Theme leader: Paul Nevill
Objectives: Train researchers in the application of molecular, genecological, remote sensing and mapping approaches for understanding the drivers and consequences of adaptively significant genetic variation and its spatial structure, to inform decisions regarding seed sourcing and seed farming for better restoration outcomes.
Outcomes: (1)Identify genetically optimal ecotypes and local habitat-matched provenance boundaries for restoration sites; (2) Ensure genetically appropriate germplasm is established in ex-situ seed banks and seed farms; (3) Describe the mating systems of priority taxa to maximise seed production in wild and farmed seed source populations.
Mining is a multibillion dollar industry in Western Australia and mine site restoration has increasingly become a concern for mining companies and the public. Monitoring is a crucial aspect of determining restoration success and indicating when further remediation may be necessary. Metabarcoding is a tool that may allow biological auditing from DNA in the environment, and can provide cost-effective monitoring that can detect flora, fauna and microbial communities. PhD student Mieke van der Heyde is undertaking research to determine how to optimize and apply metabarcoding monitoring for mine site restoration.
Ecological restoration is becoming increasingly important globally. Paramount to the success of restoration efforts is the suitability of seed sources to the area under restoration. To determine the suitability of seed sources for restoration, information on species genetic diversity and local adaptation is required. While it has been well-established that life history traits play an important role in determining species genetic variation, few studies have included examinations of parasitic life history traits. This PhD project will compare patterns of adaptive and phylogeographic variation in sympatric parasitic and non-parasitic plant species’ important for mine site restoration in Western Australia.