Seeds are the means of delivering genetic information across space and time, not only in natural systems and conservation programmes, but crucially in agriculture where the world seed market is predicted to soon exceed US$40 billion. My research interests focus on understanding and enhancing the performance of seeds in this process and subsequent seedling establishment. The latter phase is fundamental to efficient crop production and the species balance of natural plant communities. Of particular interest is the response of seeds to environmental signals and the control of seed germination timing through dormancy which dominates seedling establishment. In my view, to understand these responses it is essential to integrate knowledge from laboratory studies with understanding of the soil surface complex in which the seed functions. Nevertheless, seed ecology, physiology and molecular biology have tended to be studied by separate scientific communities and with limited reference to the soil physical environment. The vision supporting my current research is to bring these different disciplines together to develop a better understanding of seed behavior.
Bill was President of the International Society for Seed Science (2011-2014).
He also has a wide ranging interest in the interaction between agriculture and the surrounding landscape.
International Society for Seed Science