Researchers at UCD

Olga Grant

Research Fellow

School Of Agriculture & Food Science
Agriculture and Food Science
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7167349


During my PhD, I researched ecophysiology and ecological genetics of shrub populations growing along a climatic gradient. Post-doctoral research introduced me to the idea of manipulating crop growth and productivity by controlling water availability, and to the use of imaging technology to detect plant 'stress'. I then worked for almost five years as an Applied Plant Scientist, researching topics such as improving irrigation scheduling and selecting cultivars or new genotypes with enhanced water use efficiency or drought tolerance. A Marie Curie Fellowship allowed me to further develop applications of imaging to diagnosing and understanding plant stress. I joined UCD Forestry in June 2012, where I am applying my ecophysiological expertise to genetic improvement of trees.


Honours and Awards

Year: 2010.
Title: Marie Curie intra-European fellowship
Year: 1997.
Title: University of Leeds Scholarship for postgraduate studies


Association: Society of Experimental Biology, Function/Role: Member
Association: Federation of European Societies of Plant Biology, Function/Role: Member
Association: Marie Curie Fellows Association, Function/Role: Member
Association: Environmental Science Association of Ireland, Function/Role: Member
Association: Irish Meteorological Society, Function/Role: Member

Conference Contributions

Olga M. Grant; David Thompson; Conor O'Reilly (2015) Contrasting ecophysiology and growth of genetically diverse Sitka spruce seedlings grown under limited vs. optimal water availabiity. [Oral Presentation], Advances in Genetic Resources Management for an Uncertain Future, University of Washington, Seattle , 23-JUN-15 - 24-JUN-15.
Glombik, P; Grant, O.M.; O'Reilly, C. (2015) Juvenile vigour of diverse Sitka spruce fullsibling families in a changing environment. [Oral Presentation], IPSAM 2015, Maynooth , 11-MAY-15 - 12-JUL-15.
Glombik, P.; Grant, O.M.; O'Reilly, C. (2014) Growth characteristics of improved Sitka spruce seedlings and implications for early selection and tree breeding. [Poster Presentation], Science & Solutions for a Sustainable Environment, Dublin , 11-DEC-14 - 12-DEC-14.
Donnelly, L.; Grant, O.M.; Thompson, D; O'Reilly, C. (2014) Can Advanced Selection of Elite Genotypes Lead to More Sustainable Forestry?. [Poster Presentation], Science and Solutions for a Sustainable Environment Conference 2014, Dublin , 11-DEC-14 - 12-DEC-14.
Lynch, T.M.H.; Grant, O.M.; Dix, P.J.; Barth, S. (2014) Detecting differences in stomatal conductance of perennial ryegrass Lolium perenne using thermal imaging. [Poster Presentation], Plant Biology Europe FESPB/EPSO Congress, Dublin , 22-JUN-14 - 26-JUN-14.
Sevillano, I.; Short, I.; O'Reilly, C.; Grant, O.M. (2014) Physiological responses of Fagus sylvatica and Quercus robur seedlings to light intensity. [Poster Presentation], Plant Biology Europe FESPB/EPSO 2014 Congress, Dublin , 22-JUN-14 - 26-JUN-14.
Grant, O.M.; Thompson, D.; O'Reilly, C. (2014) Interaction of genetic origin and water availability on growth and physiology of young Sitka spruce [Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr]. [Oral Presentation], IPSAM 2014, University College Cork , 28-APR-14 - 29-APR-14.
Donnelly, L.; Grant, O.; Thompson, D; O'Reilly, C. (2014) Growth and biomass allocation patterns of eight young Sitka spruce clones. [Poster Presentation], IPSAM 2014, University College Cork , 28-APR-14 - 29-APR-14.
Glombik, P.; O'Reilly, C.; Grant, O.M. (2013) A practical approach to assess early selection traits in forestry, using image analysis and MatLab. [Poster Presentation], UKPPN Photo-phenotyping workshop, Essex , 16-DEC-13 - 17-DEC-13.
Grant, OM; O'Reilly, C; Thompson, D (2013) Genetic and environmental impacts on vigour in Sitka Spruce seedlings. [Oral Presentation], Plant Environmental Physiology Group Annual Symposium, Manchester , 09-SEP-13 - 10-SEP-13.
Grant, OM; Glombik, P; Thompson, D; O'Reilly, C (2013) Determinants of variation in late season growth in genetically diverse Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis). [Oral Presentation], IPSAM 2013, Galway , 16-MAY-13 - 17-MAY-13.
Grant, O.M. (2012) Thermography in viticulture. [Invited Oral Presentation], XII EAT Congress on Thermology, Porto , 05-SEP-12 - 08-SEP-12.
Grant, OM; Brennan, DP; Dix, PJ (2012) Environmental stress tolerance of tobacco chloroplast transformants with enhanced reactive oxygen species scavenging capacity. [Oral Presentation], IPSAM 2012, Dublin , 03-APR-12 - 05-APR-12.
Lynch, T.M.H.; Barth, S.; Charron, L.; Dix, P.J.; Grant, O.M. (2012) Detecting drought stress with thermal imaging in perennial ryegrass Lolium perenne L. genotypes. [Poster Presentation], Ecophysiology Techniques Workshop, Lisbon , 10-SEP-12 - 15-SEP-12.
Grant, OM; Le Martret, B; Poage, M; Dix, PJ (2011) Altered tolerance of high and low temperatures in tobacco chloroplast transformants expressing genes encoding key enzymes involved in scavenging reactive oxygen species. [Oral Presentation], Life in Extreme Environments, Dublin , 18-OCT-11 - 20-OCT-12.
Kajaste, TMH; Barth, S; Dix, PJ; Grogan, D; Grant, OM (2012) Utility of digital imaging in perennial ryegrass Lolium perenne for ground coverage assessments. [Poster Presentation], IPSAM 2012, Dublin , 03-APR-12 - 05-APR-12.
Grant, OM; Ochagavía, H; Baluja, J; Diago, MP; Tardáguila J (2011) Towards aerial thermal imaging for irrigation scheduling. [Oral Presentation], IPSAM 2011, Belfast , 07-JUN-11 - 09-JUN-11.
Surbanovski, N; Grant, OM; Sargent, DJ; Zhang, H (2010) PIP aquaporins and drought stress response of Fragaria vesca. [Oral Presentation], 5th International Rosaceae Genomics Conference, Cape Town , 14-NOV-10 - 17-NOV-10.
Grant, OM; Johnson, AW; Davies, MJ; Sargent, DJ; Simpson, DW (2010) Towards identification of quantitative trait loci associated with water use efficiency of strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa). [Poster Presentation], 28th International Horticultural Congress, Lisbon , 22-AUG-10 - 27-AUG-10.
Grant, OM; Davies, MJ; Longbottom, H; Harrison-Murray R (2009) A generic system for establishing crop coefficients across a wide range of hardy nursery stock. [Oral Presentation], VI International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops, Viña del Mar , 02-NOV-10 - 06-NOV-10.
Grant, OM (2008) Thermal imaging in precision irrigation. [Invited Oral Presentation], First International Symposium on Horticulture in Europe, Vienna , 17-FEB-08 - 20-FEB-08.
Tronina, L; Grant, OM; Ortuno, MF; Chaves, MM (2006) Establishing correlations between thermal imaging results and meteorological-ecophysiological variables in a Quercus suber L. stand. [Poster Presentation], SEB Annual Meeting, Canterbury , 04-APR-06 - 07-APR-06.
Grant, OM; Johnson, AW; Simpson, DW (2008) Responses of ten commercial strawberry cultivars to water deficit. [Oral Presentation], Resource Capture by Crops: Integrated Approach, Sutton Bonnington , 10-SEP-08 - 12-SEP-08.
Surbanovski, N; Zhang, H; Grant OM (2008) Establishing a system for monitoring aquaporin expression under drought in strawberry (Fragaria spp). [Poster Presentation], Plants for Life, Toulon , 22-JUN-08 - 26-JUN-08.
Grant, O; Tronina, L; Jones, H; Chaves, MM (2006) Thermal imaging successfully detects stress-related differences between grapevine canopies receiving different irrigation regimes. [Invited Oral Presentation], SEB Annual Meeting, Canterbury , 04-APR-06 - 07-APR-06.
Jones, H; Leinonen, I; Theobold, J; Tagliavia, C; Loveys, B; Grant, O (2006) Dynamic thermal imaging for estimating leaf and boundary layer conductances. [Oral Presentation], SEB Annual Meeting, Canterbury , 04-APR-06 - 07-APR-06.
Ortuño, MF; Costa, JM; Grant, OM; Santos, T; Rodrigues, ML; Lopes, C; Chaves, MM (2006) Stomatal and non-stomatal limitations of photosynthesis in Vitis vinifera growing under different water deficit irrigation regimes. [Poster Presentation], FESPB Congress, Lyon , 07-AUG-06 - 11-AUG-06.
Leinonen, I; Jones, HG; Grant, OM; Tronina, L; Chaves, MM; Tagliavia, CPP (2005) Uncertainty analysis of infrared imagery-based stomatal conductance estimation. [Oral Presentation], SEB Annual Meeting, Barcelona , 11-JUL-05 - 15-JUL-05.
Tronina, L; Grant, OM; Vale, RL; Almeida, P; Ramalho, JC; Chaves, MM (2005) Multivariable approach to monitoring stress in cork oak stands. [Poster Presentation], Interdrought II, Rome , 26-SEP-05 - 30-SEP-05.
Grant, OM; Chaves, MM (2004) Investigating the potential of thermal imaging in monitoring stress in grapevines. [Oral Presentation], 7th international symposium on grapevine physiology and biotechnology, Davis , 21-JUN-04 - 25-JUN-04.
Grant, OM; Tronina, L; Chaves MM (2004) Investigating the potential of thermal imaging in monitoring stress in crops and ecosystems. [Oral Presentation], SEB Annual Meeting, Edinburgh , 09-MAR-04 - 12-MAR-04.
Tronina, L; Grant, OM; Ramalho, JC; Chaves, MM (2004) Use of thermal imaging techniques and xanthophylls content for determination of stress in cork oak (Quercus suber L.). [Poster Presentation], FESPB Congress, Krakow , 06-JUL-04 - 09-JUL-04.
Jones, HG; Grant, O; Stoll, M; de Sousa, C; Santos, T; Chaves, MM (2002) Thermal imaging for the study of plant stress and stomatal closure. [Oral Presentation], European Workshop on Environmental Stress and Sustainable Agriculture, Varna , 07-SEP-02 - 12-SEP-02.
Grant, OM; Incoll, LD; McNeilly T (1999) Ecophysiology of Cistus albidus populations along a climatic gradient. [Poster Presentation], British Ecological Society winter meeting, Leeds , 13-DEC-99 - 17-DEC-99.


Committee : COST Action FA1306 (The quest for tolerant varieties - phenotyping at plant and cellular level)
Committee : COST Action FP1106 (Studying Tree Responses to extreme Events: a SynthesiS)


Employer: University of Dundee
Position: Post-doctoral research assistant
Employer: Instituto de Tecnología Química e Biológica
Position: Post-doctoral research fellow
Employer: East Malling Research
Position: Applied plant scientist
Employer: NUI Maynooth
Position: Marie Curie research fellow
Employer: UCD
Position: Research Fellow


Year 1997 Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Qualification: BA (Hons.) Subject: Natural Sciences (Environmental Sciences)
Year 2001 Institution: University of Leeds
Qualification: PhD Subject: PhD in Plant Sciences, Dept of Biology



Journals Edited

Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America: Reviewer.
Journal Of Experimental Botany: Reviewer.
Plos One: Reviewer.
Annals Of Botany: Reviewer.
Agricultural And Forest Meteorology: Reviewer.
Environmental And Experimental Botany: Reviewer.
Physiologia Plantarum: Reviewer.
Functional Plant Biology: Reviewer.
Irrigation Science: Reviewer.
Sensors: Reviewer.
Agricultural Water Management: Reviewer.
Plant Physiology And Biochemistry: Reviewer.
Photosynthetica: Reviewer.
Acta Horticulturae: Reviewer.

Other Activities

Current research student supervision

Co-supervisor of Tiina Lynch, Teagasc and NUI Maynooth

On supervisory panel of Phillip Glombik and Liam Donnelly, UCD Forestry
and of Niall O'Neill, Teagasc and UCD Forestry




Book Chapters

Jones, H.G.; Grant, O.M. (2015) 'Remote sensing and other imaging technologies to monitor grapevine performance' In: Gerós, H.; Chaves, M.M.; Medrano, H.; Delrot, S (eds). Grapevine under environmental stress: from ecophysiology to molecular mechanisms. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. , pp.179-201 [Details]
Grant, OM; Surbanovski, N. (2014) 'The emerging role of aquaporins in plant tolerance of abiotic stress' In: Ahmad, P.; Rasool, S (eds). Emerging Technologies and management of crop stress tolerance Volume II A sustainable approach. Amsterdam: Elsevier. , pp.431-447 [DOI] [Details]
Grant, OM (2013) 'Measuring evapotranspiration of hardy ornamental nursery stock: a hurdle for irrigation management' In: Er-Raki, S (eds). Evapotranspiration: processes, sources and environmental implications. New York: Nova Publishers. , pp.49-72 Link to full text [Details]
Grant, OM (2012) 'Understanding and exploiting the impact of drought stress on plant physiology' In: Ahmad P, Prasad MNV (eds). Abiotic stress responses in plants: metabolism, productivity and sustainability. New York: Springer Science+Business Media. , pp.89-104 [DOI] [Details]
Costa, JM; Grant, OM; Chaves, MM (2010) 'Use of thermal imaging in viticulture: current application and future prospects' In: Delrot, S; Medrano, H; Or, E; Bavaresco, L; Grando, S (eds). Methodologies and Results in Grapevine Research. New York: Springer. , pp.135-150 [Details]
Jones, HG; Grant, OM (2014) 'Remote sensing and other imaging technologies to monitor grapevine performance' In: Gerós H, Chaves M, Medrano H, Delrot S (eds). Grapevine under environmental stress: from ecophysiology to molecular mechanisms. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley-Blackwell. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Davies, M.; Harrison-Murray, R.; Atkinson, C.J.; Grant, O.M. (2016) 'Application of deficit irrigation to container-grown hardy ornamental nursery stock via overhead irrigation, compared to drip irrigation'. Agricultural Water Management, 163 :244-254. [DOI] [Details]
Lynch, T.M.H.; Barth, S.; Dix, P.; Grogan, D.; Grant, J.; Grant, O.M. (2015) 'Ground cover assessment of perennial ryegrass using digital imaging'. Agronomy Journal, 107 :2347-2352. [DOI] [Details]
Grant, O.M.; Tronina, L.; García-Plazaola, F.I.; Esteban, R.; Santos Pereira, J.; Chaves, M.M. (2015) 'Resilience of a semi-deciduous shrub, Cistus salvifolius, to severe summer drought and heat stress'. Functional Plant Biology, 42 :219-228. [DOI] [Details]
Grant, O.M.; Brennan, D.P.; Mellisho Salas, C.D.; Dix, P.J. (2014) 'Impact of enhanced capacity to scavenge reactive oxygen species on cold tolerance of tobacco'. International Journal Of Plant Sciences, 175 (5):544-554. [Details]
Kurz Besson, C; Lobo-do-Vale, R; Rodrigues, ML; Almeida, P; Herd, A; Grant, OM; David, TS; Schmidt, M; Otieno, D; Keenan, TF; Gouveia, C; Mériaux, C; Chaves, MM; Pereira, JS (2014) 'Cork oak physiological responses to manipulation water availability in a Mediterranean woodland'. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 184 :230-242. [Details]
Surbanovski, N; Sargent; DJ; Else, MAE; Simpson, DW; Zhang, H; Grant OM (2013) 'Expression of Fragaria vesca PIP aquaporins in response to drought stress: PIP down-regulation correlates with the decline in substrate moisture content'. PLoS ONE, 8 (9):e74945. [Details]
Costa, M; Grant, OM; Chaves, MM (2013) 'Thermography to explore plant-environment interactions'. Journal of Experimental Botany, 64 :3937-3949. [DOI] [Details]
Grant, OM; Davies MJ; Johnson AW, Simpson DW (2012) 'Physiological and growth responses to water deficits in cultivated strawberry Fragaria x ananassa and in one of its progenitors, Fragaria chiloensis'. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 83 :23-32. [Details]
Grant, OM; Davies, MJ; James, CM; Johnson, AW; Leinonen, I; Simpson, DW (2012) 'Thermal imaging and carbon isotope composition indicate variation amongst strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa) cultivars in stomatal conductance and water use efficiency'. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 76 :7-15. [Details]
Grant, OM; Davies, MJ; Longbottom, H; Harrison-Murray, R (2011) 'Evapotranspiration of container ornamental shrubs: modelling crop-specific factors for a diverse range of crops'. Irrigation Science, 30 :1-12. [DOI] [Details]
Grant, OM; Tronina L; Ramalho, JC; Kurz Besson, C; Lobo-do-Vale, R, Pereira, JS; Jones, HG; Chaves, MM (2010) 'The impact of drought on the leaf physiology of Quercus suber L. Comparison of an extreme drought event with chronic rainfall reduction'. Journal of Experimental Botany, 61 :4361-4371. [Details]
Grant, OM; Johnson, AW; Davies, MJ; James, CM, Simpson, DW (2010) 'Physiological and morphological diversity of cultivated strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa) in response to water deficit'. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 68 :264-272. [Details]
Grant, OM; Davies, MJ; Longbottom, H; Atkinson, C (2009) 'Irrigation scheduling and irrigation systems: optimising irrigation efficiency for container ornamental shrubs'. Irrigation Science, 27 :139-153. [Details]
Grant, OM; Tronina, L; Jones, HG; Chaves, MM (2007) 'Exploring thermal imaging variables for the detection of stress responses in grapevine under different irrigation regimes'. Journal of Experimental Botany, 58 :815-825. [Details]
Leinonen, I; Grant, OM; Tagliavia, CPP; Chaves, MM; Jones, HG (2006) 'Estimating stomatal conductance with thermal imagery'. Plant Cell and Environment, 29 :1508-1518. [Details]
Grant, OM; Chaves, MM; Jones, HG (2006) 'Optimising thermal imaging as a technique for detecting stomatal closure induced by drought stress under greenhouse conditions'. Physiologia Plantarum, 127 :507-518. [Details]
Grant, OM; McNeilly, T; Incoll, LD (2006) 'Genetic diversity of Cistus albidus in south-east Spain does not relate to mesoclimate'. Functional Plant Biology, 33 :247-255. [Details]
Grant, OM; Incoll, LD; McNeilly, T (2005) 'Variation in growth responses to availability of water in Cistus albidus populations from different habitats'. Functional Plant Biology, 32 :817-829. [Details]
Grant, OM; Incoll, LD (2005) 'Photochemical efficiency is an important component of ecophysiological variation of Cistus albidus between habitats in south-east Spain'. Functional Plant Biology, 32 :107-115. [Details]
Grant, OM; Stoll, M; Jones, HG (2004) 'Partial rootzone drying does not affect fruit yields of raspberries'. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 79 :125-130. [Details]
Jones, HG; Stoll, M; Santos, T; de Sousa, C; Chaves, MM; Grant, OM (2002) 'Use of infrared thermography for monitoring stomatal closure in the field: application to grapevine'. Journal of Experimental Botany, 53 :2249-2260. [Details]
Grant, O.M.; Ochagavía, H.; Baluja, J.; Diago, M.P., Tardáguila, J. (2016) 'Thermal imaging to detect spatial and temporal variation in water status of grapevine'. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, . [DOI] [Details]
Glombik, P.; O¿Reilly, C.; Grant, O.M. (2015) 'Early-height variation between full-sibling families of Sitka spruce growing in Ireland'. Irish Forestry, 72 :139-149. [Details]
Johnson, A.W.; Davies, M.J.; Grant, O.M.; Simpson, D.W. (2014) 'Developing strawberry cultivars with improved water use efficiency'. Acta Horticulturae, 1049 . [Details]
Grant, OM (2012) 'Thermography in Viticulture'. Thermology International, 22 :16-24. [Details]
Grant, OM; Davies, MJ; Longbottom, H; Herrero, A; Harrison-Murray, R (2011) 'Application of deficit irrigation to controlling growth of hardy nursery stock'. Acta Horticulturae, 889 :409-416. [Details]
Grant, OM; James CM; Dodds, PAA; Surbanovski, N (2011) 'Carbon isotope composition indicates improved photosynthetic water use efficiency of strawberry plants under deficit irrigation'. Acta Horticulturae, 889 :397-402. [Details]
Johnson, AW; Grant, OM; Davies, MJ; James, CM; Passey, AJ; Simpson, DW (2009) 'Determining the response of ten strawberry cultivars to water-limited conditions'. Acta Horticulturae, 842 :769-771. [Details]
Johnson, AW; Grant, OM; Davies, MJ; James, CM; Passey, AJ; Simpson, DW (2009) 'Investigating the response of strawberry to water-deficit conditions'. Acta Horticulturae, 838 :169-174. [Details]
Férnandez, JE; Chartzoulakis, K; Grant, OM; Lemeur, R; Steppe, K; Marsal, J; Xiloyannis, C (2009) 'Water shortage and efficient water use in horticulture'. Acta Horticulturae, 817 :363-366. [Details]

Other Journals

Costa, JM; Grant OM; Ortuna MF (2007) 'Strategies to save water in intensive horticulture' Fruit & Veg Tech 7 (3) :12-14. [Details]
Costa, JM; Grant, OM (2005) 'Imaging technology to optimize modern agricultural production systems?' Fruit & Veg Tech 5 :30-32. [Details]

Conference Publications

Lynch, TMH; Grogan, D; Grant, OM; Dix, P; Barth, S (2013) Ground coverage assessments of perennial ryegrass using digital imaging Agricultural Research Forum 2013 Tullamore, , 11-MAR-13 - 12-MAR-13 , pp.77-77 [Details]
Diago, MP; Ochagavía, H; Grant, OM; Baluja, J; Tardaguila, J (2012) Uso de la termografía cenital terrestre y aérea para la evaluación no invasiva y rápida del estado hídrico del viñedo XIII Congreso Nacional de Ciencias Hortículas [Details]
Ochagavía, H; Grant, OM; Baluja, J; Diago, MP; Tardaguila, J (2011) Exploring zenithal and lateral thermography for the assessment of vineyard water status 17th International GiESCO Symposium Asti-Alba, [Details]
Grant, OM; Chaves, MM (2005) Thermal imaging successfully identifies water stress in field-grown grapevines XIV International GESCO Viticulture Congress , 23-AUG-05 - 27-AUG-05 , pp.219-224 [Details]
Grant, OM; Tronina, L; Chaves, MM (2004) Using thermal imaging to monitor and analyse responses to water deficits Simpósio Luso-Espanhol de Relações Hídricas das Plantas Faro, [Details]
Tronina, L; Grant, OM; Ramalho, JC; Chaves, MM (2004) Canopy imaging as a tool for estimation of plant water stress in cork oak (Quercus suber L.) Simpósio Luso-Espanhol de Relações Hídricas das Plantas Faro, [Details]
Rodrigues, AP; Francisco, R; Grant, OM; Maroco, JP; Chaves, MM (2004) Caracterização bioquímica das respostas ao stresse hídrico nas raízes de Lupinus albus Simpósio Luso-Espanhol de Relações Hídricas das Plantas Faro, [Details]

Published Reports

Davies, WJ; Bacon, M; Sharp, R; Jones, HG; Schofield, P; Atkinson, CJ; Grant, OM; York, M (2009) Enhancing the quality of hardy nursery stock and sustainability of the industry through novel water-saving techniques. Horticultural Development Company, UK. [Details]
Grant, OM (2008) Container nursery stock irrigation: demonstration and promotion of best practice. Horticultural Development Company, UK. [Details]
Grant, OM (2007) A desk study to determine the possible causes of tip burn in conifers. Horticultural Development Company, UK. [Details]


Research Interests

I research plant ecophysiology. I am particularly interested in plant responses to environmental stress.

Through enhanced understanding of crop ecophysiology it is possible to address important areas such as reducing water use in irrigation, or to improve agricultural productivity by controlling water availability so as to manipulate crop growth and quality. Understanding genotypic variation in plant responses to the environment allows us to match the right plant to the right environment. For example, understanding plant responses to drought or water deficit aids selection of water-use efficient cultivars. This is important in order to maintain crop production in future, when water use in agriculture will have to be reduced. Additionally, understanding responses of plants in natural or semi-natural ecosystems to environmental stress helps us predict the impact of climate change.

Imaging technology means that it is now possible to detect spatial variation in plant physiological behaviour. Using infra-red thermal and chlorophyll a fluorescence imaging, we can detect variation in transpiration and photosynthetic processes within leaves. With thermal imaging, in particular, this can be scaled up to detect variation across plants, crops, or even regions. I am interested in how these technologies can enhance understanding of plant physiology, but also in their practical application in precision agriculture, in crop genetic improvement programmes, and in environmental monitoring and management.


Recent Postgraduates

Main supervisor of Dr Nada Surbanovski, East Malling Research and University of Leeds, awarded PhD 2011

Co-supervisor of Helga Ochagavía, Universidad de la Rioja, awarded MSc 2011




Developing as a Teacher

Current teaching: Contributing to FOR 20110 Forests, Climate & Carbon; AESC 20040/CPSC 20040 Physiological Plant Ecology; HORT 10020 Plants & People, and FOR 20040 Tree Structure & Function Recent teaching: 2011-2012: 1st year Plant Biology, NUI Maynooth; 2012: 2nd year Plant Cell Biology and Biotechnology, NUI Maynooth; 2010: main lecturer on international workshop on 'The Use of Thermal Imaging for Drought Stress Detection', Nov 1-5, Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Recent invited seminars: 'Detection, analysis, and exploitation of plant responses to environmental stress', University of Nottingham at Sutton Bonnington, June 2012. Other recent seminars: 'Thermal imaging to screen for drought tolerance in the field', Aberystwyth University, May 2011. I have undertaken several courses run by UCD Teaching & Learning and the Centre for Teaching and Learning, NUI Maynooth, including Introduction to Teaching & Learning, Introduction to Blackboard, Blended Learning for Large First Year Classes, E-Learning, Introduction to Teaching & Learning at Third Level, Large Group Teaching Activities, and ICT in Undergraduate Teaching. I also shadowed Dr Fry's lecturing of Physiological Plant Ecology.



External Collaborators

Prof Phil Dix, NUI Maynooth
Dr Susanne Barth, Teagasc, Oakpark, Co. Carlow
Dr J Miguel Costa, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Lisbon, Portugal
Prof MM Chaves, Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biólogica, Oeiras, Portugal
Prof HG Jones, University of Dundee at the James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee, Scotland