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Research Scientist (Conservation Biotechnology)
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Fraser Avenue
Kings Park Western Australia 6005
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(+61 8) 9480 3923
(+61 8) 9480 3641

Research themes

  • Seed ecology, seed biology and seed dormancy
  • Native plant propagation
  • Tissue culture, biotechnology and cryogenics
  • Threatened species ecology
  • Restoration biology

Academic background

  • 1998 - 2002 Doctor of Philosophy, Curtin University of Technology. Thesis title: Cryopreservation of Somatic Germplasm of Selected Australian Monocotyledonous Taxa (Haemodoraceae). Supervisors: Dr Beng Tan, Dr Darren Touchell, Dr Tissa Senaratna, Professor Kingsley Dixon.
  • 1997 First class Honours, Conservation Biotechnology, Curtin University of Technology. Thesis title: Cryopreservation of Anigozanthos viridis and related species. Supervisors: Dr Beng Tan, Dr Darren Touchell, Professor Kingsley Dixon.
  • 1994 - 1996 Bachelor of Science (BSc) Multidisciplinary - Science, Curtin University of Technology.
  • 1987 - 1989 Certificate in Horticulture Bentley TAFE.

Major projects


  • Advanced cryobanking for propagation-recalcitrant and critically endangered plant species (2014 - 2017). Australian Research Council Linkage Project with Curtin University, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and the University of Western Australia as research partners. Industry partner: BGPA.
  • Karara minesite rehabilitation research program (2014 - 2019). Industry partners: Karara Mining Ltd, BGPA and the University of Western Australia.
  • Integrated conservation of Ricinocarpos brevis (2013 - 2016). Industry partners: Cliffs Asia Pacific Iron Ore Pty Ltd, BGPA and the University of Western Australia.
  • Integrated conservation of Androcalva perlaria (syn. Commersonia sp. Mt Groper) (2010 - 2014). Industry partners: Grange Resources, BGPA and the University of Western Australia.


  • Integrated propagation approaches for Victorian dryland Cyperaceae (2010 - 2014). Joint collaboration with the University of Melbourne.
  • Boneseed Viability Project (2012). Joint collaboration between the University of Western Australia, Kings Park and Perth Region NRM.
  • Propagation biology of Eremophila sp. 'Tallering' – a one year research and development proposal (2009). Industry partner: Mount Gibson Mining Limited.
  • Development of cryopreservation for high value provenance collections of recalcitrant plant species used in post-mining restoration (2008 - 2012). Australian Research Council Linkage Project with Curtin University, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the University of Queensland, and the University of Western Australia as research partners. Industry partners: Alcoa Australia, BHP Billiton Worsley Alumina.
  • Enhancing native seed performance for minesite restoration and biodiversity conservation (2006 - 2009). Australian Research Council Linkage project with the University of Queensland and industry partners Alcoa World Alumina Australia, BHP Billiton Worsley Alumina, BGPA.
  • Mechanisms for release of deep dormancy in seeds of Australian plant species used in land restoration (2003 - 2006). Australian Research Council Linkage project with the University of Western Australia. Industry partner: BGPA.
  • Bold Park Restoration program (2002 - 2003).

Research associates, post-docs and students


  • Dr Carol Elliott (Post-doc; Assistant Professor UWA) Integrated conservation of Ricinocarpos brevis.
  • Dr Adam Cross (Post-doc; Research Associate UWA) Karara minesite rehabilitation research program.
  • Susan Whiteley (PhD; UWA 2013 - present) Reproduction biology of the threatened Androcalva perlaria (Malvaceae s.l.) and implications for in situ restoration.
  • Bryn Funnekotter (PhD; Curtin 2011 - present) The role of oxidative stress in successful cryopreservation of Australian plant species.
  • Kerryn Chia (PhD; UWA 2010 - present) Ecology, seed dormancy and germination biology of Persoonia longifolia for use in land restoration and horticulture.
  • Sarah Boys (Hons; UWA 2014) Seed priming for improved germination and emergence in a semi-arid Western Australian threatened ecological community.
  • Sharon Fletcher (Hons; Curtin 2014) Next generation sequencing of chloroplast DNA for testing genetic fidelity during cryopreservation of native Australian Plants.
  • Dmitri Ivanov (Hons; UWA 2014) Ecological restoration of mine tailings in Western Australia: Soil seed banks and seedling competition as major factors inhibiting a self-sustaining plant community.


  • Todd Erickson (PhD; UWA 2009 - 2014) Seed dormancy patterns and germination requirements of dominant species in the Pilbara arid zone.
  • Adam Cross (PhD; UWA 2011 - 2014) Seed biology, recruitment and dispersion: informing conservation and restoration in wetlands of the Kimberley region, Western Australia.
  • Shahab Nikabadi (Masters; UWA 2012 - 2014) Understanding the ecophysiology of trophic transition with micropropagated terrestrial orchids for improving restoration success.
  • Joshua Smith (Hon; UWA 2013 - 2014) Seed biology of Ricinocarpos brevis (Euphorbiaceae), an endangered plant species endemic to Western Australia.
  • Clare Courtauld (Hons; UWA 2013) Seed ecology of semi-arid Western Australian species for restoration of a threatened ecological community.
  • Laura Folan (Hons; UWA 2013) Seed biology of five noxious weeds (Arctotheca calendula, Pelargonium capitatum, Hypochaeris glabra, Ehrharta calycina, and Brassica tournefortii) that occur in the South West of Western Australia.
  • Anamika Sortey (Hons; Curtin 2013) Influence of stress factors on post-cryogenic survival of Lomandra sonderi.
  • Arielle Fontaine (Hons; UWA 2012 - 2013) Germination ecophysiology of seeds with small embryos.
  • Rachael Ord (PhD; UWA 2008 - 2013) Post removal of Pinus pinaster plantations in Western Australia: Implications for reinstatement of Banksia woodland, a historical ecosystem assemblage.
  • Susan Whiteley (Hons; UWA 2012) Conservation of Aldrovanda vesiculosa L. through tissue culture and cryopreservation.
  • Christine Best (Hons; UWA 2011 - 2012) Reproductive biology of Commersonia sp. Mt Groper (Malvaceae), an endangered species from the South Coast of Western Australia.
  • Dr Anja Kaczmarczyk (post-doc; Curtin 2009 - 2011) Development of cryopreservation for high value provenance collections of recalcitrant plant species used in post-mining restoration.
  • Pui Ye Phang (Hons; Curtin 2011) Ex situ conservation of the critically endangered Western Australian species Commersonia sp. Mt Groper.
  • Cassie Reynolds (Hons; UWA 2011) Karrikinolide promotes germination of physiologically dormant seeds of Chrysanthemoides monilifera subsp. monilifera (boneseed), a Weed of National Significance.
  • Adam Cross (Hons; UWA 2010) Disjunction and constraints to dispersal in the rare aquatic carnivorous plant Aldrovanda vesiculosa.
  • Simin Lai (Hons; UWA 2010) In vitro propagation of the dryland sedge species - Mesomelaena pseudostygia and Mesomelaena tetragona (Cyperaceae) for land restoration.
  • Kristy Fenner (Hons; UWA 2008) Seed dormancy and germination in the jarrah forest species Agrostocrinum scabrum (Anthericaceae), Billardieria floribunda (Pittosporaceae), Boronia ovata (Rutaceae) and Stypandra glauca (Phormiaceae).
  • Annette Cook (Hons; UWA 2007) Physical dormancy in Australian Sapindaceae.
  • Rachael Ord (Hons; UWA 2007) Assessing the effects of wind erosion and faunal activity on broadcast seed removal in Banksia woodland restoration.
  • Lauren Wallman (Hons; UWA 2007) Enhancing seed germination and emergence for eight jarrah forest species returned to bauxite mined land via direct seeding.
  • Jack Harmer (Hons; Curtin 2006) The impact of the selective herbicide Fusilade® on native seed germination and seedling growth.
  • Helen Bowers (Hons; Curtin 2005) Dormancy alleviation and germination of Hibbertia species for land restoration.
  • Paul Hoffman (Hons; UWA 2005) Somatic embryogenesis and micropropagation as a tool for mass propagation of two important Australian native species Lepidosperma leptostachyum and L. squamatum.
  • Renee Tuckett (Hons; UWA 2005) Pre-treating broadcast seeds increases seedling emergence and survival for Banksia woodland restoration.
  • Brett Pearce (Hons; Curtin 2004) Optimisation of seed broadcasting techniques for effective land restoration.
  • Rhys Thomas (Hons; Curtin 2004) Dormancy alleviation and classification in five Jarrah Forest species with ‘black and shiny’ seeds.
  • Ellie Ridley (Hons; UWA 2004) Understanding and overcoming seed dormancy in coastal species Acanthocarpus preissii and Scaevola crassifolia.

Selected publications

Turner S, Senaratna T, Touchell D, Bunn E, Dixon K and Tan B (2001) Stereochemical arrangement of hydroxyl groups in sugar and polyalcohol molecules as an important factor in effective cryopreservation Plant Science 160: 489-497. Innovative study that provides evidence for the variable effectiveness of different polyalcohols and sugars in facilitating successful cryopreservation in plant tissues for conservation purposes.

Turner SR, Krauss SL, Bunn E, Senaratna T, Dixon KW, Tan B and Touchell D (2001) Genetic fidelity and viability of Anigozanthos viridis following tissue culture, cold storage and cryopreservation. Plant Science 161: 1099-1106. First paper describing genetic impacts on germplasm maintained under different ex situ conditions using AFLP approaches. No genetic changes were noted across treatments.

Turner SR, Senaratna T, Bunn E, Tan B, Dixon KW and Touchell DH (2001) Cryopreservation of shoot tips from six endangered Australian species using a modified vitrification protocol. Annals of Botany 87: 371-378. First paper describing development and optimization of a cryogenic protocol for six endangered Australian species.

Turner SR, Merritt DJ, Baskin CC, Dixon KW and Baskin JM (2005) Physical dormancy in seeds of six genera of Australian Rhamnaceae. Seed Science Research 15: 51-58. Physical dormancy is poorly understood with a number of misconceptions. Results found Australian Rhamnaceae are physically dormant leading to improved propagation outcomes.

Merritt DJ, Kristiansen M, Flematti G, Turner SR, Ghisalberti EL, Trengove RD and Dixon KW (2006) Effects of a butenolide present in smoke on light-mediated germination of Australian Asteraceae. Seed Science Research 16: 29-35. First paper reporting the link between seed photoreceptivity and karrikinolide. Link strengthened the evidence for karrikinolide as the predominant smoke germination stimulant.

Turner SR, Merritt DJ, Ridley EC, Commander LE, Baskin JM, Baskin CC and Dixon KW (2006) Ecophysiology of seed dormancy in the Australian endemic species Acanthocarpus preissii (Dasypogonaceae). Annals of Botany 98: 1137-1144. Paper describes a previously unreported process (warm stratification) driving dormancy loss in native plants and provides evidence to when this occurs in situ.

Turner SR, Pearce B, Rokich DP, Dunn RR, Merritt DJ, Majer JD and Dixon KW (2006) Influence of Polymer Seed Coatings, Soil Raking, and Time of Sowing on Seedling Performance in Post Mining Restoration. Restoration Ecology 14: 267-277. Effectiveness of synthetic seed coatings in combination with sowing time and incorporation into the soil is explored and reported for the first time.

Merritt DJ, Turner SR, Clarke S and Dixon KW (2007) Seed dormancy and germination stimulation syndromes for Australian temperate species. Australian Journal of Botany 55: 336-344. Invited review that was first to highlight role of smoke as a germination stimulant, rather than an agent for overcoming innate seed dormancy.

Turner SR, Cook A, Baskin JM, Baskin CC, Tuckett RE and Dixon KW (2009) Identification and characterization of the water gap in the physically-dormant seeds of Dodonaea petiolaris: a first report for Sapindaceae Annals of Botany 104: 833-844. First paper to describe structure that regulates imbibition in physically dormant Sapindaceae seeds, one of only 18-plant families in which physical dormancy is known.

Bradshaw SD, Dixon KW, Hopper SD, Lambers H and Turner SR (2011) Little evidence for fire-adapted plant traits in mediterranean climate regions. Trends in Plant Science 16: 69-76. Paper looks at the contentious issue of fire ecology and provides an alternative interpretation to plant fire responses reflective of exaptation rather than adaptation.

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