Sonja is primarily a course and subject coordinator, lecturer and tutor in Wine, Climate Change Adaptation and Animal Science.
She has expertise in sensory science and human and canine olfactory systems.
Sonja is particularly interested in how the human olfactory is influenced not only by mechanical physiology but also, and most interestingly, by psychology. Colours, sounds and textures all influence the way we taste and smell and our abilities to recall different sensory pictures.
Sonja is currently the primary researcher for The University of Melbourne Detection Dog Projects. Using volunteer dog and handler teams as well as her own detection dogs to learn more about the capabilities of dogs as a detection tool. She is particularly interested in sensitivity and reliability and developing training methods which allow faster and more economical training of dogs in the detection field. To date she has completed several small projects with the aid of Animal Science research students. Completed projects include; using dogs for Eutypa in grapevines, Brettanomyces in wineries, invasive weeds and if detection dogs able to distinguish single component target odours when trained on odour mixtures.Sonja has also been involved in research assessing 'climate change related' future frost risk for important cultivars across Australia's growing regions incorporating the recovery responses of a range of wine grape cultivars to severe frost events. Increasing the strategic ability to react to impending frost events by improving our management of frost affected grapevines. Detection and quantification of several bacterial species which are active ice nucleators, by expressing an ice nucleation (IN) protein, catalysing freezing on plants at up to -1oC.
Other areas of research include Recovery responses of grapevine after a bushfire event.
Find out more about Sonja Needs' experience
Sonja Needs' highlights
Sonja Needs' selected work
The Influence of Apical and Basal Defoliation on the Canopy Structure and Biochemical Comp..
The use of a portable robotic sparkling wine pourer and image analysis to assess wine qual..
Managing grapevines through severe heat: A survey of growers after the 2009 summer heatwav..
Managing extreme heat in the vineyard - some lessons from the 2009 summer heatwave
Displaying the 8 most recent scholarly works by Sonja Needs.
Development of technical wine assessment skills in tertiary students
A Able, P Grbin, L Schmidtke, J Blackman, S Needs, U Kennedy, K Wilkinson
Journal article | 2019 | International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education
© 2019, International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education. Learning to objectively evaluate wine sensory pr..
The use of a portable robotic sparkling wine pourer and image analysis to assess wine quality in a fast and accurate manner
B Lima, S Fuentes, M Caron, S Needs, K Howell
Conference Proceedings | 2016 | Acta Horticulturae
Sparkling wines, which contain dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) are economically important for Australia, France, Spain, Italy, USA,..
Displaying the most recent news article by Sonja Needs.
Tutor (Plant Phys & Viticulture)
Agriculture And Food
Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology
Australian Conservation Dog Network
Canine Search Specialist
Southern Cross Search Dog Association
Master of Agriculture (Research)
University of Melbourne
Certificate in Dog Behaviour: Problems and Solutions
Arizona State University
Certificate in Dog Perception and Cognition
Arizona State University
Certificate in Dog Cognition and Emotion
Graduate Diploma in Primary Education
Charles Darwin University
Bachelor of Applied Science
La Trobe University