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Research Scientist (Restoration Ecophysiology)
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Fraser Avenue
West Perth Western Australia 6005
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(+61 8) 9480 3639
(+61 8) 9480 3641

Research interests

  • Developing physiological approaches for monitoring plant performance in restoration.
  • Impacts of climate shifts and management practices on plant physiological performance
  • Understanding physiological traits enabling plant survival in native species.
  • Plant physiological responses to abiotic stress.

Academic background

  • 2001-2006 Charles and Annie Neumann Scholarships in Agriculture. PhD Thesis title: Physiological Investigation of Effects of Salicylic Acid on Abiotic and Biotic Stresses in Plants (with Special Reference to Salinity). Supervisors: Professor Krishnapillai Sivasithamparam (UWA) and Dr Tissa Senaratna (UWA/ Kings Park and Botanic Gardens).
  • 2000 First Class Honours, Agriculture, University of Western Australia. Thesis title: 'Differential root exudation of chickpea (Cicer arietinum) on different soils and its role in phosphorus acquisition'. Supervisors: Professor Hans Lambers and Dr Erik Veneklaas (University of Western Australia); Dr Kadambot Siddique and Dr Mike Bolland (Department of Agriculture Western Australia).
  • 1997-2000 Bachelor of Agricultural Science (BSc. Agric.), University of Western Australia.

Major Projects


  • Using plant ecophysiology as a tool to underpin successful Banksia woodland restoration. (Rocla Quarry Products).
  • Managing ecosystem change requires the integration of above and belowground hydrological processes at relevant scales (ARC Linkage).
  • Broadscale implementation of native grass germination enhancement technologies (RIRDC).
  • Restoring the Saudi Arabian arid zone (Ariyadh Development Authority)
  • Tetratheca paynterae experimental translocation research trial translocation Cliffs, Asia Pacific Iron Ore Pty Ltd. Yilgarn Operations – Windarling Range.
  • Ricinocarpus brevis Restoration Research Plan Cliffs, Asia Pacific Iron Ore Pty Ltd.
  • Restoration of Banded-Ironstone communities in the Midwest - Koolanooka, Blue Hills and Weld Range exploration lines


  • Scoping study: Ecophysiological study of Tetratheca aphylla for restoration. Polaris, Mineral Resources Limited.
  • Scoping study for Biodiversity Rehabilitation: Sinosteel Midwest Corporation Ltd.
  • Business case - Restoration Seedbank Initiative and Pilbara Restoration Institute. Kings Park, and BHPBIO.
  • Banksia tree health and decline – Why our Banksias are dying? Friends of Kings Park (FoKP)
  • Grass Roots – native perennial grasses for sustainable pasture systems. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC)
  • Releasing agricultural weed seed dormancy through application of a novel smoke derived chemical. Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
  • Induction of multiple environmental stress tolerance in Australian native species for land rehabilitation using benzoic acid derivatives. Australian Research Council (Linkage Grant)
  • Reliable establishment of non-traditional perennial pasture species. Sustainable Grazing of Saline Lands (SGSL), Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)
  • Improving establishment of commercial native plants suitable for agro-forestry though improved understanding of germination biology, moisture management and weed control. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Joint Venture in Agroforestry (JVAP)

Research associates and students


  • Erica David (PhD 2014 - Present) Implications for wind management in restoration ecology, linking ecosystem aerodynamics to physiological drivers in arid and semi-arid systems (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Sean Tomlinson, Dr Ellery Mayence, Dr Andrew Guzzomi, Prof Kingsley Dixon)
  • Dr Lucy Commander (Post doc 2012 – Present). Restoration Ecology – Seed Enabling Technologist. Restoration of Threatened Ecological Communities occurring on Banded Iron Formations (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens and Prof Kingsley Dixon).
  • Wolfgang Lewandrowski (PhD 2011- Present). Optimising seed germination and early vigour to advantage direct seeding of Triodia species - an interaction of seed and seedling ecophysiology (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Prof Kingsley Dixon)
  • Shahab Nikabadi (MSc 2011-Present). Understanding the ecophysiology of trophic transition with micropropagated terrestrial orchids of the South-West Australian Floristic Region (SWAFR) for improving restoration success.
  • Rachael Ord (PhD 2008-Present). Post removal of Pinus pinaster plantations in Western Australia: Implications for reinstatement of Banksia woodland, a historical ecosystem assemblage (Supervisors Dr Deanna Rokich, Dr Shane Turner, Dr Jason Stevens, Prof Kingsley Dixon)
  • Mallory Barnes (Hons 2014 - Present). Drought tolerance of Triodia species during seedling establishment - implications for restoring the Australian arid zone (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Mr Wolfgang Lewandrowski, Mr Todd Erickson, Prof Kingsley Dixon, Prof Erik Veneklaas)
  • Bryony Wilkinson (Hons 2014 - Present). Are acidifying soil amendments an effective treatment for chlorotic decline syndrome of Eucalyptus marginata in an urban parkland? (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Prof Hans Lambers)


  • Dr Luis Merino Martin (Post doc 2012 – 2014). Restoration Ecology – Soil Scientist. Restoration of Threatened Ecological Communities occurring on Banded Iron Formations. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens and Prof Kingsley Dixon)
  • Cameron Mounsey (PhD 2010- 2014). Understanding vegetation patch-gap dynamics to determine restoration success. (Supervisors Dr Ben Miller, Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Gavan McGrath, Prof Christoph Hinz, Prof Kingsley Dixon)
  • Laura Skates (Hons. 2014). Niche specialisation in the rare carnivorous hydrophyte Aldrovanda vesiculosa L. (Droseraceae) causes increased susceptibility to threatening processes. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Mr Adam Cross and Prof Kingsley Dixon)
  • Anthea Challis (Hons. 2014). Mortality patterns and physiological responses of the canopy tree, Banksia menziesii in relation to varying summer water availability in an urban remnant. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens and Dr Ben Miller)
  • Mark Bundock (PhD 2008-2013). Non-target impacts of herbicides and adjuvants used in Banksia woodland and Jarrah forest weed control (Supervisors Dr Deanna Rokich, Dr Jason Stevens, Prof Kingsley Dixon)
  • David Leach (PhD 2008-2013). Fire Suppressant impacts on Flora of the Swan Coastal Plain (Supervisors Dr Deanna Rokich, Dr Jason Stevens, Prof Kingsley Dixon)
  • Sacha Ruoss (PhD 2008-2012). Restoration Ecology and Conservation of Rare Banded Ironstone Plants in an Arid Biodiversity Hotspot (Supervisors Dr Ben Miller, Dr Matthew Barrett, Dr Jason Stevens, Prof Kingsley Dixon)
  • Stephen Benigno (PhD 2008-2012). The Ecophysiological Adaptations of Framework Banksia Woodland Species to Post-Minesite Stresses (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Deanna Rokich, Prof Christoph Hinz, Prof Kingsley Dixon).
  • Dylan Martini (Hons. 2013). Why do Banksia menziesii seedlings in post-mining restoration experience high mortality during their second summer? (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Luis Merino Martin)
  • Erin Picken (Hons. 2012). Defining Banded Iron Formation Communities for Restoration. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens and Dr Ben Miller)
  • Marta Gorecki (Hons. 2011). Maternal environment can change the germination with karrikinolide of the weed Brassica tournefortii. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Rowena Long)
  • Wolfgang Lewendrowski (Hons. 2011). Improving greenstock quality for Banksia woodland restoration. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Rowena Long)
  • Christina Putz (Intl. Diploma 2011) (Intl student 2011). Understanding early seedling establishment drivers in Acacia hilliana in Pilbara minesite restoration and native soil substrates. (Supervisors Mr Todd Erickson and Dr Jason Stevens).
  • Cameron Mounsey (Hons. 2009). The roots of shallow soil endemic species are not better adapted to enter smaller pores than the roots of closely related congeners. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens and Dr Ben Miller)
  • Andrew Naskos (Hons. 2009). Germination requirements and seed enhancements to improve the broadacre restoration of Acacia acinacea, Enchylaena tomentosa and Einadia nutans. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Christopher Loo).
  • Simone Tausch (Intl. Diploma 2008). Understanding soil compaction thresholds limiting Banksia woodland species root development. (Supervisor Dr Jason Stevens)
  • Liann Smithson (Hons. 2009). Physiological Strategies for Surviving Drought in Endemic Banded Iron Formation Habitats. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens and Dr Ben Miller)
  • Robert Aldermann (Hons. 2008). Karrikinolide stimulates germination of some important agricultural weeds. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Michael Renton and Prof. Stephen Powles.
  • Erin Griffiths (Hons. 2008). Nutrient regimes for improving the out-planting success of three Banksia woodland species. (Supervisor Dr Jason Stevens)
  • Jemma Marris (Hons. 2008). Root foraging and drought tolerance traits of two shallow soil endemic species. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens and Dr Ben Miller)
  • Navjot Kuar (Hons. 2008). Using ecotypic germination traits of an Australian native grass (Microlaena stipoides) to identify target environments for new perennial pastures species. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens, Dr Christopher Loo).
  • Christopher Loo (Post-doc 2006-2009). Reliable establishment of non-traditional native pasture species. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens and Prof Kingsley Dixon)
  • Samantha Clarke (2006-2007). Grass roots - native perennial grasses for sustainable pasture systems. (Supervisors Dr Jason Stevens and Prof Kingsley Dixon)

Selected publications

Benigo SM, Dixon KW and Stevens JC (2014) Seedling mortality during biphasic drought in sandy Mediterranean soils. Functional Plant Biology

Bader MK, Ehrenberger W, Bitter R, Stevens J, Miller BP, Chopard J, Rüger S, Hardy GESJ, Poot P, Dixon KW, Zimmermann U and Veneklass EJ (2014) Spatio‐temporal water dynamics in mature Banksia menziesii trees during drought. Physiologia Plantarum DOI: 10.1111/ppl.12170

Benigo S, Dixon K and Stevens J (2012) Increasing soil water retention with native-sourced mulch improves seedling establishment in postmine Mediterranean sandy soils. Restoration Ecology DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2012.00926.x

Long R, Williams K, Griffiths E, Flematti G, Meritt D, Stevens J, Turner S, Powles S and Dixon K (2010) Prior hydration of Brassica tournefortii seeds reduces the stimulatory effect of karrikinolide on germination and increases seed sensitivity to abscisic acid. Annals of Botany 105:1063-1070

Chiwocha S, Dixon K, Flematti G, Ghisalberti E, Merritt D, Nelson D, Riseborough J, Smith S and Stevens J (2009) Karrikins: a new family of plant growth regulators in smoke. Plant Science 177: 252–256.

Nelson DC, Riseborough J, Flematti GR, Stevens J, Ghisalberti EL, Dixon KW and Smith SM (2009) Karrikins discovered in smoke trigger Arabidopsis seed germination by a mechanism requiring gibberellic acid synthesis and light. Plant Physiology 149: 863-873.

Stevens JC, Merritt DJ, Flematti GR, Ghisalberti EL and Dixon KW (2007) Seed germination of agricultural weeds is promoted by the butenolide 3-methyl-2H-furo[2,3-c]pyran-2-one under laboratory and field conditions. Plant and Soil DOI 10.1007/s11104-007-9344-z

Stevens JC, Barrett-Lennard EG and Dixon KW (2007) Enhancing the germination of three fodder shrubs (Atriplex amnicola, A. nummularia, A. undulata; Chenopodiaceae): implications for the optimisation of field establishment. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 57: 1279-1289.

Stevens J, Senaratna T and Sivasithamparam K (2006) Salicylic acid induces salinity tolerance in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum cv. Roma): associated changes in gas exchange, water relations and membrane stabilization. Plant Growth Regulation 49: 77-83.

Veneklaas E, Stevens J, Cawthray G, Turner S, Grigg A and Lambers H (2003) Chickpea and white lupin rhizosphere carboxylates vary with soil properties and enhance phosphorus uptake. Plant and Soil 248: 187-197.

See Jason's full list of publications on Google Scholar...