THURSDAY TALK - Dr Gemma Hoyle ‘Dead, difficult or dormant? Reducing seed waste in grassland restoration and how conservation seed banks can help.’

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Thursday, 11 March 2021 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Dr Gemma Hoyle ‘Dead, difficult or dormant? Reducing seed waste in grassland restoration and how conservation seed banks can help.’
Gemma will talk about the critical role of conservation seed banks in native grassland restoration in south-eastern Australia.

Abstract
Prior to colonisation, temperate grassy ecosystems extended across south-eastern Australia. Today, grassy ecosystems are among the most degraded and altered vegetation communities on the continent. Extensive land clearing and modification, introduction of invasive exotic species, inappropriate disturbance regimes and neglect have all contributed to the fragmentation, degradation and loss of grassy ecosystem biodiversity.

The goal of ecological restoration is full recovery, insofar as possible, and reinstating species diversity is critical to restoring grassland structure and functionality. Seeds play a key role in the assembly and regeneration of existing and future plant communities, however, the success of seed-based restoration hinges on the ability of practitioners to predict germination requirements and ensure that these are met at the restoration site. Grassland plant species currently present us with some challenging and often undescribed seed biology, particularly relating to seed storage and germination. Here, we present some seed bank data from a subset of grassland species both to inform seed-based restoration of grasslands and to demonstrate the capabilities of seed banks to perform rigorous, high-quality research utilising their stored collections. We argue that seed banks can provide valuable information on grassland seed storage and germination ecology that can be used by restoration practitioners to reduce seed wastage and improve outcomes.

Biography
Dr Gemma Hoyle is a Seed Scientist at the National Seed Bank in the Biodiversity Conservation and Knowledge Section of the Australian National Botanic Gardens. She has worked in seed biology, ecology and conservation for over 15 years. Her research focuses on uncovering germination requirements and dormancy alleviation of Australian native seeds to improve the management and long-term conservation of Australia’s endemic flora. She is particularly interested in seed germination strategies employed by plants to maximise seedling growth and establishment in often extreme environmental conditions, and how these may or may not sustain species under observed and predicted climate change. Gemma is currently investigating the critical role of conservation seed banks in Australian grassland restoration, and germination of threatened species endemic to tropical mountain tops in far north Queensland.

Bookings for this talk open the Friday before and close at midnight on Wednesday night.

Bookings can be made at https://register.eventarc.net/e/44981

Bookings are essential because of the COVID-19 guidelines related to the Thursday Talks and limited seating. (Tickets are Free.)

Please be aware that COVID-19 outbreaks and isolation requirements are subject to change at short notice.

Please ensure that:
- You have not been in a hotspot or prohibited area before attending Thursday Talks.
- You do not attend if you are feeling unwell.

Tickets are limited, please notify us if you are unable to come on 0437 298 711 or 0407 299 704.