Maternal environment effects on seed germination in Australian native species
“After spending a year with Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership as a Manchester University Biology undergraduate, I happily returned as a graduate. As a member of the Training and Technology Section, my role was to investigate some of the ‘problem collections’ in the seed bank, i.e. seeds diagnosed with dormancy and requiring very specific dormancy-alleviating treatments and germination requirements.
In 2004 I was given the opportunity to carry out a PhD at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, where I investigated physiological dormancy of Australian native Goodeniaceae and Asteraceae (herbaceous, non-grassy under-storey species, known as forbs). I am particularly interested in the role that south-west Queensland’s semi-arid tropical environment plays in regulating dormancy status. For example, I have found that ex situ treatments designed to mimic conditions that seeds experience in situ, post-dispersal and before germination, can effectively alleviate dormancy of some Australian native forbs. In addition, air temperature and soil moisture can affect the dormancy status of Australian seeds while they develop on the parent plant, findings that may enable us to make predictions about the dormancy status of seed collections.
This work was funded jointly by the Australian Centre for Mining Environmental Research and the MSBP, and it is hoped that findings will contribute to more effective use (in land revegetation projects) and conservation (in ex situ seed banks) of Australian native forbs. Carrying out this work has given me amazing opportunities to explore the Australian outback, experience living and working overseas, manage my own research and interact with many others, contributing to an important global plant conservation effort.”
- Read about the work of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership in Australia
- Read about the Millennium Seed Bank's project on Maternal Environment Effects on Seed Germination and Dormancy
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