Undergraduate summer studentship at Rothamsted Research .pdf

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FIELD BASED PLANT PATHOLOGY
10 WEEK SUMMER STUDENTSHIP FOR 2014
A rare opportunity to gain biological experience on agricultural scale field studies.
Applications are requested from students currently registered on science degree
programmes in the UK, in the middle year(s) of study, expected to obtain a first or upper
second class honours degree.
Weekly Stipend of £200 (up to 10 weeks) – more details below
Approximate dates: Early June – August 2014
Apply by Friday 14th March 2014

BACKGROUND
Take-all disease caused by the soil-borne fungus Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici is the most
destructive wheat root pathogen worldwide. The disease develops with a largely symptomless, nondestructive phase during the first year of farming wheat. Over this time, pathogenic inoculum builds in the
soil rhizosphere. After this, ‘carry-over’ inoculum can cause devastating amounts of root disease in a second
wheat crop (Figure 1). Recent findings, at Rothamsted Research, have highlighted for the first time, a
method to reduce disease risk in 2nd wheat crops, through a previously uncharacterised genetic trait called
LowTAB. Elite modern wheat cultivars possessing this trait when grown as 1 st wheat support lower
inoculum build-up. In the consecutive wheat crop, infection is reduced and a desirable yield benefit has
been found in years that support a high take-all disease pressure.
STUDENTSHIP PROJECT
This research aims to investigate the phenotypes underpinning the
LowTAB trait in two important wheat cultivars. The studentship
will involve an agronomical study on late-season development of
take-all inoculum in the soil. Pot based bioassays will then be used
to assess soil infectivity after growth of each of the two cultivars.
Additionally wheat anatomy and physiology data such as plant
heights, leaf width and leaf senescence will be observed.
SKILLS TO BE GAINED
• Field based investigation of pathology and anatomy in wheat.
• Advance knowledge of wheat pathogens with particular focus
on take-all root disease.
• Training in pot based bioassay methods using controlled
environment conditions.
• General introduction to biological agronomy.

No take-all

Take-all
Stunted crop
Premature
ripening

Black necrotic
root lesions

Figure 1. Take-all disease in 2nd wheat

FURTHER DETAILS/ HOW TO APPLY
Funding is on the basis of successful acceptance from the British Society for Plant Pathology. A short
report (500 words maximum) is required from the student at the end of the studentship.
To apply: please submit a brief CV (maximum of one side of A4) which includes a short paragraph (10
lines maximum) why you are interested in plant pathology. In addition: a copy of your university exam
unit results to-date and contact details for a university tutor to provide a reference.
Please email applications and inquiries to: joseph.moughan@rothamsted.ac.uk by 14/03/14


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