Tong commenced his PHD in October and is working with flood and salinty tolerance of wild rice species.
It is not easy to decide on the next targt species after the work on O. granulata has been completed. The nomenclature of the genus Oryza is being debated and we need clear criteria to select the next species to work on. For this purpose, Tong has analyzed for phylogentic sources and identified 16 species that all sources apparently can agree on as true species (and not just synonyms or subspecies).
We hope to finish the experimental work in 2021 but it all depends on how many species we need in order to feel confident that we have covered the variation of root traits within the genus of Oryza.
Shuai Tong started his PhD with me in October 2020. Tong has a degree in agricultural sciences from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He has been awarded a prestigious CSC PhD scholarship to work on the flood and salinity tolerance of wild rice species.
Progress in Tong's research
is regularly reported on my blog.
Tong has decided to progress the excellent work of Johan (former MSc student) who managed to characterize key root and shoot traits of 5 wild species and 2 cultivars in only 12 months. Oryza granulata is next in line although it is a tricky plant to work with. Only 2 our of 98 seeds germinated so Tong has established a culture based on tillers. He has now completed the work with aerated plants (i.e. roots without a ROL barrier) and has moved the plants into deoxygenated, stagnant nutrient solution.
Tong has analyzed various sources of phylogeny in the genus of Oryza and made a nice Venn chart to identify species on which most sources agree on the nomenclature.