Graduate assistantship available in the Tree Ecophysiology Lab to study source-sink relationships in fruit trees

We are looking for a graduate student to help us develop a systematic understanding of the relationship between canopy area and fruit load. This will be addressed in the context of water and carbon supply and demand. This project will produce knowledge that is directly relevant to producers while addressing fundamental hypotheses of water and carbon.

Fruit production depends on the development and maintenance of fruit sinks, supported by interactions with carbon and water supply and allocation. Citrus growers need guidelines to help them manage crop load in high-value citrus varieties. Although carbon supply plays a major role in crop set, subsequent development can strain carbon or water supply capacity. The chosen candidate will have the opportunity to address both food production and fundamental hypotheses related to this dynamic. The overall aim is to develop a quantitative framework of the relationship between canopy area and fruit growth.

The selected candidates will develop a variety experiments to quantify the tradeoffs involved in these underlying relationships. The candidate will have the opportunity to use unique methodologies at the UF Tree Ecophysiology Lab, including a range of methods to assess photosynthesis, water relations, and carbohydrate translocation and allocation. The work involves combinations of field, greenhouse, and laboratory work, including direct collaboration with the citrus producers who need this knowledge.

The work environment is highly collaborative, and demonstration of the ability to work in diverse teams will be valued in the selection process. Critical thinking, independent judgment, and interest in the subject matter are essential. Other valued skills include:

  • Quantitative analysis
  • Written communication
  • Knowledge of plant carbohydrate allocation and transport processes or of plant hydraulics

The tree ecophysiology lab (website here) at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, Florida, uses whole-plant physiological approaches to address challenges in horticultural productivity in perennial plants. The Citrus Research and Education Center offers ample opportunities for collaboration with 25 labs working in areas as varied as genetics, plant pathology, and entomology. The PI of the Tree Ecophysiology lab places a high importance on mentorship and the development of skills of and opportunities for students. If you are interested, please send your questions or a resume to Christopher Vincent at civince@ufl.edu. We will accept application until 9/1/2021.

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