The South Australian Seed Conservation Centre always has a ton of important projects on the go with a vast array of stakeholders - here's a current list of some of the big ones.
Germination trials of Choretrum species to propagate plants restoration projects
This project involves investigating the germination requirements for three Choretrum species that are members of the Santalaceae family and are difficult to germinate. Two of the species are rated as Rare for South Australia. These plants are an important food source for birds and insects yet they're often excluded from restoration programs because they're difficult to propagate and require a host plant. We're grateful to the Native Vegetation Council for funding this project.
Propagation of Epacridaceae species for on ground restoration
Several members of the Epacridaceae family are difficult to propagate and because of this they're rarely included in restoration programs, even though they're often common species that form an integral part of several plant communities. This project aims to find propagation protocols, preferably using seeds, for two Leucopogon species, two Astroloma species and Epacris impressa. We're grateful to the Native Vegetation Council for funding this project.
Hillgrove Resources Ltd
The aim of this project is to assist the rehabilitation of two nationally endangered plant communities, Eucalyptus odorata woodland and Lomandra effusa iron-grass tussock land, and the revegetation of disturbed areas according to the Kanmantoo Copper Mines Environmental Management Program. The role of the Seed Centre is to assess the viability and germination capacity of seeds from locally sourced plant species; to undertake soil sampling from paddocks to estimate the distribution of weed seed through the soil profile; to investigate the propagation of Lomandra species using a direct trial on site and in vitro germination experiments. Experiments have been conducted to find suitable protocols for germinating Lomandra effusa and Themeda triandra. Hundreds of plants are being propagated from these species to be used to restore the mine site.
SAMDB and AMLR NRM
The aim of this one-year project is to collect seeds from seven threatened species for long term storage and to develop germination protocols and propagate plants for restoration programs in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges (AMLR) and SA Murray-Darling Basin (SAMDB) regions. The species have been selected on the basis of rarity and are notoriously difficult to collect and propagate. This season seeds were collected from the endangered species Hibbertia hirsuta, Hibbertia tenuis, Bornoia parviflora, Veronica derwentiana,Tricostularia pauciflora and Podolepis muelleri. In some instances mesh bags were attached to plants to achieve seed collections for these small populations of endangered plants. Germination experiments achieved results for most of these species, but further germination research is required to improve results. Seedlings have been propagated from germination experiments and will planted in recovery programs.
Coorong Lower Lakes Murray Mouth (CLLMM)
The objective of this three-year project is to collect seeds from 24 species and determine successful germination protocols that can be used by community nurseries to increase plant production for restoration programs in the CLLMM region. The target species have been identified as difficult to propagate by CLLMM and its regional partners.
Australian Seed Bank Partnership (ASBP)
The Australian Seed Bank Partnership (ASBP) is a national alliance involving 12 organisations and includes the Seed Banks within the Botanic Gardens across Australia. The Partnership contributes to national and international projects to conserve Australia’s native plant species through seed collection, banking and research.
One of the key programs is the MSBP-ASBP Field work fund 1000 species project, where seed banking is being used to safeguard a target of 1000 new threatened or endemic plant species across Australia.
A field work proposal for the 2015/2016 season has been accepted by the ASBP to make collections of threatened plants from Kangaroo Island. The target is to make seed collections from 15 species that are new to the Millenium Seed Bank.
Threatened Orchids from the AMLR
A partnership evolved with Noushka Reiter (Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne), Kieren Brewer, Jo Quarmby and Rick Davies (AMLR NRM) and the Seed Centre to propagate five extremely threatened orchids from the AMLR region as an initiative to prevent their extinction in the wild. By combining the isolated mycorrhizal fungi and freshly collected seed in Noushka’s laboratory in Cranbourne we hope to propagate plants for reintroduction to selected sites. Thanks to volunteers from Native Orchid Society of South Australia for help with monitoring and seed collection. Thanks to Forestry SA for providing funds for the propagation of Thelymitra cyanapicata.
Iluka Resources ltd - soil analysis
This project involves the analysis of soil sampled from disused stockpiles surrounding the mineral sands mine at Yellabinna. The rehabilitation staff are interested to know how much viable seed lies at different depth in their stockpiles. The soil sampling analysis involves germinating seed and sieving samples to identify and quantify the seed.
We currently have four projects with SA Water supporting the restoration of the areas around three of their reservoirs.
Soil seed bank analysis at Mt Bold Reservoir Reserve: This project involves analysing the number of seed in the soil profile by germinating seeds from soil samples taken from different depths from a property near Kangarilla.
Soil seed bank analysis at Millbrook Reservoir: The aim of this project is to analyse soil samples to determine the quantity and distribution of hard seeded weeds (Gorse and Broom) in the soil seed bank.
Seed biology of Coolatai grass: The aim of this project is to investigate the effects of fire on the viability, germination and persistence of Coolatai grass in the soil seed bank at Little Para Reservoir.
Bioswale project: The provision of relevant technical advice in relation to species biology and propagation for selected target species to be included in a trial bioswale restoration at Mt Bold Reservoir Reserve.
Seeds of South Australia website
The Seeds of South Australia website is an online resource that was designed to provide information and images from field work and laboratory studies conducted by the South Australian Seed Centre since 2003. The content includes photographic images of plant species in several life stages from seedlings to mature plants, with detailed pictures of flowers and fruits and microscopic images of seeds.
Also included are descriptions of plant and seed anatomy and information about flowering times, seed ripening, seed collection and processing, viability, dormancy mechanisms and germination protocols. A tool for seed identification and comparison of plant or seed images has been built in. Each species page has a link to the entry in the State Herbarium Census of South Australian Plants.
Recent upgrades include IBRA subregional distribution and status and work is in progress to search by subregion and display information from the Flora of South Australia 5th Edition. The initial focus of the website is on threatened plant species and will fill a knowledge gap in the identification and utilisation of native seeds from the state.
The website is a work in progress and there is currently contains information for over 2000 species. Thanks to Rex Croft, Thai Te and Adam Lanzafame for construction and maintenance of the website.