rsb project 2014View image slideshowProject title: Restoration Seedbank Initiative

Dates: 2013 - 2018

Funding: BHP Billiton Iron Ore

Location: Pilbara Mine Sites, 1000 km north of Perth

Research themes

  • restoration ecology
  • seed physiology and ecology
  • seed enhancement
  • soil science
  • plant physiology

Project description

The Restoration Seedbank Initiative (RSB) is a major five-year, multi-disciplinary partnership with BHP Billiton Iron Ore and The University of Western Australia.

The project is focused on developing the science, knowledge, and technical skills required to achieve proven, cost-effective, and scalable restoration of biodiverse native vegetation communities in the resource rich Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The RSB comprises four integrated research and development programs encompassing seed bank management and curation, seed bank science, seed enablement, and development of suitable plant growth media, to deliver the capacity to restore landscapes following mining using seed-based technologies.

Key staff

Prof. Kingsley Dixon, Dr David Merritt, Dr Todd Erickson, Dr Miriam Mũnoz-Rojas, Dr Shane Turner


A/Prof. Andrew Guzzomi (UWA), Dr Jeremy James (Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center), Dr Mathew Madsen (USDA - Agricultural Research Service, Oregon)


Amber Bateman (PhD; 2017 - present) Soil amendments and their effects on seed recruitment in arid zone restoration. Supervisors: Dr Miriam Munoz-Rojas, Dr Todd Erickson, Dr David Merritt, A/Prof Erik Veneklaas.

Monte Masarei (PhD; 2017 - present) Mechanised sowing of native seeds for broad-acre restoration. Supervisors: A/Prof Andrew Guzzomi, Dr Todd Erickson, Dr David Merritt.

Olga Kildisheva (PhD; 2015 - present) Improving the outcomes of seed-based restoration in cold and hot deserts: an investigation into seed dormancy, germination, and seed enhancement. Supervisors: Dr Todd Erickson, Dr David Merritt, Dr Mathew Madsen, Prof Kingsley Dixon.

Alaa Shallal Nayyef (PhD; 2015 - present) Conservation of arid plants through improved understanding of seed biology. Supervisors: Dr Shane Turner, Dr David Merritt, Dr Deborah Pritchard.

Sonam Tobgay (Masters; UWA 2016) Physical seed dormancy and the mechanisation of approaches to render seeds water permeable.

Marlee Starcevich (Hons; UWA 2016) Development of seed coating technologies for restoration.

Taking soil respiration measurements under a Eucalyptus tree in the Pilbara. Photo: D. Martini. Installing seed farming trials for spinifex grasses. Photo: T. Erickson. Germination testing of clay-based pellets for precision seeding at restoration sites. Photo: D. Merritt.


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