SBS academic awarded Plant Biologist award

18 August 2016

The Roger Slack Award in Plant Biology for 2016 has been awarded to SBS Senior Lecturer, Dr Cate Macinnis-Ng. This is the annual award of the New Zealand Society of Plant Biologists recognising an outstanding contribution to the study of plant biology in the last five years.

Dr Macinnis-Ng specialises in plant functional responses to environmental conditions. She is particularly interested in the impact of climatic variability and change on carbon and water fluxes of the forests. “New Zealand’s native vegetation is adapted to reasonably mild conditions. As the climate changes and parts of the country become hotter and drier, our plants may be vulnerable to die-off due to drought”, says Dr Macinnis-Ng.

Since moving to New Zealand in 2010, Dr Macinnis-Ng has been exploring the physiology of our largest and longest-lived tree, kauri. Among key findings Dr Macinnis-Ng has found evidence for drought adaptations in a species previously thought to be highly vulnerable to water stress. This research laid the groundwork for a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship exploring limits of drought tolerance using a NZ-first throughfall exclusion experiment. This involves catching rainfall before it hits the forest floor to create drought plots.

Dr Macinnis-Ng will be presenting her work at the upcoming NZSPB annual meeting at Queenstown Research Week on September 2nd.