Rebecca Darbyshire

Research interests

  • Climate change
  • Integration of weather and climate information into agronomic systems
  • Temperate fruit tree flowering phenology modelling
  • Climate change adaptation in agriculture
  • Automation of weather variables into meaningful agronomic metrics.


Rebecca’s research centres on interpreting environmental changes into meaningful implications for natural systems. These quantitative skills were developed as a scientist for the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS) in the Federal Department of Agriculture. In this role she evaluated environmental and management factors to contribute to the management and monitoring of invasive marine pests. Subsequently, through her role with the University of Melbourne, her skills have largely been applied to temperate fruit trees, investigating current and future impacts of a changing climate on winter chill, flowering timing and extreme heat damage.

Currently, Rebecca is applying her skills to determine the potential value of seasonal climate forecasts in many agricultural sectors (cotton, rice, beef, sheep, sugar, grains) with the aim to improve profitability of Australian agriculture. Rebecca has a wide national and international collaborative network including working relationships with scientists and industry in many Australian states and internationally with USA, Canada and France. A particular highlight of these collaborations was working as an invited scholar in INRA, France in 2016 to investigate global responses of apple to rising temperatures.


  • BSc (Hons) UMelb
  • PhD UMelb

Current projects

  • Lead investigator in determining potential value of seasonal climate forecasts for Australia’s agricultural industries
  • Modelling pome fruit carbon assimilation to better understand and manage fruit thinning
  • Conference committee member for 2017 ‘Phenology’ conference

Recent publications

Measham PF, R Darbyshire, SR Turpin, S Murphy-White S 2017. Complexity in chill calculations: A case study in cherries. Scientia Horticulturae 216:134-140. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2017.01.006

Darbyshire R, EWR Barlow, L Webb, I Goodwin 2016. Roadblocks to assessing climate impacts on temperate perennial fruit. International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS), Leuven, Belgium, pp 11-18. doi:10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1130.2

Darbyshire R, P Measham, I Goodwin 2016. A crop and cultivar-specific approach to assess future winter chill risk for fruit and nut trees. Climatic Change:1-16. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1692-3

Darbyshire R, K Pope, I Goodwin 2016. An evaluation of the chill overlap model to predict flowering time in apple tree. Scientia Horticulturae 198 142-149

Darbyshire R, L McClymont, I Goodwin 2015. Sun damage risk of Royal Gala apple in fruit-growing districts in Australia. New Zealand Journal of Crop Horticultural Sciences 43 222-232. doi:10.1080/01140671.2015.1034731

Darbyshire R, L Webb, I Goodwin, EWR Barlow 2014. Challenges in predicting climate change impacts on pome fruit phenology. International Journal of Biometeorology 58 1119-1133. doi:10.1007/s00484-013-0705-4

Webb L, R Darbyshire. I Goodwin 2014. Climate Change: Horticulture. In: Alfen NV (ed) Encyclopaedia of Agriculture and Food Systems, Vol 2. Elsevier, San Diego, pp 266-283.

Darbyshire R, L Webb, I Goodwin, EWR Barlow 2013. Evaluation of recent trends in Australian pome fruit spring phenology International Journal of Biometeorology 57 409-421. doi:10.1007/s00484-012-0567-1

Webb LB, PH Whetton, J Bhend, R Darbyshire, PR Briggs, EWR Barlow 2012. Earlier wine grape ripening driven by climate warming and declines in soil water content. Nature Climate Change 2 259-264.

Darbyshire R, L Webb, I Goodwin, S Barlow 2011. Winter chilling trends for deciduous fruit trees in Australia. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 151 1074-1085. doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2011.03.010

Professional associations and activities

  • Editorial advisory board: International Journal of Biometeorology
  • Member, International Society of Horticultural Science

Fields of research

  • 070601 Horticultural Crop Growth and Development
  • 070105 Agricultural Systems Analysis and Modelling
  • 040104 Climate Change Processes

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Climate change impacts
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Seasonal climate forecast
  • Temperate perennial fruit
  • Phenology

Contact details

Location: Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute