Cryobiology and Anhydrobiology

Snow gums in the Australian alps

Physical stresses in cryobiology and anhydrobiology. Much of the cellular damage produced by environmental freezing is due to freezing-induced, osmotic dehydration and to the rehydration during thawing. Both dehydration and rehydration impose mechanical stresses on membranes and macromolecules and several of the resultant strains have been correlated with cellular freezing and thawing damage. In collaboration with Gary Bryant of RMIT, we use NMR and thermodynamic techniques to measure stresses and strains in model membrane systems and in some suspended cells. For more details, see Biophysics of cryobiology and anhydrobiology

Freezing damage in leaves. Freezing damage limits the range of many plant species, and the re-establishment of eucalypt forests. In collaboration with Marilyn Ball of ANU, we study the way ice forms in the leaves of eucalypts, using infra-red imaging and numerical modelling of radiation, convection, conduction and nucleation.

Selected Publications