Friday, 20 November 2020 12:55

PhD Précis

Written by  Sophie Preece
Lincoln University PhD. student, Ghouse Peera is working on grapevine phenology. Lincoln University PhD. student, Ghouse Peera is working on grapevine phenology.

From tasting the world’s hottest chilis to analysing grapevine phenology, Ghouse Peera has long been fascinated with plants.


The Lincoln University PhD student is in the third year of research into a project modelling grapevine phenology under different topography and management – including pruning techniques - from budburst to target sugar concentrations.

He says the work, which considers key phenological and growth events, including budburst, leaf appearance rate, and shoot growth, will help improve vine phenology and yield predictions and allow for more understanding of the impacts of climate change.

“We can use them as an anchor to predict what is going to happen, so we can be prepared and choose suitable cultivar options towards the future.”

Ghouse is from South India, where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture.

He then worked as a chilli breeder, doing germplasm evaluation by sampling the likes of Scorpion, Viper and Ghost peppers, in order to give them a pungency rating before they were used in hybridisation.

From there he worked with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), joining a biofuel project that had him breeding and analysing the performance of high biomass pearl millet cultivars for forage quality traits, and growing a passion for plant physiology.

That led him in turn to his PhD at Lincoln, where Ghouse has two trial sites, with one a hilly Pinot Noir block in Waipara, and the other a “relatively homogenous” Lincoln University vineyard site, also planted in Pinot.

His work is part of the Precision Grape Yield Analyser (GYA) project, led by Lincoln Agritech Limited with project partners of Lincoln University, University of Canterbury, Plant and Food Research and CSIRO.

The programme receives major funding from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment through an Endeavour programme.

The GYA also has financial support from the Bragato Research Institute.

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