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Ms Christina Borzak

profile_borzak_thumbMs Christina Borzak
PhD student

Topic: genetic and environmental variation in phytochemistry and browsing susceptibility in Eucalyptus globulus

University of Tasmania

Email: cborzak@utas.edu.au

The knowledge of foliar defensive characteristics against herbivores has significant potential for application to forestry plantation management world-wide. In Tasmania, Eucalyptus globulus is an important plantation species and is particularly susceptible to marsupial browsing in its seedling stage. Evidence supporting the genetic basis to, and environmental variation in resistance to mammalian herbivory in E. globulus foliage allows the identification and manipulation of phenotypic characteristics in order to exploit natural resistance to herbivory in plantations.

For my postgraduate research, I will use a combination of field, captive and laboratory trials to assess the degree of genetic and environmental variation in defensive chemistry and resistance to mammal browsing in E. globulus. I will examine factors such as ontogeny, plant tolerance and the evolutionary relationships between E. globulus and its herbivores.

After completing my undergraduate degree majoring in Plant Science and Zoology at the University of Tasmania, I combined my passion for plants and animals and went on to research the relationship between alpine Tasmanian native fleshy-fruit producing plants and the Black Currawong (Strepera fuliginosa) for my Honours project in the UTas Geography & Environmental Studies department. My interest in plant-animal interactions has lead me to develop an interest in forest management, where I hope to broaden my skills and experiences and to contribute to the ever changing forest industry and ensure ongoing research in this important area of study.

My research is funded by the University of Tasmania and CRC for Forestry.

My supervisors are Professor Brad Potts and Dr Julianne O'Reilly-Wapstra (University of Tasmania).

This project is part of the CRC for Forestry Biodiversity Project (4.2), subproject 4.2.7 (management of genetic resources).

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