Hoa Nguyen, BMR's newset PhD candidate
Hoa Nguyen, BMR's newset PhD candidate

The pathogen causing myrtle rust might be tiny, but it’s effects could impact carbon, water and nutrient cycles at both the plant and ecosystem levels.

These ecosystem functions will be the study focus of Hoa Nguyen – the latest addition to the Beyond Myrtle Rust team.

Hoa originally studied and worked in the areas of water chemistry, monitoring and resource management in Vietnam, before moving on to a Master of Science at Flinders University in Australia.

Here she was looking at methane emissions from a solid waste landfill, but the budding scientist became very aware of the disastrous effect myrtle rust was having on Australian ecosystems.

So when she saw a PhD position being advertised at the University of Auckland, she had to take a second look.

Hoa says “The study builds on my expertise in environmental chemistry and provides the opportunity to study ecosystem-level processes.

“Previous work has shown that the fungus causing myrtle rust can cause changes in plant composition and have potential impacts on biosecurity and biodiversity. However, myrtle rust effects on ecosystem processes are poorly understood.”

Hoa hopes her research will contribute critical knowledge to fill the current gap.

She will be supervised by Associate Professor Luitgard Schwendenmann from Auckland University and Dr Mahajabeen Padamsee, the Beyond Myrtle Rust project leader.

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