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Dr Mark Else

Dr Mark Else

Head of Crop Science and Production Systems, NIAB
Research Interests

Hormonal Environmental Physiologist

Mark's research focuses on understanding and manipulating crop and environmental interactions to deliver improved resource use efficiency, marketable yields and quality of fresh produce.

Understanding how crops tolerate and communicate root zone stress is fundamental to improving crop productivity in sub-optimal environments. New water- and fertiliser-saving irrigation strategies, derived from a detailed understanding of plant response to soil water stress, are being developed for the soft fruit and tree fruit industries. Enhancing yield and quality attributes such as flavour volatiles, bioactive content and shelf-life potential using novel deficit irrigation techniques is a key component of this work. The role of stress-induced changes in ethylene production in the regulation of berry phytonutrient concentrations, and how this relationship might be manipulated using ‘beneficial stresses’ is being investigated. The potential to use stress preconditioning to improve crop resilience to abiotic and biotic stresses is also being tested.

A major focus of Mark's research is the development and integration of precision irrigation and fertigation systems into commercial production to help improve on-farm resource use efficiency, productivity and consistency of produce quality. In tandem, innovative imaging systems are being developed to ease the integration of these low-input approaches into commercial practice, so that consistency of cropping, plant performance, and crop responses to abiotic and biotic stresses can be monitored and measured in real time to inform and improve on-farm decision making.



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