Dr Nicky Creux



Senior Lecturer

Department

Plant and Soil Sciences
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Pollination is a fundamental process in plant biology describing the transfer of pollen from the male to female parts of the plant. In out-crossing plant species this pollen transfer is difficult, often requiring the movement of pollen between plants sometimes across great distances. Plants have evolved a large array of different strategies to overcome these physical barriers using either abiotic or biotic mechanisms such as wind, rain or insects to mobilize pollen. Many of these pollination strategies are affected by external environmental conditions such as seasonal changes and fluctuations in ambient temperature. A second dilemma faced by out-crossing plants is how to limit self-pollination; very often this is achieved by offsetting the maturation timing of the male and female floral organs. Currently there is little information on how plants regulate the timing of floral organ maturation or on how plants perceive changes in the environment and what implications climate change may have on these precisely timed mechanisms or pollination strategies.

The Crop Floral Biology and Environments team aims to combine molecular techniques with detailed physiological measurements (including time-lapse photography) to investigate how climatic changes and extreme weather events affect plant and flower development with a special focus on flower physiology, flower health and pollinator visits. We follow flowers from bud opening to seed development to assess the impact of these weather conditions may have on plant reproduction and potentially crop yield.

 

Current Projects:

  1. The effects of a changing environment and late-planting dates on maize plant development and yield in South Africa. (Funding: Maize Trust and DSI through GrainSA coordination)
  2. Assessing the effect of planting date and environment on sunflower development, Sclerotinia head rot and yield. (Funding: Oil and Protein Seed Development Trust)
  3. The impact of heat waves on floral organ development at the physiological and molecular level during anthesis in domesticated sunflower. (Funding: NRF - Thuthuka)
  4. Manipulating flower timing with plant growth regulators as a possible sunflower escape strategy from Sclerotinia Head Rot. (Funding: Sclerotinia Research Network through GrainSA coordination)

PUBLICATIONS

Marshall CM, Thompson VL, Creux NM, Harmer SL. 2023. The circadian clock controls temporal and spatial patterns of floral development in sunflower. Elife12, p.e80984.

Creux NM, Brown EA, Garner AG, Saeed S, Scher CL, Holalu SV, Yang D, Maloof JN, Blackman BK, Harmer SL. 2021. Flower orientation influences floral temperature, pollinator visits and plant fitness. New Phytologist232(2), pp.868-879.

CREUX NM, Harmer SL. 2019. Circadian Rhythms in Plants. Editor: Ronald PC, Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034611 

Atamian HS, CREUX NM, Brown EA, Garner AG, Blackman BK, Harmer SL. 2016. Circadian regulation of sunflower heliotropism, floral orientation, and pollinator visits. Science 353: 587-  590

Spokevicius AV, Taylor L, Melder E, Van Beveran K, Tibbits J, CREUX NM, Bossinger G. 2016. The use of Induced Somatic Sector Analysis (ISSA) for studying genes and promoters involved in wood formation and secondary stem development. JoVE 116 doi: 10.3791/54553

Hussey SG, Mizrachi E, CREUX NM, Myburg AA. 2013. Navigating the transcriptional roadmap regulating secondary cell wall deposition in plants. Frontiers in plant science 4:325

CREUX NM, De Castro MH, Ranik M, Maleka MF, Myburg AA. 2013. Diversity and cis-element architecture of the promoter regions of cellulose synthase genes in Eucalyptus. Tree Genetics and Genomes 9: 989-1004


My Galeries

Current research

News

Dr Nicky Creux wins a Ben Barrs Spotlight Award from eLife

Dr Nicky Creux has won a Ben Barrs Spotlight Award that will allow her to attend the International Sunflower Conference in China in 2024.

Plant and pathogen circadian clock discussions at FABI

Prof. Rachel Green visited FABI to discuss circadian clock oriented projects at FABI and her own research on plant circadian clocks' role in climate resilience.

CFBE research team participates in the NAMPO Harvest Day

Two members of the Crop Floral Biology and Environments research team in FABI, showcased their group’s work at Grain SA’s NAMPO Harvest Day 2023.

FABI members at the South African Sclerotinia Research Network workshop

Several FABIans from the GRP attended the South African Sclerotinia Research Network's recent workshop in Pretoria.

Export to RIS
Publication
Mapfumo P, Buthelezi S, Archer E, Swanevelder DZH, Wilken PM, Creux N. (2024) In-field climatic factors driving Sclerotinia head rot progression across different sunflower planting dates. Plant Pathology 10.1111/ppa.13873
Robert Mangani, Kpoti M. Gunn, Nicky Creux. (2023) Projecting the effect of climate change on planting date and cultivar choice for South African dryland maize production. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 341(15):109695. 10.1016/j.agrformet.2023.109695
Marshall CM, Thompson VL, Creux NM, Harmer SL. (2023) The circadian clock controls temporal and spatial patterns of floral development in sunflower. eLife (12):e80984.. 10.7554/eLife.80984
Creux NM, Brown EA, Garner AG, Saeed S, Scher CL, Holalu SV, Yang D, Maloof JN, Blackman BK, Harmer SL. (2021) Flower orientation influences floral temperature, pollinator visits and plant fitness. New Phytologist 10.1111/nph.17627
Creux NM, Harmer S. (2019) Circadian Rhythms in Plants. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology 11:a034611. 10.1101/cshperspect.a034611