44215 - Summer Student - Apple Model - Plant & Food Research

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: 17 Sep 2021


Plant & Food Research (PFR) is a New Zealand science company delivering research and development designed to grow competitive advantage for clients in the horticulture, wine, cropping, seafood and associated high value food sectors worldwide.

Our summer studentship programme creates a special "career experience" for high calibre candidates. Our unique programme includes a full induction training day, a career planning session identifying potential pathways, a specific project - designed for you, as well as a final farewell and awards function.

This summer studentship is within the Modelling High-performance Production and Supply Chain Systems programme in the Horticulture in Silico direction.

Developing a functional-structural apple model prototype is our first priority for the Modelling High-performance Production and Supply Chain Systems programme and for the direction.

The development of the apple model prototype will be based on the previously developed 3D whole-plant grapevine model GrapevineXL (Zhu et al. 2019) that can simulate the effects of variations in environmental conditions (e.g., soil water potential, radiation, temperature and vapour pressure), plant water status (e.g., xylem and leaf water potential) and carbohydrate status (e.g., phloem sugar concentration) on berry growth.

As one of the first steps to develop an apple model prototype, we will add a detailed 3D soil and root model into the existing grapevine model to be able to respond to environmental conditions and biotic and abiotic stresses, and replace the grape berry model with an apple fruit model. This work is a necessary precursor to the large and long-term programme. Making the functional structural apple model prototype ready at the start of the large program can help us have a clear view of following required sensing, data platform and modelling works, and following experimental work to improve the model as well.


The duties of the summer student would be:

  • Incorporate new apple fruit model, 3D soil and root model that we obtained from our international collaborators into the whole-plant apple model
  • Test the performance of the newly added models and the whole-plant model under different scenarios to see whether it perform as we expected
  • Improve the new modules based on our existing dataset and literature
  • Help on an existing rootstock trial

Criteria for the Position

The candidate should have good understanding of plant biology and ecology, and familiar with computer programming language. Good understandings of root growth or Java programing language is an advantage, but not essential.

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