September 2015 marked the gathering of Plant Pathologists from Asia, Australia, and America for the biennial Australasian Plant Pathology Conference. The Chancellors Fund, awarded by The University of Northampton, allowed PhD student Julia Lock to join researchers in Fremantle, Western Australia, as an invited speaker. Julia has been researching the applications of Novel Green Manure as a treatment for Specific Replant Disease on Sorbus aucupariat and was invited to share her findings at the conference.
Fremantle was traditionally home to the Whadjuk Noongar people who originally called the area Walyalup. In 1827, Captain Fremantle, dropped anchor at the coastal settlement and claimed the land, leading to Captain James Stirling establishing a settlement.
Fremantle is now considered a Heritage Site owing to its many architecturally colonial buildings. Freo has a historical feel to it which is contrasted with the appearance of the London Plane as street trees alongside the beautifully elegant jacarandas and almost alien naked limbs of the Frangipani. On visiting the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Julia had the fortune to get involved with a tapping stick workshop, and met some like minded individuals. She said: "There is certainly a culture of caring for the environment amongst the people, with sustainable practice being vital to their ethos."
The conference provided a good mixture of topics with a variety of informative talks about current research. On the sessions, Julia commented: "I found sessions on plant pathology interactions, biological controls, pathogenicity, and epidemiology of particular interest. The conference sessions and networking opportunities lent themselves to better versing me in what is happening worldwide in the field of plant pathology. It also provided a platform for disseminating my own work in the form of a talk, in which I explained the significantly positive effects seen in tree roots subsequent to treatment with Novel Green Manure."
"In summary, the opportunity to travel and participate in this experience has opened my eyes to new possibilities and further raised my awareness of the global importance of plant pathology", Julia explained. "It was also enlightening to learn more about the flora of Western Australia, which included some of the vivid endemic wildflowers and the towering hardwood forests of the Karri, Tingle, Marri, and Jarrah. I also took great delight in watching the sun set on William Bay and the wonderful experience of seeing a number of Kangaroos and native birds in their natural habitat. I would like to thank my supervisors for their ongoing support and encouragement, Moulton College for giving the time to do this, and The University of Northampton for contributing funds."
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