on Antarctic and Australian mosses
Mitchell Star-Jones - Epiparasitism in the mistletoe Lysiana exocarpi
I am interested in the phenomenon of heat production that occurs in a small number of plant species. Using stable oxygen isotopes, my group has demonstrated that the alternative pathway of respiration, catalysed by the Alternative Oxidase (AOX), is responsible for heat production in the sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) and Philodendron bipinnatifidum. Current work is focused on the structure and regulation of the AOX in these species and also on uncovering the mechanisms of heating in other thermogenic species such as Amorphophallus titanum that produces one of the largest inflorescences of all plants. We collaborate with colleagues from Japan, the USA and Spain on this project.
I conduct research into a number of native parasitic plants and their impacts on host plants, both native and introduced. Current projects include a study of the native parasitic vine, Cassytha pubescens, and its impact on the introduced weeds gorse and broom. This work has demonstrated that C. pubescens has a significant impact on the mortality of gorse and broom and that this may be a consequence of impairment of the photosynthetic physiology of these hosts. Other projects are focused on the ecological role of parasitic plants in native vegetation. We collaborate with colleagues in China and the UK on this work.
I am interested in the impacts of elevated CO2 and climate change on plants. Currently we are developing techniques for examining the history of recent climate change in Antarctica using stable C and O isotopes in mosses. I also have projects researching the impacts of climate change on lichens in semi-arid regions of Australia.
Some recent publications
Miller RE, Grant NM, Giles L, Ribas-Carbo M, Berry JA, Watling JR, Robinson SA (2011) In the heat of the night-alternative pathway respiration drives thermogenesis in Philodendron bipinnatifidum. New Phytologist, 189 1013-1026 Featured on Cover
Prider J, Facelli JM, Watling JR (2011) Three is a crowd: Multispecies interactions among a plant parasite, a pollinator and a seed predator affect the reproductive output ofCytisus scoparius. Austral Ecology, 36 167-175.
Grant NM, Miller RE, Watling JR, Robinson SA (2010) Distribution of thermogenic activity in floral tissues of Nelumbo nucifera. Functional Plant Biology. 37 1085-1095.
Shen H, Prider JN, Facelli JM, Watling JR (2010) The influence of the hemiparasitic angiosperm Cassytha pubescens on photosynthesis of its host Cytisus scoparius. Functional Plant Biology 37 14-21
Mohammadian MA, Hill RS, Watling JR (2009) Stomatal plugs and their impact on fungal invasion in Agathis robusta. Aust J Bot 57 389-395
Grant NM, Onda Y, Kakizaki Y, Ito Y, Watling JR, Robinson SA (2009) Two Cys or not two Cys? that is the question; Alternative oxidase in the thermogenic plant Nelumbo nucifera. Plant Physiology 150 987-995
Miller RE, Watling JR, Robinson SA (2009) Functional transition in the floral receptacle of the sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera): from thermogenesis to photosynthesis. Functional Plant Biology 36(5) 471-480
Prider J, Watling JR, Facelli JM (2009) Impacts of a native parasitic plant on an introduced and a native host species: implications for management of an invasive weed. Annals of Botany, 103: 107-115
Watling JR, Grant NM, Miller RE, Robinson SA (2008) Mechanisms of thermoregulation in plants. Plant Signaling & Behaviour 3:595-597
deVries MC, Watling JR (2008) Differences in the utilisation of water vapour and free water in two co-occurring foliose lichens from semi-arid southern Australia. Austral Ecology, 33:975-985
Grant NM, Miller RE, Watling JR, Robinson SA (2008) Synchronicity of thermogenic activity, alternative pathway respiratory flux, AOX protein content and carbohydrates in receptacle tissues of sacred lotus during floral development. J. Ex. Bot, 59:705-714 Featured on Cover
Mohammadian, MA, Watling JR, & Hill RS (2007) The impact of epicuticular wax on gas-exchange and photoinhibition in Leucodendron lanigerum (Proteaceae). Acta Oecologia, 31, 93-101
Copertino M, Cheshire A and Watling J (2006) Photoinhibition and photoacclimation of turf algal communities on a temperate reef, after transplantation. Journal of Phycology, 42, 580-592
Watling JR, Robinson SA & Seymour RS (2006) Contribution of the alternative pathway to respiration during thermogenesis in flowers of the sacred lotus. Plant Physiology, 140, 1367-1373 Featured on Cover
American Society of Plant Biologists
Australian Society of Plant Scientists
British Ecological Society
Associate Editor for Functional Ecology
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