Dr Sally Wilkinson

Research Manager

Here at Levity our in depth understanding of how plants respond physiologically to the environment strengthens the links in our chain of knowledge that leads us to be able to develop unique and targeted products for crop improvement. Link 1: listening to farmers’ requirements and problems; link 2: understanding how and why a crop plant responds to its environment to cause the farmer-identified problem; link 3: manipulating physiology to improve the crop via novel biochemistry; link 4: formulating this chemistry into a field ready product for application.

Over the last 20 years I have gained much experience as a crop research scientist at both Southampton and Lancaster Universities. This means that I know how to design experiments that reveal aspects of the plant’s physiology or biochemistry that could underlie negative yield traits. I carried out many experiments designed to understand how plants tolerate or succumb to stresses such as drought, pollution, salinity and adverse temperatures. For example we found that the production and the relative dispersal of protective plant hormones between tissues and organs could sometimes affect leaf and root development, size and quality. Here at Levity I manage the research we carry out on crops both in the laboratory and in the field. This is designed to strengthen link 2 – ‘understanding’, and link 3 – ‘manipulating’, in Levity’s chain of knowledge, leading from farm to lab and back to farm, and culminating in our pioneering ranges of products that enhance crop production.

Contact Details

Tel: +44 (0)1995 642396
E: sally@levitycropscience.com


N-fixation in legumes: an assessment of the potential threat posed by ozone pollution

Hewitt, D., Mills, G. E., Hayes, F., Coyle, M., Wilkinson, S. & Davies, W. J. 01/2016 In : Environmental Pollution. 208, Part B, p. 909-918 10 p.


Highlighting the threat from current and near-future ozone pollution to clover in pasture

Hewitt, D., Mills, G. E., Hayes, F., Wilkinson, S. & Davies, W. J. 06/2014 In : Environmental Pollution. 189, p. 111-117 7 p.


Ethylene limits abscisic acid- or soil drying-induced stomatal closure in aged wheat leaves

Chen, L., Dodd, I. C., Davies, W. J. & Wilkinson, S. 10/2013 In : Plant, Cell and Environment. 36, 10, p. 1850-1859 10 p.


The effect of competition from neighbours on stomatal conductance in lettuce and tomato plants

Vysotskaya, L., Wilkinson, S., Davies, W. J., Arkhipova, T. & Kudoyarova, G. 05/2011 In : Plant, Cell and Environment. 34, 5, p. 729-737 9 p.


Drought, ozone, ABA and ethylene: new insights from cell to plant to community.

Wilkinson, S. & Davies, W. J. 04/2010 In : Plant, Cell and Environment. 33, 4, p. 510-525 16 p.


Ozone suppresses soil drying- and abscisic acid (ABA)-induced stomatal closure via an ethylene-dependent mechanism

Wilkinson, S. & Davies, W. J. 08/2009 In : Plant, Cell and Environment. 32, 8, p. 949-959 11 p.

Chronic exposure to increasing background ozone impairs stomatal functioning in grassland species

Mills, G., Hayes, F., Wilkinson, S. & Davies, W. J. 06/2009 In : Global Change Biology. 15, 6, p. 1522-1533 12 p.


Manipulation of the apoplastic pH of intact plants mimics stomatal and growth responses to water availability and microclimatic variation

Wilkinson, S. & Davies, W. J. 02/2008 In : Journal of Experimental Botany. 59, 3, p. 619-631 13 p.


Regulation of plant growth in container-grown ornamentals through the use of irrigation.

Cameron, R. W. F., Wilkinson, S., Davies, W. J., Harrison-Murray, R. S., Dunstan, D. & Burgess, C. 2003 In : Acta Horticulturae. 630, p. 305-312 8 p.


ABA-based chemical signalling : the co-ordination of responses to stress in plants.

Wilkinson, S. & Davies, W. J. 02/2002 In : Plant, Cell and Environment. 25, 2, p. 195-210 16 p.

Root signals.

Bacon, M. A., Davies, W. J., Mingo, D. M. & Wilkinson, S. 2002 The hidden half (3rd ed.). Waisel, Y. (ed.). New York: Springer, p. 461-470 10 p.

Stomatal control by chemical signalling and the exploitation of of this mechanism to increase water use efficiency in agriculture.

Davies, W. J., Wilkinson, S. & Loveys, B. 2002 In : New Phytologist. 153, 3, p. 449-460 12 p.



Rapid low temperature induced stomatal closure occurs in cole tolerant Commelina communis leaves but not in cold sensitive Nicotiana rutica leaves via a mechanism that involves apoplastic calcium but not abscisic acid.

Wilkinson, S., Clephan, A. L. & Davies, W. J. 08/2001 In : Plant Physiology. 126, 4, p. 1566-1578 13 p.


PH as a stress signal.

Wilkinson, S. 09/1999 In : Plant Growth Regulation. 29, 1-2, p. 89-99 11 

A mechanism for low temperature-induced stomatal closure.

Wilkinson, S. & Davies, W. J. 1999 Crop development for cool and wet climate of Europe. Sanchez-Diax, M., Irigoyen, J. J., Aguuirreolea, J. & Pithan, K. (eds.). COST, p. 298-310 13 

Using the plant’s stress signalling system to increase water use efficiency in irrigation.

Davies, W. J., Wilkinson, S. & Thompson, D. S. 1999 Proceedings of the 14th Dalhlia Greidinger conference. p. 251-266 16

Recent Projects

Levity Projects Involving Sally