With government cuts to all areas of academia then funding for PhD studentships has become scarce. With UK trees under threat from several potentially devastating pests and diseases funding is now required more than ever. For these reasons the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory has recently funded 3 PhD Studentships at the University of Reading
PhD 1: With recent national interest focused on diseases such as Acute Oak Decline and Sudden Oak Death it is important to remember honey fungus is still probably the number one killer of trees in the UK. For this reason Mr Luke Hailey will be evaluating the potential of fungal and bacterial bio-control agents such as Trichoderma and Bacillus in combination with plant defence activators such as phosphites to aid in the management of this soil borne disease. It is anticipated results will also have applicability to other soil borne diseases such as Phytophthora. Luke will be supervised by Dr Glynn Percival (Bartlett) and Dr Robert Jackson (University of Reading)
PhD 2: It is widely appreciated that soil amendments at the time of planting can have a huge impact on tree transplant survival and tolerance to environmental stresses such as drought and salinity; problems that frequently occur in urban landscapes. Biochar is a highly purified form of charcoal that when used as a soil amendment has been shown to significantly improve the healthy and disease resistance properties of trees. Miss Emma Schaffert will be investigating the potential of Biochar as a soil amendment to enhance drought tolerance and improve transplant survival rates of trees following planting. Emma will be supervised by Dr Gillian Rose (University of Reading) and Dr Glynn Percival (Bartlett). In addition Carbon Gold, a leading supplier of Biochar based products have agreed to act as an industrial partner.
PhD 3: Urban landscapes present an environment hostile to the biology of trees i.e. soil compaction, drought, elevated pollution, salinity etc. Consequently only “tough” trees can survive such a “tough” environment. Mr Jonathan Banks will be undertaking studies to develop a blueprint for stress tolerance in ornamental trees by evaluating changes in compounds such as proteins and metabolites associated with drought tolerance in plants. Jonathan will be supervised by Dr Glynn Percival (Bartlett) and Drs Gillian Rose and John McKendrick (University of Reading).