Just another day at the office….

We’ve been in Australia for exactly one week. During that time I’ve managed to get settled into my new office at the University of Western Australia (UWA), gotten to know my Australian colleagues a little better, received my UWA ID card and a UWA email address, and had the UWA IT folks configure my university wi-fi access. I’m feeling pretty set up at this point. Here are some photos from my first week at UWA. These should give you a glimpse into my day-to-day activities (like walking to the University from our apartment or catching the bus from the Uni back to the apartment in the afternoon when it is too hot to walk), as well as some of the unique experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have up to this point.

This morning, I decided to walk to the university. My route took me through King’s Park and the whole trip took about an hour. Here’s what it looked like soon after I entered King’s Park.


Here’s my building at UWA. My office is on the second floor, along with the rest of the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) crew.


Yesterday, I sat in on a meeting of Dr. Megan Ryan’s lab group. She and her group study forage crop root biology/ecology and physiology, particularly with regard to phosphorous uptake and utilization. After we went around the room for introductions, we headed over to a nearby greenhouse facility to look at some of the experiments her grad students are conducting. One of her graduate students, David, is from the central highlands of Papua New Guinea. He is studying phosphorus uptake in sweet potato lines collected from PNG and elsewhere.


Tim is another graduate student (from Illinois, interestingly). He is studying the systematics and physiology of Amaranth species that are native to Australia that may have use as forage crops.


Today, I had the opportunity to visit the UWA Field Station with my colleague Kevin Foster. Kevin is a forage legume expert and has been heavily involved in germplasm collection and breeding across the world. We harvested seed from one of his lines of red clover. Here’s Kevin showing me the threshing room.


Here’s the plot of red clover we harvested (along with the bag of seed heads). There is shade cloth across the entire field.

red clover

And here’s one of the signs located around the facility. Gotta make sure to watch where I step!


I spent the last few hours of the day with my colleague Mike Ashworth. Mike explained the typical Western Australia small grain cropping system to me, including the periods of time that weed controls are applied. Here’s the white board diagram he came up with. We plan to analyze a dataset that he and his team have amassed. This diagram will help me to better understand the windows of time when weeds are exposed to selective pressures.


At the end of the day, I usually catch the bus back home. Here’s the view from the bus stop closest to my building. The body of water is Matilda Bay on the Swan River. It is a coastal estuary and apparently dolphins hang out here sometimes. All in all, not a bad day at the office.

bus stop view

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