The Science team undertakes research in native plant biology, underpinning conservation and ecological restoration of Western Australia's unique biodiversity.
Recent highlights include:
New paper published in Restoration Ecology by PhD student Vanessa Brown and colleagues addresses seed pelleting solutions for restoring natural plant communities.
Dr Ben Anderson publishes a new paper that identifies recent range expansion for spinifex in response to increasing aridification.
Dr Alison Ritchie publishes new research showing that wide outcrossing and pollination by nectar-feeding birds provides functional connectivity for new and old Banksia populations within a fragmented urban landscape.
PhD student Jessica Huss publishes a paper detailing the remarkable insulating capacity of Banksia seed pods and their role in protecting seeds against fire. This is the third and final paper of Jessica's thesis and forms part of a collaborative project between Dr David Merritt and Dr Ben Miller and the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Germany.
PhD student Nicole Bezemer was awarded best student paper in 2018 by the Australian Journal of Botany for her sole-authored paper 'Wild seedlings of a tree endemic on granite outcrops show no evidence of inbreeding depression'.
Digging deeper into the formation of Australia Fairy Circles. Dr Stephan Getzin and colleagues, including Dr Todd Erickson and Dr Miriam Muñoz-Rojas from Kings Park Science, publish a new paper in Ecosphere providing new evidence on the cause of this unique, large-scale hexagonal pattern of Pilbara spinifex.
PhD student Laura Skates awarded the Australian Flora Foundation prize for her poster 'Carnivorous plants: capturing prey and imaginations', presented as part of the Communicating Ecology in the Anthropocene symposium at the Ecological Society of Australia conference held in Brisbane, Queensland.
PhD students Bronwyn Ayre and Laura Skates awarded the inaugural InterAction Media Mentoring Program Awards at the Ecological Society of Australia conference held in Brisbane, Queensland.
Dr Alison Ritchie with support from Dr Todd Erickson received the Quarry Life Award, a scientific and educational contest run by Heidelberg Cement. The award was in recognition of Dr Ritchie's latest research into 'Evaluating seed enhancement technologies for use in biodiverse Banksia woodland restoration' and builds upon work by Dr Todd Erickson and Vanessa Brown (UWA PhD student).
Together with colleagues from the University of Arizona, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University, CSIRO, DBCA, and the UWA Oceans Institute, Dr Katinka Ruthrof co-authored a paper on the impacts of the 2011 heatwave on a broad range of taxa.
Drs Todd Erickson, Miriam Muñoz Rojas, and David Merritt attended the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration, New Orleans, 26 – 30th August, along with UWA engineering colleague Dr Andrew Guzzomi and US collaborator Dr Mathew Madsen, as part of the Kings Park Science project on eco-engineering to improved seed technologies and mechanised delivery systems for large-scale restoration.
PhD student Laura Skates awarded the Friends of Kings Park Vic Galea Scholarship, allowing her to take part in the Carnivorous Plants exhibit to be held at the Calyx exhibition centre, at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.
BGPA won the 2018 Premier's Science Award in the category of science engagement for Rio Tinto Naturescape and Kings Park Education. The Awards cover all fields of science, and recipients exemplify the outstanding scientific research and engagement taking place in Western Australia.
PhD student Olga Kildisheva publishes her paper with Kings Park Science colleagues Drs Todd Erickson and David Merritt, detailing the seed germination and dormancy traits of forbs and shrubs important for restoration of North American dryland ecosystems.
Dr Ben Anderson wins a BioOne Ambassador award for excellence in communication by an early career researcher. These international awards spotlight rising scholars and generate a wider interest in the recently published research on spinifex taxonomy.
Drs David Merritt, Emma Dalziell, and Wolfgang Lewandrowski attended the 2nd ISSS Seed Longevity Workshop meeting in Ft Collins. Dr Dalziell talked on her work developing respirometry techniques to predict seed longevity. Dr Merritt provided a keynote presentation highlighting the work of Kings Park Science in seed conservation and ecology.
As part of a team from Murdoch University, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Edith Cowan University, Dr Katinka Ruthrof co-authored a paper on a study examining the impacts of digging mammals on rhizosphere fungi.
Sadichhya Adhikari awarded Masters at UWA for her research on seed sourcing for restoration under climate change, finding climate relevant provenance effects on germination responses to temperature and water variation for Stylidium hispidum.
Dr Hongyuan Ma, alongside Drs Todd Erickson and David Merritt, publishes a paper from her work completed during a sabbatical at Kings Park Science on how dormancy regulates the germination of the kanagaroo paw, Anigozanthos viridis.
PhD student Laura Skates awarded 1st prize for her poster presentation 'How carnivorous are carnivorous plants?' at the 11th International Conference on the Applications of Stable Isotope Techniques to Ecological Studies.
Dr Jason Stevens has been appointed as Kings Park Science Program Leader, within the Biodiversity and Conservation Science Directorate of DBCA, which is led by Executive Director Dr Margaret Byrne.
PhD students Lauren Svejcar, Simone Pedrini and Susan Whiteley, and Dr Adam Cross, were this year's successful WA Fresh Scientists. These early-career scientists took part in media and communications training that culminated in a public presentation challenge where they showcased their research.
Susan Whiteley awarded a PhD for her research on ex situ conservation of the threatened Androcalva perlaria (Malvaceae s.l.) and implications for in situ restoration.
Dr Carole Elliott, Kylie Wilkinson and Dr Shane Turner published their case study on the translocation of a threatened species Ricinocarpos brevis in Bulletin of the Australian Network for Plant Conservation, 26(4):12-15.
Dr Thomas Robson, Dr Peter Golos, Dr Jason Stevens and Dr Nathan Reid publish a paper that examined the effect of a shallow sandy topsoil cover overlying mildly reactive, circum‐neutral copper ore tailings on seedling emergence, growth, and root development.
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.
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.
Dr Katinka Ruthrof and colleagues from Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University published a paper on the nitrogen requirements of Sorghum bicolor when grown in post-phosphate mining substrates on Christmas Island.
Susan Whiteley submits her PhD on conserving Androcalva perlaria (Malvaceae): the implications of life history and the use of ex situ conservation methodologies.
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.
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?'.
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’.