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Dr Nadia Silvana Santini Gonzalez 

This research project will study how a range of iconic ground water dependent plant species respond to different drought scenarios to inform research and policy at regional and national levels. 

Economy: Mexico

Partnering Australian Institution: Sydney University of Technology 

Project Title: Ecophysiological responses of groundwater dependent vegetation to contrasting drought scenarios

Nadia Santini.JPG

Project Outline:


Groundwater-dependent vegetation is widely distributed across Australia and provides essential ecosystem services including the maintenance of water quality and carbon sequestration. Climate change models predict reduced rainfall in areas of Australia, which can reduce the recharge of groundwater systems, threatening vegetation and human activities that depend on them. Nadia's study will minimise this impact. 

Reasons for applying for fellowship:

I applied for the Australia-APEC Woman in Research Fellowship because it is a unique opportunity to perform international research in a highly recognised Australian University with Prof. Derek Eamus, a world leader in Eco hydrology. I expect that at the end of my program I will attain new techniques and strengthen my research network for future international collaborations between Mexico and Australia. 

Past Achievements:

As an early-career researcher with a young child and passion for Plant Biology, the fellowship judges were impressed with Nadia's academic achievements including her successful application and completion of a highly competitive Mexican fellowship to undertake a PhD in Plant Ecology at The University of Queensland. Nadia's PhD research investigated mangrove wood structure and function. 


During her PhD, she studied individual-based modelling to understand mangrove growth responses to eutrophication in South East Queensland (SEQ) as part of the Coastal Research Network founded by the European Union. She has also conducted extensive field research at the SEQ Wetland Reserves as part of the SEQ Climate Adaptation Research Initiative.  

Nadia won a Graduate School International Travel Award, where she travelled to Germany to develop a project for her PhD. She undertook a residency at the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications in Spain, Where she examined wood anatomy to understand drought mechanisms inducing mortality of trees from the Prades Forest.  

She has undertaken extensive teaching duties and presented at international conferences in France  and Australia and published twelve manuscripts in high impact journals, including PloS One and Functional Plant Biology. She currently volunteers at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney, diagnosing fungus diseases of Australian flora. 

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