Contact image
Position
Senior Research Scientist (Conservation Biotechnology)
Address
Biodiversity Conservation Centre
Kattidj Close
Kings Park Western Australia 6005
Phone
(+61 8) 9480 3647

Research themes

  • In vitro propagation of endemic Western Australian (and other) flora
  • Cryopreservation of threatened plants
  • Ex situ plant conservation
  • Restoration and conservation of threatened plant species

Academic background

  • 1999 - 2003 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Western Australia.
  • 1989 - 1994 Masters by Research (MSc), University of Western Australia.

Major projects

Current

  • Advanced cryobanking for propagation-recalcitrant and critically endangered plant species (2014). Collaborators: Mancera R, Bryant G, Turner SR, Bunn E. 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.
  • In vitro research for propagation and ex situ conservation of threatened and recalcitrant plant taxa. On-going project. Collaborative partners: Department of Parks and Wildlife, mining industry (various).
  • Cryopreservation research for long-term storage of threatened. On-going project. Collaborative partners: Curtin University, Department of Parks and Wildlife and mining industry (various).
  • Restoration of threatened plants to field sites. On-going project. Collaborators: BGPA, Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Visit the Conservation Biotechnology section to learn more about the current projects.

Past

  • Development of cryopreservation for high value provenance collections of recalcitrant plant species used in post-mining restoration (2008). Collaborators: Mancera R, Bryant G, Mark A, Turner SR, Che P and Bunn E. Australian Research Council Linkage Project with Curtin University, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, University of Queensland and the University of Western Australia as research partners. Industry partners: ALCOA of WA, BGPA.
  • In vitro propagation (through somatic embryogenesis) of rush and sedge species important for land rehabilitation (2006). Collaborators: McComb JA, Bunn E and Dixon K. Australian Research Council Linkage Project with Murdoch University as research partner. Industry partners: Worsley Alumina Pty Ltd and Ebony Bay Pty Ltd (trading as Seed Solutions) and BGPA.
  • Mechanisms for release of deep dormancy in seeds of Australian plant species used in land restoration (2003). Collaborators: Plummer J, Dixon K and Bunn E. Australian Research Council Linkage Project with the University of Western Australia as research partner. Industry partner: BGPA.
  • Development of synthetic seeds for clonal propagation of Australian plants (2002). Collaborators: Dixon K, Senaratna T and Bunn E. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation with research organisation: BGPA.

Research associates, post-docs and students

Current

  • Dr Bryn Funnekotter (Post-graduate Fellow, Curtin University; 2015 - 2017) Advanced cryobanking for propagation-recalcitrant and critically endangered plant species.
  • Susan Whitely (PhD; 2013 - present) Reproduction biology of the threatened Androcalva perlaria (Malvaceae s.l.) and implications for in situ restoration.
  • Sharon Fletcher (PhD; 2015 - present) Understanding post-cryogenic injury and influence on genetic integrity in plants.
  • Michael Cahill (Hons; 2015) Genetic integrity of Androcalva perlaria mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA following cryopreservation.
  • Prof Ricardo Mancera (School of Biomedical Science, Curtin University) Collaborator on two ARC Linkage grants ('Advanced cryobanking for propagation-recalcitrant and critically endangered plant species'; 'Development of cryopreservation for high value provenance collections of recalcitrant plant species used in post-mining restoration').
  • Prof Gary Bryant (Science, Engineering and Health, RMIT) Collaborator on two ARC Linkage grants ('Advanced cryobanking for propagation-recalcitrant and critically endangered plant species'; 'Development of cryopreservation for high value provenance collections of recalcitrant plant species used in post-mining restoration').
  •  Dr Andrea Kodym (Research Scientist, formerly Melbourne University - now Elise Richter Research Fellow, University of Vienna, Austria) Collaborator on in vitro research into micropropagation and somatic embryogenesis of Australian rush and sedge species. 

Past

  • Bryn Funnekotter (PhD; 2011 - 2015) The role of oxidative stress in successful cryopreservation of Australian plant species.
  • Betty Mauliya Bustam (PhD; 2012 - 2015) Micropropagation and cryostorage of native terrestrial orchids.
  • Sharon Fletcher (Hons; Curtin 2014) Next generation sequencing of chloroplast DNA for testing genetic fidelity during cryopreservation of native Australian Plants.
  • Beorn Harris (PhD; 2008 - 2013) Development of biotechnology-based ex situ conservation approaches for the critically endangered Leucopogon sp. ciliate Eneabba, (Ericaceae). Supervisors: Prof K Dixon, Dr E Bunn.
  • Dr Anja Kaczmarczyk (Post-doctoral Fellow; 2009 - 2013) Lead researcher for 'Development of cryopreservation for high value provenance collections of recalcitrant plant species used in post-mining restoration'.
  • Prof Alan E Mark (School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences (SCMB) and Institute for Molecular Biosciences (IMB), University of Queensland) Collaborator on 'Development of cryopreservation for high value provenance collections of recalcitrant plant species used in post-mining restoration'.
  • Shahab Nikabadi (MSc; 2012 - 2014) Understanding the ecophysiology of trophic transition with micropropagated terrestrial orchids for improving restoration success. Supervisors: Prof K Dixon, Dr J Stevens, Dr S Turner, Dr B Davies, Dr E Bunn.
  • Anamika Sortey (Hons; Curtin 2013) Influence of stress factors on post-cryogenic survival of Lomandra sonderi.
  • Susan Whiteley (Hons; UWA 2012) Conservation of Aldrovanda vesiculosa L. through tissue culture and cryopreservation.
  • Pui Ye Phang (Hons; Curtin 2011) Ex situ conservation of the critically endangered Western Australian species Commersonia sp. Mt Groper.
  • Simin Lai (Hons; UWA 2010) In vitro propagation of the dryland sedge species - Mesomelaena pseudostygia and M. tetragona (Cyperaceae) for land restoration.
  • Maggie Panaia (Post-doctoral researcher) ARC linkage project 'In vitro propagation (through somatic embryogenesis) of rush and sedge species important for land rehabilitation'.
  • Dr Avner Cohen, Volcani Institute, Israel. (Sabbatical study, November 2008 - May 2010). The generation of novel types of interspecific hybrids of selected native Australian plant species for use by the flower and Ornamental plant industry, through interspecific hybridization and overcoming self- and incompatibility barriers.
  • Maite Zarranz Elso (PhD candidate from the University of Gran Canaria, Spain; 3 months study May - July 2009 at BGPA) Development of in vitro propagation technology for WA seagrass spp.
  • Reuben Mallon Moure (PhD student, University of Santiago, Spain; 12 week study May - August 2007). Development of cryopreservation for an endemic critically endangered Spanish species, Centaurea ultreiae (Compositae).
  • Patcharawadee (Go) Wattanawikkit (PhD; BGPA 2005 - 2007) Development of in vitro methods for ex situ conservation of Paphiopdedilum spp. Thesis studies completed in Thailand, thesis passed Jul 2014.
  • Ben Stone (Hons; 2005) In vitro propagation and genetic provenance of Synaphea stenoloba (Proteaceae) for ex situ conservation.
  • Qigang Ye (Research scientist from South China Botanic Gardens; 12 month sabbatical study January - December 2004) Reproductive biology studies with threatened native plants.
  • Dr Ma GuoHua (Research Scientist, South China Botanic Garden; 12 week sabbatical study, May - September 2004) Effects of butenolide on somatic embryogenesis of an Australian native sedge and reproductive biology of Posidonia australis.
  • Rebecca Beveridge (Hons; UWA 2000) Eucalyptus phylacis, a study of phenolic oxidation in a recalcitrant native Australian species.
  • Siti Nurfadilah (Masters by research, 2008 - 2010) In vitro propagation for conservation of endemic Indonesian slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum).
  • Catherine Ryan (Hons; 2006 - 2007) In vitro propagation of recalcitrant monocotyledon species.
  • Melissa Murphy (Hons; 2006) Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations on the root and shoot growth of Cephalotus follicularis.
  • 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.
  • Jeremy Smith (Hons; University of Technology Sydney 1999) Micropropagation of the Gymea Lily (Doryanthes excelsa Corr.).
  • Julia Evetts-Wilson (Hons; Curtin 1999) Cryogenic conservation of rare and endangered Western Australian Eucalypts.
  • Maggie Panaia (Hons; UWA 1998) Rescuing Symonanthus bancroftii (Solanaceae) a Western Australian native species from extinction through in vitro propagation.

Selected publications

Bunn E and Dixon KW (1996) Tissue Culture of Rare and Endangered Australian Plants. In: Tissue Culture of Australian Plants - Past, Present and Future. (Eds.) Taji A and Williams RR, University of New England, Qld.

Fay MF, Bunn E and Ramsay MM (1999) In Vitro Propagation, In: A Colour Atlas of Plant Propagation and Conservation. (Ed) Bryan G. Bowes. Manson Publishing, London.

Senaratna T, Touchell D, Bunn E and Dixon K (2000) Acetyl salicylic acid (Aspirin) and salicylic acid induce multiple stress tolerance in bean and tomato plants. Plant Growth Regulation 30:157-161. One of the first studies to demonstrate that ASA could impart multiple stress tolerance in plants.

Bunn E and Tan B (2002) Microbial Contaminants in Plant Tissue Culture Propagation. In: Sivasithamparam K, Dixon K and Barratt R (Eds.) Microorganisms in Conservation, pp 307-335. Kluwer Academic Press, Netherlands.

Touchell DT, Turner SR, Bunn E and Dixon KW (2002) Cryostorage of somatic tissues of Endangered Australian Species. In: LE Towill and YPS Bajaj (Eds.) Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry, Vol. 50, Cryopreservation of Plant Germplasm II, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. pp 357-372.

Touchell DT, Turner SR, Senaratna T, Bunn E and Dixon KW (2002) Cryopreservation of Australian Species - The Role of Plant Growth Regulators. In: LE Towill and YPS Bajaj (Eds.) Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry, Vol. 50, Cryopreservation of Plant Germplasm II, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. pp 373-390.

Bunn E, Senaratna T, Sivasithamparam K and Dixon KW (2005) In vitro propagation of Eucalyptus phylacis L. Johnson and K. Hill., a critically endangered relict taxon from Western Australia. In Vitro Plant Cellular and Developmental Biology 41:812-815. First in vitro propagation for ex situ conservation of a highly recalcitrant and critically endangered relict species of Eucalyptus sp. of great antiquity, utilizing a novel plant growth regulator (epi-brassinolide).

Bunn E (2005) Development of in vitro methods for ex situ conservation of Eucalyptus impensa, an endangered mallee from south west Western Australia. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 83: 97-102. Development of novel in vitro propagation procedures to overcome contamination and culture establishment problems for a criticallly endangered and difficult to propagate Eucalyptus sp from WA.

Ma G-H, Bunn E, Dixon KW and Flematti G (2006) Comparative enhancement of germination and vigour in seed and somatic embryos by the smoke chemical 3-methyl-2h-furo[2,3-c]pran-2-one in Baloskion tetraphyllum (Restionaceae). In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology-Plant 42: 305-308. This Ms (# 05-110P, Ma, Bunn, Dixon, Flemati) selected by David Songstad, Ph.D., Vice President, SIVB as a highlight for In Vitro Report on 3 Apr 2006.

Bunn E (2007) In vitro culture for propagation and cultivation of rare and under-utilized Australian plants. In: S Ochatt, M Jain (Eds.) Breeding of Neglected and Under-utilized Crops, Spices and Herbs. Science Publishers (USA) pp 429-447.

Bunn E, Turner S, Panaia M and Dixon KW (2007) The contribution of in vitro technology and cryogenic storage to conservation of indigenous plants. In: Advances in Plant Conservation Biology - Implications for flora management and restoration, Symposium, Perth Western Australia 25-27 Oct 2005. Australian Journal of Botany 55:345-355. A review of current contribution of biotechnology research for preserving plant biodiversity (with emphasis on in vitro propagation and cryo-preservation) at Kings Park and Botanic Garden.

Bunn E, Dixon IR (2008) Re-introduction on the endangered Bancroft 's Symonanthus in Western Australia. In: Pritpal S. Soorae (Ed) Global Re-introduction Perspectives: Re-introduction case-studies from around the globe. IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group, Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, UAE and Denver Zoological Foundation, USA.

Mallon R, Bunn E, Turner SR and Gonzalez ML (2008) Cryopreservation of Centaureaultreiae (Compositae) a critically endangered species from Galicia (Spain). CryoLetters 29(5):363-370. The first successful cryopreservation protocol for this endangered Spanish taxon via a collaborative study between Kings Park and Botanic Garden and University of Santiago, Spain.

Panaia M, Bunn E, Turner SR and McComb JA (2009) Incubation temperature critical to successful stimulation of in vitro zygotic embryo growth in four Australian native Cyperaceae species. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 97:197-202. A key paper in the quest to develop somatic embryogenesis protocols for Australian Cyperaceae critical for restoring biodiversity in post-mined landscapes.

Offord CA, Bunn E, Turner SR, Somerville KD, Siemon J, Ashmore SE (2009) Tissue Culture (Chapter 6) In: CA Offord and PF Meagher (Eds.), 'Plant Germplasm Conservation in Australia: strategies and guidelines for developing, managing and utilizing ex situ collections '. Australian Network for Plant Conservation Inc. (ANPC), in partnership with Australian Seed Conservation and Research (AuSCaR).

Reed BM, Sarasan V, Kane M, Bunn E and Pence VC (2011) Biodiversity conservation and conservation biotechnology tools. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Plant Volume 47:1-4. Review article addressing the importance of appropriate biotechnology research for advancing plant biodiversity conservation.

Kaczmarczyk A, Turner SR, Bunn E, Mancera R and Dixon KW (2011) Cryopreservation of threatened native Australian species - what have we learned and where to from here? In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Plant 47:17-25. Review article on plant cryogenic research in Australia and its application to plant biodiversity conservation.

Menon A, Funnekotter B, Kaczmarczyk A, Bunn E, Turner SR and Mancera R (2013) Cryopreservation of Lomandra sonderi (Asparagaceae) shoot tips using droplet-vitrification. CryoLetters 33:259-270. First publication of droplet vitrification for cryopreservation of an endemic Australian plant species.

Kaczmarczyk A, Funnekotter B, Menon A, Phang PY, Al-Hanbali A, Bunn E and Mancera RL (2012) Current Issues in Plant Cryopreservation. In: Igor I Katkov (Ed) Current Frontiers in Cryobiology, InTechOpen pp 417-437.

Bunn E (2013) Tissue culture and cryopreservation. In: Mark Webb (Ed.) Growing Native Australian Plants - the Kings Park Experience. CSIRO Publishing Collingwood VIC Australia. pp 75-79.

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