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Research Scientist (Conservation Biotechnology)
Biodiversity Conservation Centre
Kattidj Close
Kings Park Western Australia 6005
(+61 8) 9480 3623

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


  • Australian Research Council ITTC - Training Centre for Mining Restoration (2015 - 2020). Project with Curtin University, and the University of Western Australia with industry partners Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia Inc., Rocla Quarry Products, Cliffs Asia Pacific Iron Ore Pty. Ltd., Sinosteel Midwest Corporation Ltd., BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty. Ltd., Karara Mining Ltd., Polaris Metals Pty. Ltd.
  • Restoration Seedbank (RSB) Initiative (2014 - 2018). Industry partners: BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Kings Park and Botanic Garden, and the University of Western Australia.
  • 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.

Visit the Species Recovery section to learn more about the current projects.


  • 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 Carole Elliott (Research Fellow; UWA 2014 - present) Integrated conservation of Ricinocarpos brevis.
  • Dr Adam Cross (Research Associate; UWA 2014 - present) Karara minesite rehabilitation research program.
  • Alaa Shallal Nayyef (PhD; Curtin 2015 - present) Conservation of arid plants through improved understanding of seed biology as a means of enhancing the functionality of botanic gardens.
  • Susan Whiteley (PhD; UWA 2013 - present) Reproduction biology of the threatened Androcalva perlaria (Malvaceae s.l.) and implications for in situ restoration.
  • Sonam Tobgay (Masters; UWA 2016) Physical seed dormancy and the mechanisation of approaches to render seeds water permeable.
  • Marlee Starcevich (Hons; UWA 2016) Seeds for restoration.


  • Kerryn Chia (PhD; UWA 2010 - 2016) Ecology, seed dormancy and germination biology of Persoonia longifolia for use in land restoration and horticulture.
  • Michael Cahill (Hons; Curtin 2015) Genetic integrity of chloroplast and mitochondrial DNA following cryopreservation.
  • 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.
  • Bryn Funnekotter (PhD; Curtin 2011 - 2015) The role of oxidative stress in successful cryopreservation of Australian plant species.
  • Todd Erickson (PhD; UWA 2009 - 2015) 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Turner SR, Steadman KJ, Vlahos S, Koch K, Dixon KW (2013) Seed treatment optimises benefits of seed bank storage for restoration-ready seeds: The feasibility of pre-storage dormancy alleviation for minesite revegetation. Restoration Ecology 21: 186–192.

Reynolds CJ, Long RL, Flematti GR, Cherry H, Turner SR (2014) Karrikins promote germination of physiologically dormant seeds of Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. monilifera (boneseed). Weed Research 54: 48-57.

Cross AT, Turner SR, Baskin JM, Renton M, Dixon KW, Merritt DJ (2015) Seed dormancy and persistent sediment seed banks of ephemeral freshwater rock pools in the Australian Monsoon Tropics.  Annals of Botany 115. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcv014. 2013

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

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