Sarah van der Meer

Research interest

Communicating concepts about how to maximise cropping systems in the breeding phase through to field growth, to support the endeavour of maintaining future global food outputs despite the changing climate.

+61 434 746 926

My research project

  • Description
  • Objectives
  • Outcomes

This project explored the viability of root architecture as a selective breeding target for drought adaptation in bread wheat, by looking at its relationship with other agronomic and physiological traits, and understanding how this relationship may differ dependent on genetic background and experimental setting.

  • To measure correlations between root and shoot development.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of early root phenotyping as a tool for predicting field trait expression.
  • To provide breeders with an insight into the above and below-ground growth of a population of recently developed genotypes.
  • Highlighted the need for intentional selection of parent material – significant correlations identified between early shoot and root biomass, with presentation of this relationship, as well as the individual traits, varying greatly between genetic backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated the advantages of screening for early root vigour – significant correlations identified between controlled environment and field growth, with high root-biomass genotypes producing greater canopy biomass values, driven by a lower tiller emergence at a greater individual tiller mass.
  • Identified key genotypes of interest for further investigation.

About Sarah van der Meer

Country of origin and languages

My origin: Australia
Languages I speak: English


Bachelor of Environmental Science [Honours], University of Queensland, Australia


Deans Commendation for Academic Excellence

Research advisors

Assoc. Prof. Lee Hickey
Dr Millicent Smith
Dr Anton Wasson
Ms. Charlotte Rambla [PhD Candidate]

Doing research for me is the best way to keep thinking and continuing learning.
Sarah van der Meer
Research Assistant


Rambla, C., van der Meer, S., Voss-Fels, K.P. et al. A toolkit to rapidly modify root systems through single plant selection. Plant Methods 18, 2 (2022).