A Canadian scientist has travelled thousands of miles to tap into Charles Sturt University (CSU) expertise as part of research into the invasive weed known as ‘mile-a-minute’.
Professor David Clements from Trinity Western University in Canada is spending five months at the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation at CSU in Wagga Wagga as part of the prestigious Endeavour Research Fellowship program.
Professor Clements said the high quality facilities and the opportunity to collaborate with internationally recognised weeds researchers drew him to the Graham Centre.
“Mile-a-minute or Mikania micranthais - a fast growing, smothering vine - is a major weed in the tropics of Africa, India, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands. It’s also found in northern Australia,” said Professor Clements.
“True to its name the plant grows very quickly and is a major threat to the environment and agriculture. I’ve seen it completely overwhelm trees in an orchard and out compete crops like bananas and sugar cane. This is a major concern in countries where food security is an issue.”
“I am a field biologist and this Fellowship will give me the time and opportunity to understand the plant better in the laboratory.
“I’m also excited to be working closely with Charles Sturt University Professor Leslie Weston as part of an international collaboration looking at the DNA of this invasive weed.”
Professor Clements has swapped the northern hemisphere winter for a hot Australian summer but said he’s enjoying his first visit to Australia.
“The 40 degree days in Wagga Wagga are certainly a contrast to the cold weather back home,” Professor Clements said. “I’ve particularly enjoyed seeing the Australian wildlife, kangaroos hopping around the University campus and the koalas at a local nature reserve.”
Professor Clements will be working at CSU in Wagga Wagga until May; he is one of 12 overseas scholars developing their skills at CSU under the Endeavour Scholarship and Fellowship program. Read more on CSU News here.
The program is offered by the Australian Government to support high-achieving individuals to undertake study, research and professional development overseas and gain international experience.