The Conservation Genetics team conducts innovative genetics research underpinning the conservation and restoration of Western Australia’s unique biodiversity. This is achieved through the application of modern molecular techniques for research and practical outcomes in native plant conservation, species and plant community restoration, molecular ecology, native plant breeding and phylogenetics.
Key research themes include:
- Identification and management of genetic variation for off-site conservation and reintroductions of rare plant species.
- Genetic analysis underpinning efficient native plant breeding for horticulture.
- Genetic delineation of local provenance seed collection zones for bushland restoration.
- Providing taxonomic clarification and helping to best direct conservation resources.
- Detailed analysis of mating, dispersal and genetic erosion in fragmented populations.
Biological diversity means the variability among living organisms from all sources - this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. Thus, for the conservation of biological diversity, genetic variation within species is of equal importance to variation among species and ecosystems. An understanding of not only the amount and geographic patterning of genetic variation within species, but also the processes that effect genetic variation and the consequences of an erosion of genetic variation, are critical for the management, conservation and restoration of biodiversity.
The Conservation Genetics team applies modern molecular techniques to addressing the following key research areas. Wherever possible, genetics research programs are integrated with other BGPA Science disciplines, including restoration ecology, seed biology, ecophysiology, and conservation biotechnology.
The Conservation Genetics research projects are:
Defining biologically significant units in spinifex (Triodia spp.) for improved ecological restoration in arid Australia
Chief Investigators: A/Prof Pauline Grierson (UWA), Dr Siegy Krauss (BGPA), A/Prof Charles Price (UWA), Prof Kingsley Dixon (BGPA), A/Prof Kevin Thiele (DEC), Dr Matt Barrett (BGPA). Australian Research Council, Rio Tinto, Chevron, 2012-2014.
Recent key outcomes from the Conservation Genetics team include the genetic provenance atlas, molecular ecophysiological assessment of provenance, restoration genetics of key communities, defining biologically significant units and assessing the dispersal of large seeded forest species.