Australia-India collaboration to address climate change impact on mango-growing regions

Dr James Makinson with PhD student Gaurav Singh

Researchers from Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment will investigate mango varieties and their pollinators in India and Australia following an Australia-India Council (AIC) grant.

Funding for the innovative project, that aims to identify the needs of different mango varieties in the two countries and make industry recommendations on planting regimes in response to climate change, was announced by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong.

Research lead Dr James Makinson from the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment said changing climatic conditions in Australian and Indian mango growing regions require a renewed approach to pollination to future-proof the industry.

“The project will determine which insect floral visitors are important for optimising crop yield in different regions, and how these species will respond to climate change,” said Dr Makinson.

“Comparing floral biology of mango varieties by measuring traits such as nectar volume, concentration and pollen nutrient profiles, will provide insights into pollination attractiveness and reliance which will in turn inform our recommendations.”

To further support the project and strengthen research partnerships, Western Sydney University will fund a joint PhD scholarship based in India with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. Hort Innovation will also support a PhD scholarship in Australia.

In addition, a series of workshops in India and Australia will be held over the three-year project period to promote coordination, collaboration, capacity building and industry development.

Dr Makinson said opportunities for engagement on pollination and sustainability would importantly be led by local researchers and involve industry.

“The grant will fund workshops and collaborative activities between Western Sydney University and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, complementing our ongoing Australian mango research, and supporting a new PhD scholarship for mango research in Tamil Nadu,” he said.

Western Sydney University was recently ranked number one in the world for its social, ecological and economic impact in the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings.

The University’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment based at the Hawkesbury campus is a renowned centre of research excellence in ecosystem function, food security and climate change.

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