Cindayniah Godfrey and Sophie Reed
Cindayniah Godfrey – Resistance and Susceptibility in Interactions Between Apple and Woolly Aphids
Cindayniah’s PhD project has two major points of focus that include better understanding the biology of the woolly apple aphid (WAA) in the UK and improving options for WAA-resistant apple rootstock breeding. The project uses a number of different measures and techniques to measure growth and reproduction of WAA to give a baseline indication of how aphid population growth looks in the UK and how populations may form from this.
The project has found more genetic variation than expected in WAA samples collected mostly from around Kent which may be a result of sexual reproduction, a phenomenon in aphids not yet reported in the UK. Knowing the genetic position of a gene as precisely as possible and utilising genetic markers can aid with apple breeding programmes and can vastly speed up the process allowing for more rapid introduction of apple rootstocks.
Samples from around the country would really help to give a picture of WAA genetic variation within the UK and would give the potential to see whether there is variation between apple growing regions of the country. Cindayniah would use the Award to fund a short trip to farms which are members of the National Association of Cider Makers to collect WAA samples, which she would expect to show a different pattern of WAA genetic variation than has been collected so far in the project. Not only would this further the scope of her project but it would also strengthen working relationships with industry partners, which will assist with her work in the future.
Sophie Reed – Towards year-round production of UK strawberries
Sophie’s PhD project focusses on methods of extending the UK strawberry growing season with the ultimate goal of achieving year-round production in order to reduce the food miles and environmental impacts associated with strawberry production. This involves investigating different factors affecting strawberry plant growth.
Throughout this project a series of experiments are being carried out to look for these factors separately and in combination, in controlled-environment glasshouses, for a range of strawberry varieties. The overall aim is to find the optimal conditions for strawberry plant development to bring forward the harvest period of high-quality winter grown strawberries. The environmental and economic costs of the glasshouse production will be estimated and then analysed together with the optimal conditions found, in order to develop an optimal economical and environmentally sustainable model for out of season strawberry production. Although this project focuses on strawberry produce, there is potential to use the findings for optimal growth on a wider scale of other fresh produce.
Sophie would use the Award to fund her attendance at the International Horticultural Congress in France, as an opportunity to learn about the diversity of research supporting the horticultural industry. A key part of the conference will include tours that will provide invaluable experience to see other research facilities and to gain insight into the European commercial horticultural sector.