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

School Ball parking

Temporary parking on Fraser Avenue will not be provided for buses, limos and cars, and fines will apply.

Rotary Wishing Well works

Works will be taking place at the Rotary Wishing Well near Fraser Circle from 17 January 2023 until further notice.

Blue Boat House works

The City of Perth will be replacing the timber stairs at the blue boat house from Monday 30 January until Tuesday 28 February 2023.

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Rare plants stolen from Kings Park

We're devastated to announce up to 900 of WA’s rarest orchids have been stolen from the Conservation Garden in Kings Park.

Dr Scalzo awarded Medal of the Order of Australia

Congratulations to Kings Park's Dr Tony Scalzo on receiving the award of a Medal of the Order of Australia (General Division).

Life after fire: a seed's 70 year journey

Bushfires are devastating for the communities they rip through. In the Quairading fires in February this year, farmer Murray Williams lost everything on his farm apart from his home.

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