Kadambot Siddique, AM CitWA FTSE FAIA FNAAS FISPP FAAS

Professor, BSc (Ag) Hons MSc PhD, PhD W.Aust., FTSE, FAIA, FNAAS

  • The University of Western Australia (M082), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated using citation counts from Scopus for publications in the UWA Profiles and Research Repository
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Personal profile

Biography

Professor Kadambot H.M. Siddique AM, CitWA, FTSE, FAIA, FNAAS, FISPP, FAAS
Hackett Professor of Agriculture Chair and Director The UWA Institute of Agriculture

After completion of his PhD at UWA in 1985 Professor Siddique joined the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) as a cereal crop physiologist and worked his way up to principal scientist and leader of DAFWA's Pulse Program.  He became the Director of Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA) at UWA in 2001 and remained in this position until 2006 when he was appointed to establish and lead The UWA Institute of Agriculture.

Professor Siddique is recognised internationally as a leader in crop science and agriculture.

Roles and responsibilities

  • Lead the Institute and work with the External Advisory Board to identify issues for the industry and develop the Institute’s high-level strategic response;
  • Develop and manage operational and communication plans, and resource requirement for presentation to, and approval by, the Executive; and ensure that these plans are effectively implemented;
  • Build relationships with the agricultural industry; nurture and enhance research alliances and represent and promote the Institute;
  • Lead and integrate agricultural research within UWA - manage research themes; provide Institute members with strong and empowering leadership to enhance the motivation, focus and satisfaction they derive from their contribution to the Institute;
  • Facilitate linkages across agriculture-related research groups within UWA;
  • Advise on issues related to developments in agriculture and natural resource management; and
  • Contributing to research training in agriculture and natural resource management.

Professor Kadambot Siddique has made outstanding contributions to agriculture in research, education and industry development. His research on the adaptation, physiology, genetics and agronomy of crops has boosted cereal and grain legume production in dryland environments. Professor Siddique’s major contribution to dryland agriculture has been crop yield improvements in grain legumes and wheat, and the release of 13 new grain legume cultivars. His education and research training initiatives span many regions, including Australia, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. These are impacting on the next generation of agricultural scientists and progressive farmers-for the future challenges of food security. 

Professor Kadambot Siddique has more than 30 years' experience in agricultural research, research training and management in Australia and overseas. He has a national and international reputation in various aspects of agricultural science, including crop physiology, production agronomy, farming systems, genetic resources and breeding, with a focus on wheat, grain legumes (especially chickpea) and oilseed crops. Professor Siddique’s most outstanding achievement has been the promotion and development of agricultural research and education among agricultural stakeholders within Australia and overseas, based on his exceptional leadership in capacity building, constant dedication to training and mentoring, and outstanding research output in his field.

Previous positions

1980-1981 - Research Associate, International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Aleppo, Syria.
1985-1992 - Cereal Physiologist, Department of Agriculture Western Australia.
1992-1996 - Senior Pulse Agronomist/Physiologist, Department of Agriculture Western Australia.
1996-2001 - Principal Pulse Agronomist/Physiologist, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia and Sub-Program Leader, Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA), The University of Western Australia.
2000-2001 - Leader, Pulse Productivity Program, Department of Agriculture Western Australia.
2001-2006 - Director and Professor (Crop Science), Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA), The University of Western Australia.
2006-2012 - Winthrop Professor of Agriculture Chair and Director, The UWA Institute of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia.
2010-2012 - Associate Research Dean, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Western Australia.

Funding overview

Professor Siddique has attracted numerous ARC, ACIAR, AusAID, Australian Government, CGIAR and industry-funded (GRDC, MLA, RIRDC, GRC, COGGO) projects, and has collaborated nationally and internationally on research in cereals, oilseeds, grain and pasture legume crop physiology and agronomy.

Research

Professor Siddique’s major contribution to dryland agriculture has been crop yield improvements in grain legumes and wheat in the fields of crop physiology, production agronomy, germplasm development and breeding. Research in these disciplines is rarely conducted in parallel and, therefore, rarely integrated. Professor Siddique maintains contact with end-users and always involves industry and farmer groups in the first steps of developing his research projects. His research is relevant to the farming community and aims to solve real problems through meticulous scientific research methodology and collaboration. His research is directly relevant to international researchers, producers and communities as illustrated by his numerous international linkages.

Wheat yield improvement in Mediterranean-type environments

Professor Siddique led a team of physiologists, breeders and agronomists in WA to understand the constraints of dryland cropping in the Mediterranean environments of southern Australia and to explore opportunities for yield improvements in wheat.

Professor Siddique's research highlights on wheat include:

  • Contributed key papers on the development pattern of old and modern wheats to the ‘Flower model’ which is used extensively to predict flowering time in Australian wheat varieties. His research showed that the rate of spikelet initiation is faster than that of leaf initiation and modern wheats have faster rates of spikelet initiation than old cultivars.
  • Identified ear:stem ratio as an index of competitive strength of the ear, which is highly correlated with harvest index (HI), grains per ear and grain yield, and a better indicator of yield potential than HI because it is determined early in the lifecycle and, unlike HI, is not affected by environmental stresses after anthesis.
  • Identified a strong negative relationship between pre-anthesis water use and grain yield in WA, which was related to the early maturity of modern wheats. Water use efficiency (WUE) for biomass production did not improve with selection for yield but, as a result of earlier anthesis and improved HI, WUE for grain production increased in modern wheats.
  • Identified that modern wheats produce less dry matter and lower root:shoot ratios than old wheats which probably relates to earlier sink development, fewer tillers and fewer nodal roots associated with tillers. Professor Siddique and his students recently showed that grain yield in wheat under terminal drought depends on post-anthesis water use regulated by stomatal conductance and root capability to extract available water from the soil. Elevated CO2 ameliorated the negative effects of terminal drought on biomass and grain yield, due to increased rates of leaf net photosynthesis and increased tiller numbers, leaf area, biomass and grain numbers. The increased grain number per year resulted from increased survival of competent florets at anthesis.
  • More recently, Professor Siddique and his team have focused on developing rapid root phenotyping techniques for large amounts of germplasm in crop plants such as lupins, chickpea and wheat.

Grain legume adaptation, improvement and production technology

Professor Siddique’s pioneering research on chickpea adaptation to dryland environments has contributed enormously to the Australian chickpea industry (currently valued at >$500 million pa). His leading role in breeding, selection and development of high-yielding superior legume cultivars resulted in the commercial release of 13 grain legume cultivars in Australia.

Professor Siddique's research highlights on grain legumes include:

  • Identified a clear species × environment interaction on the growth and yield of commercially-grown and potential new grain legume species in the Mediterranean environments of south-western Australia.
  • Identified a positive correlation between post-flowering water use and grain yield in 12 cool-season grain legumes across a range of environments in WA. For the first time, Professor Siddique and colleagues developed benchmark values of transpiration efficiency to assess yield potential in cool-season grain legume crops in dryland environments.
  • Identified germplasm for chilling tolerance in chickpea and established a novel breeding technique based on pollen selection to commercially release two chickpea varieties with improved chilling tolerance and yield.
  • Together with Australian and international collaborators, Professor Siddique recently published a perspective paper on grain legumes in Nature Plants and special issue of Journal of Experimental Botany.

Dryland agricultural ecosystems and conservation agriculture

Sustainable food production and security are a major concern worldwide. Australian agriculture faces challenges such as frequent droughts, high temperatures, nutrient-poor soils and dryland salinity. The agroecosystem of the Loess Plateau in China is typical of a developing region and rainfed farming is the most widespread land-use practice. Over-cultivation of these marginal lands has led to severe soil erosion. The development of integrated cropping/animal production and agrosystems management is a priority for China and Australia. Professor Siddique and his team have been working with Lanzhou University and ICARDA since 2006 on various aspects of agricultural ecosystem management in dry areas; more than 60 joint papers have been published, and technologies have been developed and tested including plastic mulching, ridge–furrow planting methods, water use and WUE, lucerne production systems and fertiliser management. Recently, this information has been compiled in a book on ‘Innovations in dryland agriculture′.

Conservation agriculture (CA) is an important technology for sustainable production in dryland systems. CA has been tested and validated in various regions worldwide, but CA components are complex and location-specific, including crop residue management, cultivar selection and crop choice for rotation, strategies for nutrient management, tactics for weed management, disease and pest management, and soil water management practices. Professor Siddique was a key leader of the Conservation Agriculture in Northern Iraq and Australia project (funded by ACIAR and AusAID) in collaboration with ICARDA. As part of this project, MSc students and PhD students from Iraq and Australia were trained on various aspects of CA at UWA, and several papers, a special issue of Field Crops Research, a book by Springer and several reviews have been published.

The gap between average and potential crop yields varies from 0.5 to >5 t ha–1  depending on the agro ecological region and available technologies—leaving considerable scope for future yield improvement.

Evidence of Impact

Professor Siddique’s research has been outstandingly productive and is directly relevant to international research, producers and communities as illustrated by his numerous international linkages.

Professor Siddique is a high achiever in research because he has never lost contact with the end-users; his research is relevant to the farming community and aims to solve real problems through meticulous scientific methodology.

Professor Siddique’s achievements in research are exemplified by significant initiatives including:

2001 Continuation of CLIMA as an active university research centre.

2005 Initiation and establishment of Seeds of Life project in Timor-Leste.

2006 Re-establishment of the UWA Institute of Agriculture.

2007 UWA–Lanzhou University Collaboration—this ‘111’ project is funded by the Chinese Government inviting 1000 world-class academics from the world’s top 100 universities to establish 100 innovative research bases in China.

2009 Establishment of the International Centre for Plant Breeding Education and Research to educate and train Australian and international plant breeders to ensure that genetic improvement in vital crops is not slowed by lack of trained expertise.

2009 Purchase and establishment of the UWA Farm at Pingelly, WA to meet a vision to develop a best-practice farm for 2050 and to facilitate state, national and international research into future farming systems.

2010 UWA–CSIRO initiative in capacity building in plant biotic stress to align research capacities in genomics and biotic stress, and thus to foster graduate training, research opportunities and new funding avenues.

2011 A Professorship in Applied Entomology at UWA in partnership with the Grains Research and  Development Corporation (GRDC) to reverse the loss of skilled agricultural entomologists, essential to combat the threats insects pose to global food supplies.

2013 Establishment of the ‘Centre for Dryland Agriculture and Ecosystem’ – a joint centre between Lanzhou University, UWA and ICARDA.

Current projects

Physiological and molecular characterisation of salinity and drought tolerance in chickpea.
• Improving heat and drought tolerance in canola through genomic selection in Brassica rapa.
• Development of conservation cropping systems in the drylands.
• Genomic approaches for stress tolerant (drought, heat and salinity) chickpea.
• Adaptation of wheat to climate change: drought and heat tolerance and elevated CO2.
• Assessing the role of transpiration in ameliorating leaf temperature in wheat.
• Stomatal regulation and leaf ABA concentrations in wheat.
• Phenotyping root architecture and root system in wheat and chickpea
• Phosphorus use efficiency in chickpea.

Teaching overview

Professor Siddique is involved in undergraduate teaching and he regularly delivers lectures on the following topics: Climate change and global food security, Water use efficiency and dryland crop production, Grain legume adaptation and production agronomy, Climate change and crop adaptation.

Professor Siddique has supervised and trained more than 30 postdoctoral fellows from various countries, 42 postgraduate students (PhD and MSc) and numerous undergraduate students from around the world; he has also hosted 30 visiting scientists. These people came from more than 20 countries from five continents. In addition to USA and Canada, many European countries are represented (incl. UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Italy), African countries (incl. South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria) together with many Asian countries (incl. India, China, Japan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand , Philippines), Turkey and Middle East, West Asia and North Africa.

Engagement

Regular reviewer of proposals submitted to:

ARC, GRDC, RIRDC, IAEA, UAE National Research Foundation, National Commission for Academic Accreditation & Assessment (NCAAA), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Education/Academic qualification

Environmental and Crop Physiology, PhD, The University of Western Australia

… → 1985

Crop Physiology, MSc (Ag), ICAR - Indian Agricultural Research Institute

… → 1979

Agricultural Science, BSc (Ag), Kerala Agricultural University

… → 1977

Research expertise keywords

  • Agriculture, abiotic stress, crop physiology, agronomy, farming systems, germplasm enhancement and breeding of cereals, legumes and oil seed crops, climate change adaptation, conservation agriculture
  • International project collaboration
  • Linkage with farmer groups and industry
  • Postgraduate training/supervision

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