Lincoln researchers awarded Marsden Fund Fast-Start grants

04 November 2021 | News

Dr Lauren Waller and Dr Naomi Wells have been awarded Te Pūtea Rangahau a Marsden | Marsden Fund Fast-Start grants to fund their research projects. 

The Fast-Start grants, each worth $360,000 over a three-year period, were awarded for the following two projects: 

Reframing the way we think about disease emergence in the face of global change

By Dr Lauren Waller 

The project proposes a new way of thinking about how fungal and fungal-like diseases spread in natural populations impacted by environmental change. Based on the hypothesises that disease spreads more rapidly when environmental disturbances, such as biotic invasions, change the fungal and bacterial communities in plant roots.

Using native plant communities invaded by non-native plants as a model system, Lauren will quantify the extent to which invaders alter native root microbial communities, investigate how those changes accelerate the progression of secondary diseases such as kauri dieback and myrtle rust, and determine the mechanisms underpinning microbial disease suppression. This work will fundamentally reshape the way we understand emerging disease spread in the face of environmental change.


Untangling the controls on nitrous oxide emissions from braided rivers

By Dr Naomi Wells 

The project will use the unique structure of braided rivers to advance a fundamental understanding of how nitrous oxide is produced and emitted. Models currently assume nitrous oxide emissions are directly proportional to nitrogen inputs but don’t account for how river hydrology can affect the rate of both nitrous oxide biological production and its physical transport from the water column to the atmosphere.

 Noami will use the dynamic braided river plains, which include parallel channels with low and high flows and dry gravel bars, of eight of New Zealand’s culturally significant rivers as natural laboratories to test how flow controls nitrous oxide production and emission.

The project will quantify, for the first time, nitrous oxide emissions from braided rivers, leading to advance foundational climate understanding and the ability to predict emissions in a changing world.


PHOTO: Dr Lauren Waller (L), Dr Naomi Wells