Alison Ritchie in the Kings Park Science nurseryView image slideshowProject title: Innovative seed technologies for restoration in a biodiversity hotspot

Dates: 2018 - 2023

Funding: Australian Research Council (LP170100075) awarded to University of Western Australia, with industry partners; Hanson Construction Materials, Bentonite Products WA and BGPA

Location: Swan Coastal Plain and Wheatbelt regions

Research themes

  • seed enhancement technologies
  • seed germination
  • seedling emergence
  • weed ecology
  • restoration ecology
  • land degradation
  • ecophysiology
  • ecological filters

Project description

This project will examine concepts of plant community assembly, dispersal dynamics of invasive species and water repellency to develop and implement innovative and practical methods to improve native plant establishment within a Global Biodiversity Hotspot. The development of advanced technologies to enhance restoration success will benefit ecological communities impacted by urban expansion, agriculture and resource development, and their associated practitioners, government agencies, private landowners and primary Australian industry.

The research, development and the effectiveness of seed enhancement technologies will be tested through multiyear, large-scale field trials across multiple degraded landscapes (post-mine and post-pine in Gnangara and post-agriculture in the Wheatbelt).

Three main aims will be investigated:

  1. Characterise the degree of water repellency and weed establishment of the target degraded landscapes -- ascertaining the legacy of the degraded and remnant environments, focusing on floristic composition, the soil physiochemical properties and weed seed bank of each environment.
  2. Manipulate water relations driving restoration success in degraded landscapes -- the development of seed enhancement technologies to deliver beneficial compounds to the interface of the soil-seed environment to overcome the abiotic barrier of water repellency in restoration.
  3. Manipulate the biotic interactions driving plant community reassembly to initiate resistance to weed invasion and reduce water repellency simultaneously in degraded landscapes -- the development of seed enhancement technologies to overcome the biotic barrier of weed invasion in restoration and water repellency.

Key staff

Dr Alison Ritchie (UWA), Prof Richard Hobbs (UWA), Dr Todd Erickson (UWA), Dr Jason Stevens (DBCA), Dr David Merritt (DBCA).

Collaborators

Asst Prof Matthew Madsen (Brigham Young University, USA), Mr Vernon Newton (Hanson Construction Materials), Mr Anthony Pekin (Bentonite Products WA), Mr Alan Savage (Bentonite Products WA).

Students

Vanessa Brown (PhD Candidate, UWA), Bianca Berto (Honours, UWA), Thomas Munro (Honours, CSU).

Presentations

Innovative seed technologies for restoration in a biodiversity hotspot, Society for Ecological Restoration Conference 2018, Brisbane, Australia.

 

Banksia pellets tested to overcome water resistant soil data. Photo: BGPA Banksia seedlings. Photo: BGPA Alison Ritchie receiving the Quarry Life Award for her research

Administration car park closure

There will be limited access to the BGPA Administration building and the Kings Park Education and Learning building from Wednesday 15 June 2022 for approximately 8 weeks, due to ongoing Water Corporation works.

Water Corporation works

The Water Corporation is replacing approximately 700 metres of ageing water pipes between Mount Eliza Reservoir and Bellevue Terrace in Kings Park.

Bold Park disruption

Banksia Carpark in Bold Park is currently closed to the public due to stormwater damage.

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Floral clock debuts artistic new look

The much-loved Kings Park Floral Clock has debuted a whole new look with a modern floral makeover from an exciting artist.

Fire Ecology Burn

Researchers and bushland staff at Kings Park successfully carried out a scientific research burn in a section of Kings Park bushland earlier this month. 

New innovative AR experience launched at Kings Park

A new locally developed augmented reality experience has been launched at Kings Park in time for families to enjoy during these school holidays.

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