Higher Degree by Research Candidate
School of Agriculture, Food and Wine
Faculty of Sciences
I am a PhD candidate in the Weed Science research group at the University of Adelaide's Waite Campus. My project aims to understand the extent, distribution and management of herbicide resistant common sowthistle and prickly lettuce, particularly in lentil crops.
Prior to joining the Weed Science Research Group I lived in Canada and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan. During my degree I worked as a research assistant for the Canadian federal department of agriculture, where I participated in weed surveys and developed a love of field work.
In my spare time I enjoy socializing, spending time outside, and stopping to smell the wildflowers.
Herbicide-resistant common sowthistle and prickly lettuce:
Dispersal, seed biology and management considerations in lentils.
Supervisors: A/Prof Christopher Preston, A/Prof Gurjeet Gill and Dr Jenna Malone
Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola L. or wild lettuce) and common sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus L. or milkthistle) are two common weeds in the southern cropping region of Australia, and both are problematic particularly in weakly competitive crops such as lentils. They compete for space, water and nutrients both within and outside of the growing season as well as causing problems at harvest. Both species have evolved resistance to herbicides from Groups B, I and M. Due to the wind-borne nature of their seeds, these species can move across the landscape and this is a commonly cited example of why they can be difficult to control. As a result, management tends to be reactive rather than a more proactive Integrated Weed Management (IWM) approach. However, the extent to which seeds move and the role this movement plays in the spread of herbicide resistance is not known. This project will aim to understand gene flow in these species and its implications for management, as well as examine how they might be evolving in response to intensive lentil production.
The main objectives of this project are to:
This project will increase knowledge about the extent and evolution of herbicide resistance, field ecology and seedbank biology, of common sowthistle and prickly lettuce. These insights will improve management strategies for these problematic broadleaf weeds, which will help lentils remain a profitable crop by maintaining sustainability of production.
For more information see the Weeds Research Group Website
Date Position Institution name 2018 Admin Assistant, Work Integrated Learning Project University of Adelaide 2018 Tutor University of Adelaide 2016 - 2017 Lab and Field Assistant University of Adelaide 2015 - 2016 Children's Science Presenter Sciworld 2015 - 2015 Lab and Field Assistant University of Saskatchewan 2013 - 2014 Research Assistant Agriculture and Agriculture-Food Canada (AAFC) 2012 - 2015 Lab and Field Assistant Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada 2011 - 2012 Science Amabassador Children's Discovery Museum on the Saskatchewan 2009 - 2010 Research Assistant University of Saskatchewan
Language Competency English Can read, write, speak and understand spoken French Can read, write, speak and understand spoken
Date Institution name Country Title 2017 University of Adelaide Australia PhD in Sciences 2011 - 2015 University of Saskatchewan Canada Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with Honours (Major: Applied Plant Ecology, Minor: Soil Science)
Date Title Institution Country 2017 PhD in Sciences University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia
Research InterestsAgricultural Land Management Agro-ecosystem Function and Prediction Agronomy Crop and Pasture Protection Ecological Applications Ecological Impacts of Climate Change Ecology Plant Biology & Botany Plant Developmental and Reproductive Biology Plant Systematics and Taxonomy Wildlife and Habitat Management
Year Citation 2021 Merriam, A. B., Malone, J., Gill, G., & Preston, C. (2021). Can rotations improve management of herbicide-resistant annual sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) and prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) in lentil production systems of southern Australia?. WEED TECHNOLOGY, 35(4), 532-538.
Year Citation 2018 Merriam, A., Boutsalis, P., Malone, J., Gill, G., & Preston, C. (2018). Extent of herbicide resistant common sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) in southern Australia. In Proceedings of the 21st Australasian Weeds Conference (pp. 16-19). online: AWC.
Year Citation 2018 Krishnan, M., Petrovic, T., Valappan, G., Merriam, A., & Preston, C. (2018). Understanding the mechanism of 2,4-D resistance in Sonchus oleraceus (Common sowthistle). Poster session presented at the meeting of Weed Biosecurity - Protecting Our Future. Sydney.
My PhD project is generously supported by:
- The Government of Australia: Research Training Program Fee Offset
- The University of Adelaide: Faculty of Science Divisional Scholarship
- The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC): Grains Research Scholarship
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