Dr Behnam Ababaei

Research Officer

Centre for Crop Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
b.ababaei@uq.edu.au
+61 7 4688 1241

Overview

My research lies mostly in the fields of crop physiology, cropping systems and water resources management with a focus on biophysical/crop modeling (APSIM, APSIM-NextGen, SiriusQuality, AquaCrop, DSSAT, WOFOST, SWAP), hydrological modeling (e.g. SWAT, HEC-HMS, IHACRES), climate change/variability, and environment characterization (drought, heat and frost stress). I am especially interested in conducting large-scale model-aided impact and adaptation studies and working with crop and hydrological models to understand the implications of genetic variability, climate change/variability, weather extremes, land use change, and management scenarios for crop production, water resources, economies and societies at various spatial-temporal scales. I have published +50 scientific papers and presented my work at national and international conferences on a wide range of topics. I have published three books (in Persian) on sprinkle irrigation, climate-smart agriculture and the R programming language.

I graduated from the University of Tehran in 2012 with a PhD in Agricultural Engineering. For my thesis, I developed a planning support system to integrate the DSSAT crop models (wheat, maize, barley, tomato, cotton, sorghum, and potato) into a data-fusion-based hydrological model and quantify economic, social and environmental impacts of land use change and selected adaptation strategies under different climate scenarios (two future periods, 25 GCMs). Along with crop modeling, I addressed multiple topics including weather generators, statistical downscaling of climate scenarios, hydrological modeling, optimization, and multi-criteria evaluation. After graduation, I spent nine months of mandatory military service as the head of a research group in the Iranian Ministry of Defense being responsible for mid-term and long-term planning, road-map preparation, proposal development, and supervision of postgraduate researchers in the fields of irrigation and drainage, agronomy, and water resources management.At the QAAFI (the University of Queensland), I have been focused on the quantification of the impact of abiotic stresses on wheat across the Australian Wheatbelt using the APSIM wheat model under current and future climates. Recently, I implemented a new photosynthesis module into APSIM-NextGen, which enables analyzing the impact of transpiration efficiency (TE) on wheat and investigating the value of exploring currently existing genetic variability in TE for breeding programs in Australia. In order to further evaluate our hypothesis, I ran a glasshouse experiment in APAD facility at the UQ Gatton campus with 105 genotypes from numerous sources. I also participate in field and greenhouse experiments conducted by Dr Najeeb Ullah (UQ/DAF) to explore opportunities to improve heat stress tolerance in wheat. In addition, I collaborate with UQ colleagues based in Brisbane to evaluate a new canopy photosynthesis-stomatal conductance module (DCaPST) developed for APSIM and APSIM-NextGen.

In 2015, I took up a post-doctoral position at Limagrain Europe (the world’s 4th largest seed producer) and led a joint project with the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), which was focused on crop modeling, model improvement, environment characterization, climate change, and data analysis at a pan-European level. I designed and implemented a comprehensive simulation and analysis framework to investigate the impacts of abiotic stresses (drought, heat and nitrogen deficiency) on wheat performance across Europe and identify trends in selected climate indices and wheat traits over 1984-2014 at +8000 locations and +25000 simulation units. I improved the source code (in C#) and interface of the SiriusQuality wheat model and added new modules for crop management automation.

I participated in multiple interdisciplinary projects in integrated water resources management, hydraulics and hydrology, irrigation and drainage systems, rural water infrastructures, river engineering, and flood management over 2006-2017 in Iran. I served as senior engineer and project coordinator/manager, especially in the fields of irrigation systems and water resources management, responsible for coordination and planning, design, preparation of technical reports, time and budget management, participation in meetings, and conflict resolution. I am a certified irrigation system designer and irrigation system installation specialist assessed by the Iran Ministry of Agriculture.

Research Interests

  • Biophysical/crop and agro-hydrological modelling (crop physiology, agro-meteorology, hydrology).
  • Drought and climate change/variability (precision and climate-smart agriculture, sustainable farming).
  • Data analysis, optimization and deep learning (R, MATLAB, LINGO and C# programming, TensorFlow, Keras).
  • Farm system design and management and hydraulic modeling (surface and pressurized irrigation systems, drainage and water delivery systems).
  • Integrated water resources management (water resources planning, land use management, virtual water).
  • Geographical Information System and Remote Sensing (GIS and RS).

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy - Agricultural Engineering, Tehran

Publications

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Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Publications

Book

Journal Article

Conference Publication

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision