The Science team undertakes research in native plant biology, underpinning conservation and ecological restoration of Western Australia's unique biodiversity.

Recent highlights include:

4 May 2018

A paper published by Drs Miriam Muñoz-Rojas, Todd Erickson, David Merritt, and international colleagues demonstrates that cyanobacteria inoculation can rapidly modify properties of reconstructed soil substrates, including through increasing soil carbon 4-fold, underpinning the potential key role of these organisms as bio-tools to initiate recovery of soil functions in infertile, reconstructed soil substrates.

9 April 2018

Kate Stanbury, Dr Jason Stevens and Dr Alison Ritchie publish a paper in Land Degradation and Development which identifies factors in a post‐pine (Pinus pinaster) plantation ecosystem that could limit successful restoration of highly biodiverse Banksia woodlands.

14 March 2018

Dr Katinka Ruthrof and colleagues from Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University recently published a paper on the tripartite relationship between a digging mammal, mycorrhizal fungi and tree seedlings.

28 February 2018

Dr Katinka Ruthrof co-authored a paper with a large group of forest ecologists highlighting priorities for research for drought-induced forest die-off. 

23 February 2018

Susan Whiteley submits her PhD on conserving Androcalva perlaria (Malvaceae): the implications of life history and the use of ex situ conservation methodologies.

13 February 2018

Vanessa Brown was presented with the Curtin University Head of Department Honours Award for outstanding performance by a full time student completing a Bachelor of Science (Honours) for her research on protecting native seed with activated carbon for Banksia woodland restoration.

13 February 2018

Simone Pedrini was presented with the Curtin University Graeme Robertson Award for an outstanding research publication for his paper 'Seed coating: Science or marketing spin?'.

26 January 2018

Dr Todd Erickson and Dr Alison Ritchie recently attended the Society for Range Management Annual Meeting in Sparks, Nevada. The focus of the visit was to meet-up and work with our three US collaborators on the recently funded Global Innovation Linkages Project and learn from some of the US-based restoration approaches (e.g. exotic weed management and restoration seed strategies). Todd also presented some of the Pilbara restoration approaches developed in recent years in a symposium focused on ‘moisture availability effects on rangeland restoration strategies, constraints and success’.

2017

27 December 2017

Wolfgang Lewandrowski, Todd E Erickson, Emma L Dalziell, and Jason C Stevens published a paper 'Ecological niche and bet-hedging strategies for Triodia (R. Br.) seed germination' in Annals of Botany.

13 December 2017

With Kings Park’s David Merritt, Ben Miller and Christina Best, PhD student Jessica Huss (Max-Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany) publishes some amazing and beautiful results in her biomaterials paper on Heat-Triggered Opening Mechanisms of Banksia Follicles.

20 December 2017

Dr Katinka Ruthrof co-authors a major new global synthesis on ecosystem dynamics and management after forest die-off.

7 December 2017

Dr Alison Ritchie, Dr Todd Erickson, Dr Jason Stevens and Prof Richard Hobbs received ARC Linkage grant scheme funding for the project pursuing innovative seed technologies for improved native plant restoration in south Western Australia.

Dr Katinka Ruthrof and colleagues (at Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University) publish a paper on the transition from phosphate mining to agriculture, with focus on increasing biomass and reducing heavy metal uptake, on Christmas Island.

5 December 2017

Ryan Tangney publishes research from his PhD outlining a method for extensive spatiotemporal assessment of soil temperatures during an experimental fire using distributed temperature sensing in optical fibre, with Dr Ben Miller. This research is part of the Fire risk management project.

4 December 2017

A record intake of ten Kings Park Summer Scholarship students commence their 12-week internship, with funding support from the Friends of Kings Park. These training scholarships provide a bridge between undergraduate and postgraduate study for the next generation of conservation researchers.

1 December 2017

Tayla Kneller publishes her honours research on the use of native-based soil amendments in post-mining rehabilitation, with Amber Bateman and Dr Miriam Munoz Rojas. This research is part of the Restoration Seedbank initiative.

30 November 2017

PhD students Bronwyn Ayre and Nicole Bezemer win prizes for their spoken and poster presentations at the 2017 Ecological Society of Australia conference. Their research is part of the ARC funded bird pollination project.

25 November 2017

Nicole Bezemer publishes research from her PhD showing that wild seedlings of the granite rock endemic Eucalyptus caesia show no evidence for inbreeding depression. This research is part of the ARC funded bird pollination project.

22 November 2017

Dr Tanya Hevroy publishes research from her PhD identifying barriers and corridors for gene flow within and among riparian populations of the rare Grevillea thelemaniana, with Dr Michael Moody and Dr Siegy Krauss.

17 November 2017

Kings Park Science win the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) Environment award for their seven-year research partnership with Sinosteel MidWest Corporation that is underpinning the practical restoration of native plant communities of BIF following mining.

10 November 2017

Dr Elizabeth Sinclair and Dr Siegy Krauss (BGPA), with colleagues Prof Gary Kendrick (UWA) and Dr Martin Breed (Adelaide University) were awarded a 3-year ARC Discovery grant to research seagrass adaptation and acclimation responses to extreme climatic events, to better understand and manage the resilience of seagrass to climate change.

Dr Miriam Munoz Rojas was awarded and ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) to conduct research on cyanobacterial bio-encapsulation for restoring degraded drylands. This project aims to discover the ecological and functional roles of cyanobacteria in drylands and develop new technologies for their broad scale application in large-scale ecosystem restoration.

9 November 2017

Dr Shane Turner and BGPA colleagues publish a paper showing how seed ecology informs restoration approaches for threatened species in water-limited environments associated with Banded Ironstone.

2 November 2017

BGPA Science wins the Innovation Excellence and the Green Business categories in the 2017 Pinnacle Awards for research and communication in Banksia Woodland Restoration. Managed by the Australian Institute of Management in Western Australia (AIM WA) and The West Australian, these awards recognise the exemplary business leadership of individuals, teams and organisations in the Western Australian community.

28 October 2017

Dr Miriam Munoz Rojas secured a UWA Research Collaboration Award for the project 'Innovative nature-based strategies for dryland restoration using bio-active indigenous cyanobacteria' with collaborators from the Spanish National Research Council, University of Almeria (Spain), the University of Queensland and the University of NSW.

26 October 2017

BGPA Science wins the Golden Gecko Award, WA's premier mining industry environmental award for the book: 'Banksia woodlands - a restoration guide for the Swan Coastal Plain' in collaboration with Hanson Construction Materials. This book is the first-ever comprehensive guide for practitioners, researchers and policy makers who are working to meet the challenges of restoring the iconic ecosystems of Banksia woodlands, and is the result of a 22-year research partnership between Kings Park Science and Hanson.

24 October 2017

Dr Todd Erickson and colleagues publish a paper showing the benefits of adopting seed-based technologies for rehabilitation in the mining sector in the Pilbara. This research is part of the Restoration Seedbank initiative.

20 October 2017

Dr Ben Anderson, Dr Matt Barrett and Dr Kevin Thiele publish a revision of the spinifex Triodia basedowii species complex, where eight new species are described and named.

17 October 2017

Dr Emma Dalziell and Dr Sean Tomlinson publish a new paper linking reduced seed metabolic rate with declining viability in seed collections. This the first paper from the ARC Linkage Project 'The Energetic Basis to Seed Longevity and Storage'.

27 September 2017

Dr Elizabeth Sinclair and colleagues published a new paper that examines the effect of local adaptation and genetic diversity on survivorship and performance of seagrass following transplantation.

Dr Sinclair and colleagues secured funds to develop methods and restore seagrass in mooring scars following the installation of environmentally-friendly boat moorings.

19 September 2017

Dr Sugumaran (Sugu) Manickam is a visiting researcher from the Rimba Ilmu Botanic Garden, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya, in Kuala Lumpur. He has joined Kings Park Science for a nine-month sabbatical and will be working with Dr Matt Barrett investigating relationships among Ipomoea (Convolvulaceae) taxa in tropical Australia as well as the pantropical genus Fagraea sensu lato (Gentianaceae).

13 September 2017

BGPA Science has been shortlisted as a finalist for the 2017 Pinnacle Awards. Managed by the Australian Institute of Management in Western Australia (AIM WA) and The West Australian, these awards recognise the exemplary business leadership of individuals, teams and organisations in the Western Australian community. Kings Park in collaboration with Hanson Construction Materials is shortlisted under Innovation Excellence and the Green Business categories for their research and communication in Banksia Woodland Restoration.

12 September 2017

BGPA Science has been short-listed as a finalist on two of five projects for the Golden Gecko Award, WA’s premier mining industry environmental award. These projects are: 'Banksia woodlands - a restoration guide for the Swan Coastal Plain' in collaboration with Hanson Construction Materials and 'Leading practice in banded iron formation restoration' in collaboration with Sinosteel Midwest Corporation.

7-8 September 2017

Dr Alison Ritchie, Dr Wolfgang Lewandrowski and Dr Carole Elliott attended the WA Threatened Species Forum in Geraldton, which shared information, science and solutions for conserving WA threatened plants and animals among a diverse group of people that are passionate about making a difference.

28 August 2017

Dr Bryn Funnekotter, Prof Ricardo Mancera and Dr Eric Bunn have published a new review paper on 'Advances in understanding the fundamental aspects required for successful cryopreservation of Australian flora' in the Journal 'In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Plant’.

Drs Ben Miller and Jason Stevens attend SER2017, the VII world conference on ecological restoration in Iguassu, Brazil. This conference links science and practise for better outcomes in ecological restoration globally.

18 August 2017

PhD student Nicole Bezemer was awarded best publication in the biological sciences by the University of Western Australia for her paper on wide pollen dispersal and high multiple paternity in the bird-pollinated Eucalyptus caesia. Read more about the Vertebrate Pollination research project.

29 July 2017

Dr Adam Cross (Curtin University) with Dr David Merritt and Dr Shane Turner from BGPA/UWA, and colleagues from the Universidad de Cadiz, Spain, published a paper defining the role of fire in seed germination of a rare carnivorous plant from the Mediterranean.

25 July 2017

Dr Lucy Commander, Dr Peter Golos, Dr Ben Miller and Dr David Merritt published a paper in Plant Ecology on seed germination traits of 43 species from the Great Sandy Desert. The paper resulted from Dr Commander's research on restoration seed ecology at Telfer Gold Mine.

24 July 2017

Several Kings Park researchers and students (Siegy Krauss, John Yong, Bryn Funnekotter, Adam Cross, Laura Skates, Alyssa Weinstein) presented at the XIX International Botanical Congress (IBC) in Shenzhen, China. Held every 6 years, the IBC brings together the worlds finest botanists to showcase the latest in botanical research. The 2017 conference attracted almost 7,000 delegates.

5 June 2017

Dr Matt Barrett, Dr Ben Anderson and Dr Kevin Thiele publish SPIKEY, a new interactive key to Triodia spinifex grasses of the Pilbara, Western Australia

22 May 2017

Kings Park scientists marked World Biodiversity Day with the launch of a new book to lead restoration of Perth’s threatened Banksia woodlands. 'Banksia woodlands: A restoration guide for the Swan Coastal Plain' is a practical guide based on 22 years of scientific research conducted through a government-industry partnership between Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Hanson Construction Materials (formerly Rocla Quarry Products). The book is available through Aspects of Kings Park gallery shop.

9 May 2017

Dr Luis Merino Martin (now based in Montpellier), Dr Lucy Commander and colleagues published a paper titled 'Overcoming topsoil deficits in restoration of semiarid lands: Designing hydrologically favourable soil covers for seedling emergence' in Ecological Engineering. The research was part of the 5-year project in collaboration with Sinosteel Midwest Corporation on Restoration of Banded-Ironstone communities in the Midwest.

9 May 2017

Dr Bryn Funnekotter, Dr Eric Bunn and Prof Ricardo Mancera (Curtin University) published a new paper in CryoLetters on a novel cryopreservation technique for Australian plants. This new method provides a simple efficient process for cryopreservation.

8 May 2017

Dr Eric Bunn, Dr Shane Turner and Dr Bryn Funnekotter were successful in obtaining an Australian Research Council Linkage scheme grant. This is a large collaboration between BGPA, Sydney Botanic Gardens, Curtin University, RMIT, UWA, ANSTO, USDA and the University of South Dakota. This project aims to provide fundamental knowledge to target two major impediments to cryostorage of recalcitrant-seeded native species. A combination of biochemical, biophysical and molecular simulation approaches will be used to optimise cryopreservation of a wide range of endangered Australian rainforest species.

4 May 2017

Following a win in the WA state final of FameLab, PhD student Bronwyn Ayre competes in the National final at the Maritime Museum of WA and finishes third in front of judges including Lyn Beazley and Robin Williams. An outstanding result in an international program requiring participants to engage an audience in a 3-minute presentation on their research – from Bron, it was on the importance of birds as pollinators for kangaroo paws.

27 April 2017

Dr Siegy Krauss and colleagues publish a major new review paper in Trends in Plant Science that highlights the novel consequences of bird pollination for plant mating. This paper establishes a broader theoretical context for the current Discovery project funded by the Australian Research Council.

25 April 2017

University of Western Australia and Kings Park PhD student Laura Skates was interviewed by ABC News about her PhD research on carnivorous plants. You can watch the interview via our YouTube channel.

19 April 2017

Dr Elizabeth Sinclair and colleagues have launched a Seagrass Restoration Network to provide up to date information on restoration successes and improve communication between scientists, restoration practitioners, community groups and government.

11 April 2017

Dr Todd Erickson, Dr David Merritt, Dr Miriam Munoz Rojas and Dr Andrew Guzzomi, along with three WA industry partners and three overseas researchers, were awarded a 4-year, $1.3 million grant entitled 'Eco-engineering solutions to improve mine-site rehabilitation outcomes'. This project builds upon BGPA’s native seed expertise, joint flash flaming innovation (winner of the 2016 ‘Emerging’ WA Innovator of the Year Award) and UWA's engineering and plant biology strengths to develop efficient native seed mechanisation and plant establishment here and in the US.

24 February 2017

Our six Summer Scholarship Students for 2016/17 present their research projects at the Biodiversity Conservation Centre and are now embarking on Honours projects with the Kings Park Science team.

21 February 2017

Dr Mark Wallace publishes the first paper from his PhD research that identifies the conservation and restoration implications of DNA ploidy variation in a Lepidosperma (Cyperaceae) species complex in south-west WA.

9 February 2017

Dr Sean Tomlinson, in collaboration with Professors Don Bradshaw and Raphael Didham of UWA, and Professor Kingsley Dixon of Curtin University describe a world-first measurement of Honeybee energetics using radio-isotope turnovers. Published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, they provide evidence that Honeybees in degraded landscapes expend less energy foraging, and infer that this is because the cost of foraging exceeds the energy supplied in these landscapes, compared to natural woodland where the bees expended a lot of energy foraging. The provision of pollination by Honeybees is dependent upon their foraging activity.

7 February 2017

Dr Alison Ritchie, Dr Todd Erickson and Dr David Merritt publish a paper in the Rangeland Journal that describes phenological patterns including peak flowering and seed production for 19 plants native to the Pilbara. They identify contrasting phenological patterns and two distinct seed collection seasons amongst plants of different life-forms.

30 January 2017

Ben Anderson publishes the 2nd paper from his PhD that provides a molecular resolution of a species complex of spinifiex (Triodia) using cutting edge DNA genotyping by sequencing methodology.

8 January 2017

Dr Jason Stevens and Patrick Courtney publish the first outcomes of Middle East research with collaborators entitled 'Edaphic constraints on seed germination and emergence of three Acacia species for dryland restoration in Saudi Arabia' in Plant Ecology.

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Indigenous education in Kings Park

Kings Park and Botanic Garden is committed to honouring the Indigenous heritage of the Park and pays respects to the Wadjuk Nyoongar people and their culture.

Get your garden spring ready

Autumn is the perfect time to get your garden ready for a spectacular spring. Now is the time to sow your wildflower seeds for September glory.

25 years of friendship

Congratulations to the Friends of Kings Park who are celebrating 25 fantastic years of supporting 'the peoples’ park' in May 2018.

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