Title

Notre Dame Science graduate spends summer working on conservation at Kings Park

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Fall 3-5-2009

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place

Fremantle

Abstract

2008 Bachelor of Science graduate, Andrew Naskos, was awarded a $7000 summer scholarship with the Biodiversity Conservation Centre (BCC) at Kings Park.

The Centre, located at one of Western Australia's most iconic and valuable landmarks, is an institute for cutting edge research into biodiversity conservation. Mr Naskos undertook a collaborative research project as part of his undergraduate degree at the Centre in 2008 and later won a competitive scholarship allowing him to continue his work over the summer.

The aim of his research is to improve the germination of Australian native tree species which will ultimately assist land restoration efforts. The establishment of any plant species begins with successful germination which is dependent on seed responses to environmental cues. A significant barrier to commercial germination is the need to develop methods, such as seed priming, to alleviate the primary dormancy and to promote vigorous germination and subsequent establishment.

"With the growing vision to plant large areas of woody perennial species for environmental restoration, it is important to find reliable and cost effective methods to improve seedling establishment. Australian plants respond well to a variety of seed priming treatments, explains Mr Naskos.

“Research into the prospective species (including eucalypts, wattle and saltbush), and techniques such as cost effective direct seeding methods would, I believe, be a valuable contribution to restoration projects.

“As well as determining optimum temperatures for germination, current research aims to reveal chemical treatments that enhance germination in woody perennials and therefore demonstrate potential for restoration applications.

“Other methods of germination enhancement and dormancy alleviation I’m working on include acid (98% concentration) or mechanical scarification of Acacia seed which assists the imbition of water, triggering germination.”

Mr Naskos’ research will continue into the coming year with the hope to fill some of the knowledge gaps in seed germination science, particularly in the direction of dormancy alleviation associated with seed after-ripening.

Media contact: Michelle Ebbs 08 9433 0610, 0408 959 138