Meena Sritheran ‘What makes plants rare?’

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Thursday, 25 August 2022 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Meena is looking at how fire, soil properties and plant interactions may play a role in driving the rarity of species, and how this knowledge would aid conservation management of rare species and ecosystems.


Determining what makes a plant species rare has been a fundamental and alluring question in ecology and conservation. A few species are highly abundant in most plant communities, but many more species are rare. This pattern represents one of the most consistently observed phenomena in ecology. However, research in ecology and conservation have still yet to come to a clear understanding in determining what makes a plant rare, species rare and why plants can become rare across time and space. Meena’s work presents findings from her PhD thesis, attempting look at how fire, soil properties and plant interactions may play a role in driving the rarity of species, and how we can use this knowledge to aid scientists and practitioners in developing better management strategies to conserve rare species and ecosystems."


Meena Sritharan is a currently PhD student in plant ecology at the Australian National University looking at what makes plants rare. She has worked previously on different research projects at UNSW Sydney in the realm of plants. Alongside her research, she has worked as a science communicator at the Australian Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. When not conducting research, She loves to spend her time botanising on long bushwalks, baking something challenging, and crocheting things large and small.

Lunchtime talks are held at 12.30 pm every Thursday from February to November.  Talks last for 1 hour.  We welcome a gold coins donation. The Friends use donations received at each talk to support Gardens’ programs and development and thank all those who have donated.  Please note: unless otherwise indicated, talks are in the ANBG Theatrette.

Bookings are a good idea in order to reserve a seat at the talks you wish to attend; some talks book out very quickly.  Bookings can be made from the Friday before the talk until Wednesday night before the talk or until seating limits are reached. 

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The Friends of the ANBG thank the speakers who volunteer their time and talents to further the knowledge of all attending events in the Gardens. Some summaries or PowerPoint presentations of Thursday talks are available to Friends at the ANBG library. A donation to the Friends for the use of this material will be gratefully accepted. Please direct queries about the talks to the Thursday Talks Team: email

The talks are in line with COVID-19 guidelines which can change rapidly.