Tim Colmer

Professor, BSc(Agric) W.Aust., PhD Calif.

  • The University of Western Australia (M460), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 1.032, Agriculture North Wing, Faculty of Science, Perth Campus

    6009 Perth


  • 10277 Citations
  • 51 h-Index
1995 …2021
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Personal profile


PhD in Plant Biology (1994) University of California (Davis)

BSc. Agric. (First Class Honours, 1990) The University of Western Australia

Teaching & Research Academic

Roles and responsibilities

Australasian Editor of Annals of Botany (2001 - present)

Handling Editor of Journal of Experimental Botany (2011-present)

International Review Board of Plant, Cell & Environment (2006-present)

President of the Australian Society of Plant Scientists (2013 & 2014)

International Committee of the International Society for Plant Anaerobiosis (2003-2016)

Plant physiologist with expertise in abiotic stress tolerance, especially salinity, drought, waterlogging and submergence stress

Funding overview

Research in my laboratory has been supported by a series of competitive grants from: ARC-Discovery (1), ARC-Linkage (4), GRDC (6; including via Salinity CRC and FFI CRC), HAL (7), ACIAR (1), Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (2), and others.

Previous positions

Coordinator of Master of Agricultural Science (2014-present)

Head, School of Plant Biology (2013-2015)

Postgraduate Coordinator, School of Plant Biology (2010-2013)

Deputy Head, School of Plant Biology (2009 - 2012)

Associate Dean, Teaching & Learning, Faculty of Natural & Agricultural Sciences (2005-2007)

Teaching overview

My teaching focuses on responses and adaptations of plants to adverse environments, and the integration of processes from the cellular to whole plant levels. The relevance of such adaptations to plants in appropriate agricultural and natural systems are considered in the context of solving problems in these management systems. Inter-disciplinary approaches to problem solving are emphasized. Evaluations of the current scientific literature and group discussions are used as teaching tools. Laboratory- and field-based teaching is of importance, since I am convinced that hands-on experience is valuable to students learning plant science. I lecture in units in Biology (Level 1), Plant Physiology (Level 2), Plant Ecophysiology (Level 3). I supervise a cohort of PhD students and research project (Honours & Masters) students.


The research focus in my laboratory is on the identification of physiological and biochemical traits associated with plant adaptation to salinity and flooding, and the regulation of these traits. Research ranges from cellular to eco-physiological processes, since I consider that elucidation of mechanisms at several levels of organisation is essential to gain an integrative understanding of whole plant adaptation. Collaborative, multi-disciplinary research in my laboratory involves PhD students, and we have established projects with key Local, National and International scientists. Research on flooding stress has focused on anoxia tolerance using rice coleoptiles as a model system, and on oxygen movement in the aerenchyma in roots of crops (esp. rice and wheat), pasture species, and wetland plants (including ‘wild’ Triticeae). Research on salt resistance focuses on the regulation of tissue concentrations of organic solutes and Na and Cl in wheat and its wild relatives, pasture species, and Australian halophytes. Nutrient and water management in turf with Louise Barton (soil scientist).

Research student supervision: I have supervised 20 PhD students (all are jointly supervised in our School), 2 MSc, and 32 Fourth year/Honours projects to completion in my laboratory. PhD students have been successful in the publication of papers in high-quality international peer-reviewed journals and they have obtained positions in their chosen career. Three PhD students have been awarded distinctions by the Graduate Research School.


  • Physiology of plant roots
  • Plant physiology/ecology
  • Salinity and flooding tolerance in crops and halophytes
  • Water and nutrient management in turf

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Tim Colmer is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 12 Similar Profiles
flooded conditions Agriculture & Biology
submergence Agriculture & Biology
hypoxia Agriculture & Biology
adventitious roots Agriculture & Biology
salinity Agriculture & Biology
rice Agriculture & Biology
oxygen Agriculture & Biology
Photosynthesis Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1995 2019

stem elongation
Gene Expression
4 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Energy costs of salinity tolerance in crop plants

Tyerman, S. D., Munns, R., Fricke, W., Arsova, B., Barkla, B. J., Bose, J., Bramley, H., Byrt, C., Chen, Z., Colmer, T. D., Cuin, T., Day, D. A., Foster, KJ., Gilliham, M., Henderson, S. W., Horie, T., Jenkins, C. L. D., Kaiser, B. N., Katsuhara, M., Plett, D. & 12 othersMiklavcic, S. J., Roy, S. J., Rubio, F., Shabala, S., Shelden, M., Soole, K., Taylor, N. L., Tester, M., Watt, M., Wege, S., Wegner, L. H. & Wen, Z., 1 Jan 2019, In : New Phytologist. 221, 1, p. 25-29 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

Open Access
3 Citations (Scopus)

Friend or Foe? Chloride Patterning in Halophytes

Bazihizina, N., Colmer, T. D., Cuin, T. A., Mancuso, S. & Shabala, S., Feb 2019, In : Trends in Plant Science. 24, 2, p. 142-151 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)

Osmotic adjustment and energy limitations to plant growth in saline soil

Munns, R., Passioura, J. B., Colmer, T. D. & Byrt, C. S., 21 Apr 2019, In : New Phytologist.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

saline soils
plant growth

Resequencing of 429 chickpea accessions from 45 countries provides insights into genome diversity, domestication and agronomic traits

Varshney, R. K., Thudi, M., Roorkiwal, M., He, W., Upadhyaya, H. D., Yang, W., Bajaj, P., Cubry, P., Rathore, A., Jian, J., Doddamani, D., Khan, A. W., Garg, V., Chitikineni, A., Xu, D., Gaur, P. M., Singh, N. P., Chaturvedi, S. K., Nadigatla, G. V. P. R., Krishnamurthy, L. & 20 othersDixit, G. P., Fikre, A., Kimurto, P. K., Sreeman, S. M., Bharadwaj, C., Tripathi, S., Wang, J., Lee, S-H., Edwards, D., Polavarapu, K. K. B., Penmetsa, R. V., Crossa, J., Nguyen, H. T., Siddique, K. H. M., Colmer, T. D., Sutton, T., von Wettberg, E., Vigouroux, Y., Xu, X. & Liu, X., May 2019, In : Nature Genetics. 51, 5, p. 857-+ 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Projects 1996 2021