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Position
Senior Research Scientist (Conservation Biotechnology)
Address
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Fraser Avenue
West Perth Western Australia 6005
Email
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Phone
(+61 8) 9480 3647
Fax
(+61 8) 9480 3641

Research themes

  • Micropropagation
  • In vitro culture
  • Somatic embryogenesis
  • Cryogenic storage
  • Endangered plants
  • Ex situ conservation
  • Conservation and propagation of Australian plants.

Academic background

Dr Bunn is the Team Leader for the Conservation Biotechnology group at Kings Park and is actively involved in tissue culture propagation of Australian native plants, primarily for ex situ conservation and restoration of endangered plants and for restoration of recalcitrant plant species in disturbed habitats, but also for selected horticultural purposes. The Conservation Biotechnology team are involved in a range of research programs with the aim of providing new, efficient and innovative ways to enhance in vitro propagation of Australian plants, provide critical micropropagation research for endangered plants and ultimately conserve endangered plants and specific plant taxa that are difficult or impossible to propagate by conventional methods. Key areas of research include somatic embryogenesis, cryogenic storage and enhancing the resilience and survival of micropropagated plants under high-stress environmental conditions. Dr Bunn is adjunct lecturer at The University of Western Australia in conservation biology and is an Associate Editor for In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology, Plant (IVP). He is also Adjunct Prof (Botany Dept) Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand.

Major projects

  • ARC Linkage project (LP0561956), Em/Prof JA McComb (Murdoch University); Dr E Bunn; Dr KW Dixon (BGPA). ‘In vitro propagation (through somatic embryogenesis) of rush and sedge species important for land rehabilitation’. Total of $220,000 over 3 yrs. Partner Organization(s): Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, Worsley Refinery, Seed Solutions (Administering Institution: Murdoch University)
  • Investigation of in vitro propagation methods for initiating culture lines of selected rush and sedge species for mining restoration (short-term project, Worsley Mining (WAPL).
  • Micropropagation of plants of Synaphea stenoloba, a critically endangered species from the Pinjarra district. The plants being produced by Kings Park are part of a collaborative project involving Kings Park, ALCOA, UWA and CALM, to firstly, establish ex situ collections of tissue cultured plants, followed by micropropagation of plants for the future recovery of this very rare species.
  • Micropropagation of plants of Symonanthus bancroftii (‘Bancroft’s Symonanthus’), a critically endangered species from the Bruce Rock district. The plants produced by Kings Park are part of a translocation project to restore populations of this extremely rare species to the natural habitat. This is a collaborative project between Kings Park, CALM (Narrogin District), Bruce Rock LandCare, Bruce Rock Shire and local volunteers. This project has received funding support from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) through a Threatened Species Network (TSN) grant in 2003 and 2005, administered through Bruce Rock LandCare.
  • Micropropagation of plants of Synaphea quartzitica (‘Quartz loving synaphea’), a critically endangered species from the Moora district. The plants being produced by Kings Park are part of a collaborative project involving Kings Park and CALM (Moora District), which has so far resulted in successful establishment of ex situ collections of tissue cultured plants. Micropropagated plants have been planted in the field to facilitate a pilot reintroduction project in 2005. This project is aimed at preventing the extinction of this extremely rare species.
  • Micropropagation of plants of Grevillea scapigera (‘Corrigin grevillea’), a critically endangered species from the Corrigin district. Plants of the Corrigin grevillea produced by Kings Park have been translocated to field sites near the hinterland of Corrigin and new populations have been successfully restored to the natural habitat. This project is a collaborative project comprising Kings Park, CALM (Narrogin District), Corrigin LandCare and local volunteers.
  • Cryogenic research is continuing with new species undergoing screening for cryostorage potential. This is an ongoing program with the aim of placing key germplasm samples of critically endangered plants into long-term cryogenic storage. The cryogenic methods developed by Kings Park were the first such studies for indigenous Australian plants (Touchell et al, 2002a, 2002b).
  • Investigation of in vitro propagation of endangered plant species continues to be a primary research program and is aimed at critically endangered taxa in urgent need of ex situ conservation and where other (conventional) means of propagation are not feasible.

Research associates, post-docs and students

Current

Research Associates and Postdocs
  • Dr Maggie Panaia (2006 - ), In vitro propagation (through somatic embryogenesis) of rush and sedge species important for land rehabilitation.
PhD
  • Patcharawadee Wattanawikkit 2005 - ), Development of in vitro methods for ex situ conservation of Paphiopdedilum spp.
Honours
  • Melissa Murphy (2005-2006), Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations on the root and shoot growth of Cephalotus follicularis.
  • Catherine Ryan (2005–2007), In vitro propagation of recalcitrant monocotyledon species.

Past

  • Ben Stone (Honours awarded 2005, UWA), In vitro conservation of Synaphea stenoloba (Proteaceae) – a declared rare plant from south-west Western Australia.
  • Paul Hoffman (Honours awarded 2005, UWA), Somatic embryogenesis and micropropagation as a tool for the mass propagation of two important Australian native species, Lepidosperma leptostachyum and L. squamatum.

Publications (2000-present)

Refereed publications

  • Panaia M, Senaratna T, Bunn E, Dixon K and Sivasithamparam K. 2000. Micropropagation of the critically endangered Western Australian species Symonanthus bancroftii (F. Muell) L. Haegi (Solanaceae). Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture 63(1): 23-29.
  • Senaratna T, Touchell D, Bunn E and Dixon K. 2000. Acetyl salicylic acid (Aspirin) and salicylic acid induce multiple stress tolerance in bean and tomato plants. Plant Growth Regulation 30:157-161.
  • Turner SR, Tan B, Senaratna T, Bunn E, Dixon KW, Touchell DH. 2000. Cryopreservation of the Australian species Macropidia fuliginosa (Haemodoraceae) by vitrification. Cryoletters21:379-388.
  • Turner SR, Krauss SL, Bunn E, Senaratna T, Dixon KW, Tan B, Touchell DH. 2001a. Genetic fidelity and viability of Anigozanthos viridis following tissue culture, cold storage and cryopreservation. Plant Science 161:1099-1106.
  • Turner SR, Senaratna T, Touchell DH, Bunn E, Dixon KW, Tan B. 2001b. Stereochemical arrangement of hydroxyl groups in sugar and polyalcohol molecules as an important factor in effective cyropreservation. Plant Science 160:489-497.
  • Turner SR, Senaratna T, Bunn E, Tan B, Dixon K, Touchell DH. 2001c. Cryopreservation of shoot tips from six endangered Australian species using a modified vitrification protocol. Annals of Botany 87:371-378.
  • Turner, S. R., Bunn, E., Senaratna, T., Tan B., Dixon, K., W. and Touchell D. H. 2001d. Effects of Plant Growth Regulators on Survival and Recovery Growth following Cryopreservation. Cryo-letters 22: 163-174.
  • Hollick PS, Senaratna, T, McComb JA, Bunn, E, Dixon KW. 2001. Response to paclobutrazol of symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi and dropper (tuber stalk) formation of host orchid seedlings. Plant Growth Regulation 36:31-39.
  • Senaratna T, Bunn E, Bishop A. (2001). Triazole treatment of explant source provides stress tolerance in progeny of Geranium (Pelargonium hortorum Bailey) plants regenerated by somatic embryogenesis. Plant Growth Regulation 36:169-174.
  • Senaratna T, Merritt D, Dixon K, Bunn E, Touchell D, Sivasithamparam K. 2002. Benzoic acid may act as the functional group in salicylic acid and derivatives in the induction of multiple stress tolerance in plants. Plant Growth Regulation ().
  • Bunn, E. 2005. Development of in vitro methods for ex situ conservation of Eucalyptus impensa, an endangered mallee from south west Western Australia. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 83: 97-102.
  • Bunn, E, Senaratna T, Sivasithamparam K, Dixon KW. 2005. In vitro propagation of Eucalyptus phylacis L. Johnson & K. Hill., a critically endangered relict taxon from Western Australia. In Vitro Plant Cellular & Developmental Biology 41:812-815.
  • Ma G-H, Bunn E, Zhang J-F, Wu G-J. 2006a. Evidence of Dichogamy in Santalum album L. J. Integrative Plant Biol. 48:300-306.
  • Ma G-H, Bunn E, Dixon KW, Flematti G. Butenolide enhanced seed germination and somatic embryogenesis in Baloskion tetraphyllum. 2006b. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology-Plant Volume 42, Issue 3 (May-June 2006).

Book chapters

  • Bunn E and Tan B. Microbial Contaminants in Plant Tissue Culture Propagation. In Sivasithamparam K, Dixon K and Barratt R (Eds.) Microorganisms in Conservation. Kluwer Academic Press, Netherlands. 2002.
  • Touchell DT, Turner SR, Bunn E, Dixon KW. Cryostorage of somatic tissues of Endangered Australian Species. In: LE Towill and YPS Bajaj (Eds.) Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry, Vol. 50, Cryopreservation of Plant Germplasm II, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. pp 357-372. 2002a
  • Touchell DT, Turner SR, Senaratna T, Bunn E, Dixon KW.. Cryopreservation of Australian Species - The Role of Plant Growth Regulators. In: LE Towill and YPS Bajaj (Eds.) Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry, Vol. 50, Cryopreservation of Plant Germplasm II, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. pp 373-390. 2002b

Conference publications

  • Bunn E, Senaratna T, Krauss S, Turner S, Dixon KW. An integrated approach to the conservation of endangered plants in Western Australia. Proc. Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) Phnom Penh Cambodia 24-26 October 2000.
  • Turner S, Bunn E, Senaratna T, Dixon K, Tan B, Touchell D. 2002. Cryopreservation for conservation of threatened Western Australian flora. Proc. 7th meeting of Int. Assoc. for Plant Tissue Culture and Biotech. (Australian Region), A. Taji and R. Williams (Eds) The Importance of Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology in Plant Sciences, University of New England Publications Unit, Australia. pp 367-368.
  • Panaia M, Bunn E and Dixon KW. 2005. Somatic embryogenesis as an efficient method for the clonal propagation of Baloskion tetraphyllum (Koala Fern), Macropidia fuliginosa (Black Kangaroo Paw) and Stirlingia latifolia (Blue Boy) – Important plant species for rehabilitation of disturbed habitats and horticultural utilisation. Conference of the Australian Branch of the International Association for Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnology, Contributing to a sustainable future. 21-24 September 2005, Perth, Western Australia.

Conference proceedings

  • Bennett IJ, Bunn E, Clarke H, McComb J (Eds.). ‘Contributing to a sustainable future’, Proceedings of the Australian Branch of the IAPTC&B, Perth, Western Australia 21-24 September, 2005.