Lady Emily Smyth MRes current students 2020-2021

The Lady Emily Smyth Studentship is a prestigious award to support two scholars undertaking Masters by Research at the University of Bristol. The studentships for 2020-2021 were awarded to:

  • Lucy Beese: 'Map the gap – making palm oil more sustainable by mapping yield gaps across tropical landscapes'

  • Oonah Lessware: 'Developmental biology of superhydrophilic, directional, antiadhesive plant surfaces' 

Lucy Beese:
Map the gap – making palm oil more sustainable by mapping yield gaps across tropical landscapes

Supervised by: Tommaso Jucker

 ‌field of palm oil plants

My name is Lucy Beese and I am a recent graduate of the Biological Science MSci course at the University of Bristol. My research interests broadly include conservation and ecology, but my main academic goal is to produce research that has a positive impact on the world we live in. I am currently undertaking the next step in my academic journey by completing a Masters by Research funded by a Lady Emily Smyth Studentship from the Bristol Centre for Agricultural Innovation (BCAI). My research uses repeat-capture airborne LiDAR data to map the height growth of 100,000s of individual oil palms across tropical landscapes to identify yield gaps that would enable oil palm to be grown more efficiently and sustainably. 

Oonah Lessware:
Developmental biology of superhydrophilic, directional, antiadhesive plant surfaces

Supervised by Dr Ulrike Bauer

I am proud to have been awarded the Lady Emily Smyth Studentship which funds a year’s research in agricultural and plant science. I will investigate the development and function of surface features that make the upper rim of Nepenthes pitchers superhydrophilic and slippery for insects. This research could pave the way for the development of crops with improved, mechanical pest resistance in the future. Numerous techniques will be utilised to research the morphology of developing Nepenthes pitchers and trapping surfaces including, microscopy, time lapse videography, and 3D reconstruction. Further detail on the MRes project can be found here.

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