The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Timothy Colmer

Professor Timothy Colmer

Head of School
Plant Biology, School of

Contact details
School of Plant Biology
The University of Western Australia (M084)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 1993
+61 8 6488 1108
Room 1.106, Agriculture Central Wing Building, Perth campus
BSc(Agric) W.Aust., PhD Calif.
PhD in Plant Biology (1994) University of California (Davis)

BSc. Agric. (First Class Honours, 1990) The University of Western Australia

Teaching & Research Academic

Head of School of Plant Biology (since Jan 2013)
Key research
The research focus in my laboratory is on the identification of physiological and biochemical traits associated with plant adaptation to salinity and flooding, and the regulation of these traits. Research ranges from cellular to eco-physiological processes, since I consider that elucidation of mechanisms at several levels of organisation is essential to gain an integrative understanding of whole plant adaptation. Collaborative, multi-disciplinary research in my laboratory involves PhD students, and we have established projects with key Local, National and International scientists. Research on flooding stress has focused on anoxia tolerance using rice coleoptiles as a model system, and on oxygen movement in the aerenchyma in roots of crops (esp. rice and wheat), pasture species, and wetland plants (including ‘wild’ Triticeae). Research on salt resistance focuses on the regulation of tissue concentrations of organic solutes and Na and Cl in wheat and its wild relatives, pasture species, and Australian halophytes. Nutrient and water management in turf with Louise Barton (soil scientist).
Research student supervision: I have supervised 20 PhD students (all are jointly supervised in our School), 2 MSc, and 32 Fourth year/Honours projects to completion in my laboratory. PhD students have been successful in the publication of papers in high-quality international peer-reviewed journals and they have obtained positions in their chosen career. Three PhD students have been awarded distinctions by the Graduate Research School.
Publications since 2010 are listed (complete list is available via Google Scholar).

Kotula L, Colmer TD, Nakazono M. 2014. Effects of organic acids on the formation of the barrier to radial oxygen loss in roots of Hordeum marinum. Functional Plant Biology 41: 187-202.
Kirk GJD, Greenway H, Atwell BJ, Ismail AM, Colmer TD. 2014. Adaptation of rice to flooded soils. Progress in Botany 75: 215-253.
Colmer TD, Armstrong W, Greenway H, Ismail AM, Kirk GJD, Atwell BJ. 2014. Physiological mechanisms of flooding tolerance in rice: transient complete submergence and prolonged standing water. Progress in Botany 75: 255-307.
Kurniasih B, Greenway H, Colmer TD. 2013. Tolerance of submerged germinating rice to 50-200 mM NaCl in aerated solution. Physiologia Plantarum 149: 222-233.
Nicol DL, Finlayson J, Colmer TD, Ryan MH. 2013. Opportunistic Mediterranean agriculture - Using ephemeral pasture legumes to utilize summer rainfall. Agricultural Systems 120: 76-84.
Colmer TD, Pedersen O, Wetson AM, Flowers TJ. 2013. Oxygen dynamics in a salt-marsh soil and in Suaeda maritima during tidal submergence. Environmental and Experimental Botany 92: 73-82.
Pedersen O, Colmer TD, Sand-Jensen K. 2013. Underwater photosynthesis of submerged plants – recent advances and methods. Frontiers in Plant Science 4: article number 140.
Turner NC, Colmer TD, Quealy J, Pushpavalli R, Krishnamurthy L, Kaur J, Singh G, Siddique KHM, Vadez V. 2013. Salinity tolerance and ion accumulation in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) subjected to salt stress. Plant and Soil 365: 347-361.
Teakle NL, Bazihizina N, Shabala S, Colmer TD, Barrett-Lennard EG, Rodrigo-Moreno A, Läuchli A. 2013. Differential tolerance to combined salinity and O2 deficiency in the halophytic grasses Puccinellia ciliata and Thinopyrum ponticum: the importance of K+ retention in roots. Environmental and Experimental Botany 87: 69-78.
Winkel A, Colmer TD, Ismail AM, Pedersen O. 2013. Internal aeration of paddy field rice (Oryza sativa) during complete submergence: importance of light and floodwater O2. New Phytologist 197: 1193-1203.
Alamri SA, Barrett-Lennard EG, Teakle NL, Colmer TD. 2013. Improvement of salt and waterlogging tolerance in wheat: comparative physiology of Hordeum marinum-Triticum aestivum amphiploids with their H. marinum and wheat parents. Functional Plant Biology 40: 1168-1178.
English JP, Colmer TD. 2013. Tolerance of extreme salinity in two stem-succulent halophytes (Tecticornia species). Functional Plant Biology 40: 897-912.
Rich SM, Pedersen O, Ludwig M, Colmer TD. 2013. Shoot atmospheric contact is of little importance to aeration of deeper portions of the wetland plant Meionectes brownii; submerged organs mainly acquire O2 from the water column or produce it endogenously in underwater photosynthesis. Plant, Cell & Environment 36: 213-223.
Bazihizina N, Barrett-Lennard EG, Colmer TD. 2012. Plant responses to heterogeneous salinity: growth of the halophyte Atriplex nummularia is determined by the root-weighted mean salinity of the root zone. Journal of Experimental Botany 63: 6347-6358
Abiko T, Kotula L, Shiono K, Malik AI, Colmer TD, Nakazono M. 2012. Enhanced formation of aerenchyma and induction of a barrier to radial oxygen loss in adventitious roots of Zea nicaraguensis contribute to its waterlogging tolerance as compared with maize (Zea mays ssp mays). Plant, Cell & Environment 35: 1618-1630.
Vadez V, Rashmi M, Sindhu K, Muralidharan M, Pushpavalli R, Turner NC, Krishnamurthy L, Gaur PM, Colmer TD. 2012. Large number of flowers and tertiary branches, and higher reproductive success increase yields under salt stress in chickpea. European Journal of Agronomy 41: 42-51.
Rich SM, Ludwig M, Colmer TD. 2012. Aquatic adventitious root development in partially and completely submerged wetland plants Cotula coronopifolia and Meionectes brownii. Annals of Botany 110: 405-414
Farrell C, Hobbs RJ, Colmer TD. 2012. Microsite and litter cover effects on seed banks vary with seed size and dispersal mechanisms: implications for revegetation of degraded saline land. Plant Ecology 213: 1145-1155.
Chai TT, Simmonds D, Day DA, Colmer TD, Finnegan PM. 2012. A GmAOX2b antisense gene compromises vegetative growth and seed production in soybean. Planta 236: 199-207
Vadez V, Krishnamurthy L, Thudi M, Anuradha C, Colmer TD, Turner NC, Siddique KHM, Gaur PM, Varshney RK. 2012. Assessment of ICCV 2 x JG 62 chickpea progenies shows sensitivity of reproduction to salt stress and reveals QTL for seed yield and yield components. Molecular Breeding 30: 9-21.
Bazihizina N, Barrett-Lennard EG, Colmer TD. 2012. Plant growth and physiology under heterogeneous salinity. Plant and Soil 354: 1-19.
Teakle NL, Bowman S, Barrett-Lennard EG, Real D, Colmer TD. 2012. Comparisons of annual pasture legumes in growth, ion regulation and root porosity demonstrate that Melilotus siculus has exceptional tolerance to combinations of salinity and waterlogging. Environmental and Experimental Botany 77: 175-184.
Greenway H, Kulichikhin KY, Cawthray GR, Colmer TD. 2012. pH regulation in anoxic rice coleoptiles at pH 3.5: biochemical pHstats and net H+ influx in the absence and presence of NO3-. Journal of Experimental Botany 63: 1969-1983.
Pedersen O, Colmer TD. 2012. Physical gills prevent drowning of many wetland insects, spiders and plants. Journal of Experimental Biology 215: 705-709.
Bennett RG, Colmer TD, Real D, Renton M, Ryan MH. 2012. Phenotypic variation for productivity and drought tolerance is widespread in germplasm collections of Australian Cullen species. Crop & Pasture Science 63: 656-671.
Verboven P, Pedersen O, Herremans E, Ho QT, Nicolai BM, Colmer TD, Teakle N. 2012. Root aeration via aerenchymatous phellem: three-dimensional micro-imaging and radial O2 profiles in Melilotus siculus. New Phytologist 193: 420-431.
Barton L, Colmer TD. 2011. Ameliorating water repellency under turfgrass of contrasting soil organic matter content: Effect of wetting agent formulation and application frequency. Agricultural Water Management 99: 1-7.
Samineni S, Gaur PM, Colmer TD, Krishnamurthy L, Vadez V, Siddique KHM. 2011. Estimation of genetic components of variation for salt tolerance in chickpea using the generation mean analysis. Euphytica 182: 73-86.
Munns R, James RA, Islam AKMR, Colmer TD. 2011. Hordeum marinum-wheat amphiploids maintain higher leaf K+:Na+ and suffer less leaf injury than wheat parents in saline conditions. Plant and Soil 348: 365-377.
English JP, Colmer TD. 2011. Salinity and waterlogging tolerances in three stem-succulent halophytes (Tecticornia species) from the margins of ephemeral salt lakes. Plant and Soil 348: 379-396.
Farrell C, Szota C, Hobbs RJ, Colmer TD. 2011. Microsite and litter cover effects on soil conditions and seedling recruitment in a saline agricultural system. Plant and Soil 348: 397-409.
Barton L, Colmer TD. 2011. Granular wetting agents ameliorate water repellency in turfgrass of contrasting soil organic matter content. Plant and Soil 348: 411-424.
Nio SA, Cawthray GR, Wade LJ, Colmer TD. 2011. Pattern of solutes accumulated during leaf osmotic adjustment as related to duration of water deficit for wheat at the reproductive stage. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 49: 1126-1137.
Pedersen O, Pulido C, Rich SM, Colmer TD. 2011. In situ O2 dynamics in submerged Isoetes australis: varied leaf gas permeability influences underwater photosynthesis and internal O2. Journal of Experimental Botany 62: 4691-4700.
Winkel A, Colmer TD, Pedersen O. 2011. Leaf gas films of Spartina anglica enhance rhizome and root oxygen during tidal submergence. Plant, Cell & Environment 34, 2083-2092.
Rogers ME, Colmer TD, Nichols PGH, Hughes SJ, Frost K, Cornwall D, Chandra S, Miller SM, Craig AD. 2011. Salinity and waterlogging tolerance amongst accessions of Messina (Melilotus siculus). Crop & Pasture Science 62: 225-235.
Teakle NL, Armstrong J, Barrett-Lennard EG, Colmer TD. 2011. Aerenchymatous phellem in hypocotyl and roots enables O2 transport in Melilotus siculus. New Phytologist 190: 340-350.
Rich SM, Ludwig M, Colmer TD. 2011. Aquatic adventitious roots of the wetland plant Meionectes brownii can photosynthesize: implications for root function during flooding. New Phytologist 190: 311-319.
Pedersen O, Rich SM, Pulido C, Cawthray GR, Colmer TD. 2011. Crassulacean acid metabolism enhances underwater photosynthesis and diminishes photorespiration in the aquatic plant Isoetes australis. New Phytologist 190: 332-339.
Malik AI, Islam AKMR, Colmer TD. 2011. Transfer of the barrier to radial oxygen loss in roots of Hordeum marinum to wheat (Triticum aestivum): evaluation of four H. marinum–wheat amphiploids. New Phytologist 190: 499-508.
Samineni S, Siddique KHM, Gaur PM, Colmer TD. 2011. Salt sensitivity of the vegetative and reproductive stages in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): Podding is a particularly sensitive stage. Environmental and Experimental Botany 71: 260-268.
Bennett RG, Ryan MH, Colmer TD, Real D. 2011. Prioritisation of novel pasture species for use in water-limited agriculture: a case study of Cullen in the Western Australian wheatbelt. Genetic Resources & Crop Evolution 58: 83-100.
Colmer TD, Greenway H. 2011. Ion transport in seminal and adventitious roots of cereals during O2 deficiency. Journal of Experimental Botany 62: 39-57.
Shiono K, Ogawa S, Yamazaki S, Isoda H, Fujimura T, Nakazono M, Colmer TD. 2011. Contrasting dynamics of radial O2-loss barrier induction and aerenchyma formation in rice roots of two lengths. Annals of Botany 107: 89-99.
You, MP, Colmer TD, Barbetti MJ. 2011. Salinity drives host reaction in Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean) to Macrophomina phaseolina. Functional Plant Biology 38: 984-992.
Teakle NL, Amtmann A, Real D, Colmer TD. 2010. Lotus tenuis tolerates combined salinity and waterlogging: maintaining O2 transport to roots and expression of an NHX1-like gene contribute to regulation of Na+ transport. Physiologia Plantarum 139: 358-374.
Teakle NL, Snell A, Real D, Barrett-Lennard EG, Colmer TD. 2010. Variation in salinity tolerance, early shoot mass and shoot ion concentrations within Lotus tenuis: towards a perennial pasture legume for saline land. Crop & Pasture Science 61: 379-388.
Flowers TJ, Gaur PM, Gowda CLL, Krishnamurthy L, Samineni S, Siddique KHM, Turner NC, Vadez V, Varshney RK, Colmer TD. 2010. Salt sensitivity in chickpea. Plant, Cell & Environment 33: 490-509.
Chai TT, Simmonds D, Day DA, Colmer TD, Finnegan PM. 2010. Photosynthetic performance and fertility are repressed in GmAOX2b antisense soybean. Plant Physiology 152: 1638-1649.
Pedersen O, Malik AI, Colmer TD. 2010. Submergence tolerance in Hordeum marinum: dissolved CO2 determines underwater photosynthesis and growth. Functional Plant Biology 37: 524-531.
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Australasian Editor of Annals of Botany (2001 - present)

Handling Editor of Journal of Experimental Botany (2011-present)

International Review Board of Plant, Cell & Environment (2006-present)

President of the Australian Society of Plant Scientists (2013 & 2014)

International Committee of the International Society for Plant Anaerobiosis
Funding received
Research in my laboratory has been supported by a series of competitive grants from: ARC-Discovery (1), ARC-Linkage (4), GRDC (6; including via Salinity CRC and FFI CRC), HAL (7), ACIAR (1), Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (2), and others.
Member of The Australian Society of Plant Scientists (Discipline Rep. 2002 & 2003; Education Rep. 2005 & 2006; President Elect 2012; President 2013 & 2014)

Member of International Society for Plant Anaerobiosis
Honours and awards
Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning (2006)

Australian Society of Plant Scientists Teaching Award (2004)

Excellence in Teaching Award (coursework) for the Faculty of Agriculture (1997 and 2001)
Previous positions
Postgraduate Coordinator, School of Plant Biology (2010-2013)

Deputy Head, School of Plant Biology (2009 - 2012)

Associate Dean, Teaching & Learning, Faculty of Natural & Agricultural Sciences (2005-2007).
My teaching focuses on responses and adaptations of plants to adverse environments, and the integration of processes from the cellular to whole plant levels. The relevance of such adaptations to plants in appropriate agricultural and natural systems are considered in the context of solving problems in these management systems. Inter-disciplinary approaches to problem solving are emphasized. Evaluations of the current scientific literature and group discussions are used as teaching tools. Laboratory- and field-based teaching is of importance, since I am convinced that hands-on experience is valuable to students learning plant science. I lecture in units in Biology (Level 1), Plant Physiology (Level 2), Plant Ecophysiology (Level 3). I supervise a cohort of PhD students and research project (Honours & MSc) students.

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Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM