I have been well funded in the past by Australian Research Council (ARC), Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Dairy Research Development Corporation (DRDC), AUSAid and a range of other funding bodies. I was a subprogramme leader on mechanisms of subsoil acidification in CRC for Legumes in Mediterannean Agriculture (CLIMA) and on functioning of native ecosystems in saline and waterlogged land in CRC for Plant-Based Management of Dryland Salinity.
My research interests are in nutrient uptake and ion toxicity in the soil-plant-water-microbe continuum. I have been working on natural and managed ecosystems in the field as well as studying specific mechanisms and relationships in the glasshouse and the lab. Among nutrients, I have been working on nitrate, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium as well as micronutrients (zinc, copper and manganese). Among toxic ions, aluminium, arsenic, zinc and sodium feature prominently. The approaches and techniques used range from ion imaging using confocal laser microscopy, to ion-specific microelectrodes, to enzyme assays and radioisotope tracking, to fiddling with bacteria and fungi in the rhizosphere, to chemical analysis of root exudates, to optimising fertilisation of crop and pasture plants, to computer modelling of root growth and nutrient uptake, and digging pits and holes in the field to access soil, roots and groundwater.