- PhD Candidate
- (+61 8) 9480 3922
- Conservation and population genetics,
- Restoration ecology and genetics,
Completed a BSc. in Conservation Biology and Management with First Class Honours from The University of Western Australia (UWA) in 2009.
Honours research project was entitled Realized mating patterns of Banksia attenuata: contrasting restored and natural populations.
In 2010 was awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship and commenced a PhD research project with UWA School of Plant Biology, based at Kings Park and Botanic Garden, in June 2010 focused on population genetics and mating patterns of Banksia species in restored communities.
Title: Patterns of mating and genetic diversity of restored Banksia woodland populations
University: University of Western Australia
Supervisors: Siegy Krauss, Elizabeth Sinclair, Paul Nevill and Kingsley Dixon
Description: The objective of my proposed research is to establish the genetic success, maintenance and mating patterns of restored populations on the Swan Coastal Plain, with focus on a keystone species, Banksia attenuata and Banksia menziesii.
Restoration ecologists endeavour to restore degraded landscapes, with the objective to create viable and sustainable populations. General practice is to take precautionary methods to mimic the degree of genetic diversity found in natural populations. Their goal is to use locally adapted seeds from multiple sources to preserve local genotypes and to increase genetic diversity. It has been proposed that pollinator services are the key contributor to self-sustaining restored populations maintaining high levels of genetic diversity, but there is limited scientific data on restored populations to support this theory. Dixon (2009) describes that southwest species have the highest rates of bird pollination and expresses the importance of pollinator guilds and the implications they may have for restoration practices.
I intend to investigate this by determining the genetic structure of populations of B. attenutata and Banksia menziesii within restored minesites operated by Rocla Quarry Products, and natural reference sites for comparison. I also aim to calculate gene flow examining pollen dispersal, outcrossing rates and fitness of progeny through physiological measures of seedling vigour, to examine the effects of these mating patterns. This project will make a significant contribution to the improvement of conservation and post-minesite restoration by examining not only the original genetic diversity of the founding population, but also the products from these mating individuals, demonstrating if the initial genetic diversity is being maintained through future generations.
Pollen dispersal influences population genetic structure, diversity and fitness and the genetic makeup and vigor of its offspring. The aims of this study are to estimate genetic diversity, genetic relationships and vigor of offspring of Banksia attenuata from a population in restored sites and an adjacent natural remnant bushland population in Gnangara, Perth, Western Australia. Estimating the two populations’ genetic diversity may indicate signs inbreeding depression. An improved understanding of the interactions among fitness, genetic diversity and similarity of this species would benefit conservation biologists seeking to maintain existing and restored natural ecosystems.
Ritchie AL. and Krauss SL. (in press). A genetic assessment of ecological restoration success in Banksia attenuata. Journal of Restoration Ecology