Investigating adaptive genomic variation underlying drought tolerance in Eucalyptus

Borevitz Lab
Course Description (BIOL3208 – 6 cr./BIOL3209 – 12 cr.):
This course is specially tailored for students attracted to, or wondering about research.
Students are immersed in a real research environment and in the practice of research. They
are integrated in a research team and get direct experience in core components of research
activities, from posing a question, defining hypotheses to address it, and the appropriate
approaches to examine these hypotheses; data analysis and rigorous presentation,
interpretation of results, and most importantly their critical assessment and discussion in the
context of the current body of knowledge. Students are experiencing first-hand the joys and
tribulations of probing the unknown, the drive, curiosity, discipline, and perseverance this

Project Details:
Climate change is exerting stress on Australian forests as they face an increasingly hotter and
drier future. Our lab is investigating adaptations that confer resilience to drought and aridity
in Eucalyptus, with the aim of assisting conservation genetic management and restoration of
Australian forests. In particular, our current project is delving belowground to uncover
variation in root growth strategies (e.g., growth rate, topology, morphology) both within and
across several eucalyptus species, and linking these strategies to aboveground trade-offs with
biomass, water use efficiency, etc. This research project will provide opportunities to work
in ANU’s renowned plant growth facilities, experience measuring plant traits with both
traditional and high-throughput digital imaging methods, build proficiency with image
analysis software, and practice applying population and quantitative genetic analyses to real-
world data.