Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Biology and Environmental Science

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Floren Plaza
Senior Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty

External supervisors

  • Dr Karen Harper, UQ


There is strong, qualitative evidence that fodder crops produced in the tropics are 'tougher' and less nutritious than fodder crops produced in subtropical and temperate regions.

However, tools that can quantify the mechanical properties of fodder crops, particularly those with direct relevance to feeding and nutrition, are lacking.

Research activities

As part of this research project you will:

  • review the available methods to quantify the mechanical properties of fodder
  • narrow down the methods with relevance to feeding and nutrition
  • analyse a range of fodders produced in temperate, subtropical and tropical areas and measure their mechanical properties.


The overall aim of the project is to develop a series of tests that predict the ease with which herbivores can disrupt the structure of fodder and determine the impact of fodder mechanical properties on fodder intake and nutritional value.

Skills and experience

If you have experience in the following scientific areas and strong practical skills it will be well regarded:

  • fibre mechanical properties
  • lignocellulosic biomass analysis
  • mastication of fodder by stock.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact Dr Mark Harrison for more information.