Elizabeth Alexandra Sinclair

Elizabeth Alexandra Sinclair
University of Western Australia | UWA · Biological Sciences and Oceans Institute

PhD

About

91
Publications
30,999
Reads
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2,010
Citations
Citations since 2016
42 Research Items
1260 Citations
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Introduction
I use genetic and genomic tools to improve our understanding of spatial genetic structure and stress responses to changing oceans in temperate Australian seagrasses. This research contributes to an understanding of the processes impacting marine connectivity across Australian continental shelf ecosystems and makes an important contribution to the development of benthic biodiversity conservation planning and restoration practices.
Additional affiliations
January 2008 - June 2010
Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority
Position
  • Researcher
June 2004 - December 2007
Murdoch University
Position
  • Research Associate
January 1998 - May 2004
Brigham Young University - Provo Main Campus
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
March 1994 - January 1998
University of Western Australia
Field of study
  • Zoology and Genetics
February 1988 - November 1993
Australian National University
Field of study
  • Zoology and Botany

Publications

Publications (91)
Article
Full-text available
Three case studies involving two temperate Australian seagrass species – Pondweed (Ruppia tuberosa) and Ribbon Weed (Posidonia australis) – highlight different approaches to their restoration. Seeds and rhizomes were used in three collaborative programmes to promote new approaches to scale up restoration outcomes.
Article
Full-text available
Background The polyphyletic group of seagrasses shows an evolutionary history from early monocotyledonous land plants to the marine environment. Seagrasses form important coastal ecosystems worldwide and large amounts of seagrass detritus washed on beaches might also be valuable bioeconomical resources. Despite this importance and potential, little...
Article
Full-text available
Polyploidy has the potential to allow organisms to outcompete their diploid progenitor(s) and occupy new environments. Shark Bay, Western Australia, is a World Heritage Area dominated by temperate seagrass meadows including Poseidon's ribbon weed, Posidonia australis. This seagrass is at the northern extent of its natural geographic range and exper...
Article
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Known to the Malgana people as ‘Wirriya jalyanu nhurra’ or ‘seagrass mob’, Posidonia australis appears as expansive meadows across the salty waters of Gathaagudu (Shark Bay). Throughout these marine meadows, masses of bright ribbon-like leaves emerge from the sandy seafloor, waving with the ebb and flow of the water. The meadows vary in size, oft...
Article
Full-text available
Plants endure environmental stressors via adaptation and phenotypic plasticity. Studying these mechanisms in seagrasses is extremely relevant as they are important primary producers and functionally significant carbon sinks. These mechanisms are not well understood at the tissue level in seagrasses. Using RNA-seq, we generated transcriptome sequenc...
Chapter
This chapter summarizes our existing knowledge about seagrass seeds and their use and success in restoring seagrasses and enhancing recovery of damaged seagrass meadows, post-disturbance. The chapter is organised to introduce our interpretation of the evolution of these unique angiosperms, the processes of sexual reproduction, seed dormancy, seedli...
Article
Full-text available
We are fortunate in Australia to have beautiful beaches with stunningly biodiverse near-shore marine life. The swaying seagrass meadows make up an important part of this living ecosystem. It is lovely to snorkel just metres from the shore over the gently moving leaf canopy to watch the crabs, schools of juvenile fish, and starfish quietly going abo...
Article
Posidonia australis is a slow-growing seagrass that forms extensive meadows in sheltered coastal locations which are often popular areas for recreational boating. Traditional block-and-chain boat moorings can directly impact P. australis meadows, with the action of heavy chains eroding the seafloor and creating bare sand scars that fragment meadows...
Article
Full-text available
Pollinators and the pollination services they provide are critical for seed set and self-sustainability of most flowering plants. Despite this, pollinators are rarely assessed in restored plant communities, where their services are largely assumed to re-establish. Bird–pollinator richness, foraging, and interaction behavior were compared between na...
Article
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Gathaagudu (two waters), also known as Shark Bay, is the traditional country of Malgana peoples. It is also home to expansive seagrass (wirriya jalyanu) meadows. This article takes you on a high-resolution journey to the surface of seagrass leaves and the individual cells giving life and colour within them. Exploring the anatomical structures of se...
Article
Full-text available
Marine coastal (or “blue”) ecosystems provide valuable services to humanity and the environment, but global loss and degradation of blue ecosystems necessitates ecological restoration. However, blue restoration is an emerging field and is still relatively experimental and small-scale. Identification of the key barriers to scaling-up blue restoratio...
Article
Full-text available
Seagrasses are important marine ecosystems situated throughout the world’s coastlines. They are facing declines around the world due to global and local threats such as rising ocean temperatures, coastal development and pollution from sewage outfalls and agriculture. Efforts have been made to reduce seagrass loss through reducing local and regional...
Article
Full-text available
Populations at the edges of their geographical range tend to have lower genetic diversity, smaller effective population sizes and limited connectivity relative to centre of range populations. Range edge populations are also likely to be better adapted to more extreme conditions for future survival and resilience in warming environments. However, th...
Article
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Shark Bay, also known as Gatharragudu (two-waters) by the Malgana Traditional Owners, is a pristine ecosystem of global significance. The largest temperate seagrass meadows on the planet create a unique environment within the bay which supports the oldest living organisms – stromatolites.
Article
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What did we use before single-use plastics became ingrained in our everyday lives?
Article
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The seagrass Posidonia australis has suffered large reductions in distribution since the early to mid-1900s and as such has been listed as endangered in six estuaries in New South Wales, Australia, and as a ‘Threatened Ecological Community’ in estuaries from Wallis Lake to Port Hacking. One of the ongoing causes of losses of Posidonia in NSW estua...
Article
Full-text available
A central question in contemporary ecology is how climate change will alter ecosystem structure and function across scales of space and time. Climate change has been shown to alter ecological patterns from individuals to ecosystems, often with negative implications for ecosystem functions and services. Furthermore, as climate change fuels more freq...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat fragmentation affects landscape connectivity, the extent of which is influenced by the movement capacity of the vectors of seed and pollen dispersal for plants. Negative impacts of reduced connectivity can include reduced fecundity, increased inbreeding, genetic erosion and decreased long-term viability. These are issues for not only old (r...
Article
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Hybridization is common among plants and has been crucial in the evolution of many aquatic plant groups. However, hybrid individuals are often difficult to identify, particularly in the marine environment. We aim to confirm a hybrid origin between two seagrass species for a morphologically-intermediate plant observed in shallow subtidal environment...
Article
Movement is fundamental to the ecology and evolutionary dynamics within species. Understanding movement through seed dispersal in the marine environment can be difficult due to the high spatial and temporal variability of ocean currents. We employed a mutually enriching approach of population genetic assignment procedures and dispersal predictions...
Chapter
Since the first version of this book almost 30 years ago, significant losses of seagrass meadows have continued to be reported from around Australia as a result of natural and human induced perturbations. Conservative estimates indicate losses over the past two decades have more than doubled that estimated in the late 1990s. Conservation and mitiga...
Chapter
Connectivity among populations influences resilience, genetic diversity , adaptation and speciation, so understanding this process is fundamental for conservation and management. This chapter summarises the main mechanisms of gene flow within and among seagrass meadows, and what we know about the spatial patterns of gene flow around Australia’s coa...
Article
Full-text available
Two common goals for restoration are rapid plant establishment and long-term plant persistence. The success of transplanted populations may be jeopardized if the donor transplants are not genetically diverse, and/or poorly matched to their new environment. Here, we test the effects of local adaptation and plot-level genetic diversity on the early e...
Article
Full-text available
Demand for restoration of resilient, self-sustaining, and biodiverse natural ecosystems as a conservation measure is increasing globally; however, restoration efforts frequently fail to meet standards appropriate for this objective. Achieving these standards requires management underpinned by input from diverse scientific disciplines including ecol...
Article
Full-text available
Seagrasses are clonal plants and therefore may persist for a long time. They are among some of the oldest plants on Earth, with some clones thought to be thousands of years old. However, renewal, or the recruitment of new genetic individuals, also occurs in clonal species. This tends to be sporadic and patchy, and can be very difficult to quantify.
Article
Healthy seagrass meadows play a big part in making some of the inshore and sheltered water fishing in WA so good. In fact, research has suggested 400 square meters of seagrass can support up to 2000 tonnes of fish a year! The total number and diversity of fish is limited by the amount of habitat available to them.
Article
Seagrass species form important marine and estuarine habitats providing valuable ecosystem services and functions. Coastal zones that are increasingly impacted by anthropogenic development have experienced substantial declines in seagrass abundance around the world. Australia, which has some of the world’s largest seagrass meadows and is home to ov...
Article
Full-text available
Vegetation structure and plant species diversity of restoration sites are predicted to directly affect pollinator attraction, with potential impacts on gene flow, reproduction, genetic diversity of future generations, and ultimately restoration success. We compared Banksia attenuata R.Br. (Proteaceae) in a low species diversity restoration site and...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate estimation of connectivity among populations is fundamental for determining the drivers of population resilience, genetic diversity, adaptation and speciation. However the separation and quantification of contemporary versus historical connectivity remains a major challenge. This review focuses on marine angiosperms, seagrasses, that are f...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Restoring ecosystem services, such as pollination, is critical to ensuring the successful maintenance of plant reproduction. This study is one of the first to assess ecological and genetic connectivity between remnant and restored ecosystems, within a highly fragmented Global Biodiversity Hotspot. Pollinator observations and genetic data were colle...
Article
Full-text available
Background and Aims: Organisms occupying the edges of natural geographic ranges usually survive at the extreme limits of their innate physiological tolerances. Extreme and prolonged fluctuations in environmental conditions often associated with climate change, and exacerbated at species’ geographical range edges, are known to trigger alternative re...
Article
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Aim To examine the population genetic structure in Posidonia australis mead- ows, a marine foundation species capable of long distance dispersal (LDD), and the role of historical versus contemporary processes in shaping post Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) re-colonization. Location Southeastern Australia including the Bass Strait Islands. Methods We gen...
Article
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Declines in genetic diversity within a species can affect the stability and functioning of populations. The conservation of genetic diversity is thus a priority, especially for threatened or endangered species. The importance of genetic variation, however, is dependent on the degree to which it translates into phenotypic variation for traits that a...
Data
Relationship between allelic richness and mean tissue loss to herbivory (mm2 shoot−1) (R2 = 0.39, P = 0.03). Different symbols correspond to individual meadows sampled (see Fig. 1).
Data
Quantile regression on raw productivity data and genotypic richness Quantile regression on raw productivity data (mg dw shoot−1 year−1) and genotypic richness for the 90th, 50th and 10th percentile (top, middle and bottom lines). This test is used to look at the dispersion of data points within each grouping, in this case to see whether the capacit...
Data
Relationships between genotypic richness and mean productivity, shoot density and epiphyte biomass Relationships between genotypic richness and (A) mean productivity (mg dw shoot−1 year−1); (B) mean shoot density (shoots 0.25 m2−1); and (C) mean epiphyte biomass (mg dw shoot−1). There were no significant relationships between genotypic richness and...
Data
Relationship between herbivore abundance and mean herbivory The relationship between the number of herbivorous fish per site (standardised using catch per unit effort) and mean herbivory (mm2 shoot−1). There was no relationship between mean herbivory and fish abundance (R2 = 0.27, P = 0.08). Different symbols correspond to individual meadows sample...
Data
Relationships between genotypic richness and mean surface area, biomass, nitrogen and phenols Relationships between genotypic richness and leaf traits: (A) surface area (mm2 shoot−1); (B) biomass (mg dw shoot−1); (C) mean nitrogen (GAE % dw shoot−1); and (D) mean phenols (GAE % dw shoot−1). There were no significant relationships between genotypic...
Data
Raw data files This file contains raw data for all plant traits measured, as well as shoot density, herbivorous fish, genotypic richness and allelic richness.
Article
Full-text available
In a recent paper by Thomson et al. (2014), vivipary is implied for the eastern Australian Zostera, Zostera nigricaulis (revised from Zostera tasmanica; Kuo 2005). However, the definition of vivipary (production of genetically distinct offspring resulting from sexual reproduction) needs to be fully explored in terms of the experimental claims by th...
Conference Paper
The dispersal of larvae, propagules and seeds of marine organisms by ocean currents and prevailing winds can influence genetic connectivity among marine populations 10s to 1000s of kilometers apart. The direct relationship between geographic and genetic distance is not always clear whereas an isolation by resistance generated by ocean currents is m...
Conference Paper
Sourcing of plant material for seagrass restoration programs has received little consideration. Almost all large-scale restoration programs have not considered the population genetic context: provenance and maintenance of genetic structure. Seagrass species are widespread globally and it is not uncommon for single species to be distributed around t...
Conference Paper
Sea levels fluctuate considerably between glacial and interglacial periods. As a result, coastal margins fluctuate between inundation in which intertidal and marine communities establish and exposed dry land where terrestrial communities prevail. Significant shoreline changes have occurred along the southern coastlines of Australia. At the peak of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Seagrass meadows are in decline globally. Many approaches to restoration have been trialed around the world, using both vegetative and seed materials. Vegetative methods have largely been unsuccessful in the long term. However, the use of seeds is proving quite successful for those species that produce large numbers in the leaf canopy. A major adva...
Article
Full-text available
Western Australia’s vast meadows of Posidonia australis seagrass are amazingly productive with massive flowering events annually in the cool winter waters. This is followed in late spring by many millions of seagrass fruit floating across the water and washing up on beaches.
Article
Full-text available
Recognising patterns of genetic diversity and connectivity is integral to understanding the mechanisms behind population declines and formulating management plans for the conservation of threatened or endangered species. This is particularly important for clonal organisms such as seagrasses, which are experiencing rapid global decline. This study q...
Article
Full-text available
Background and AimsSeagrasses are marine, flowering plants with a hydrophilous pollination strategy. In these plants, successful mating requires dispersal of filamentous pollen grains through the water column to receptive stigmas. Approximately 40 % of seagrass species are monoecious, and therefore little pollen movement is required if inbreeding i...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the extent and impact of factors influencing the levels and structuring of genetic diversity within natural populations is a key objective of ecological genetics. For marine angiosperms, variation in abiotic environmental factors at the local scale can have a major influence on levels of clonality and spatial genetic structure, and th...
Article
Full-text available
An increasingly important practical application of the analysis of spatial genetic structure within plant species is to help define the extent of local provenance seed collection zones that minimize negative impacts in ecological restoration programs. Here, we derive seed sourcing guidelines from a novel range-wide assessment of spatial genetic str...
Conference Paper
Patterns of within and among population genetic structure in wide-ranging marine species can vary dramatically, even chaotically. An understanding of spatial genetic structure is fundamental to conservation, management and restoration activities, particularly when distributions are naturally fragmented or are becoming increasingly fragmented throug...
Article
Full-text available
Seagrass meadows are in decline globally. Although numerous experimental methods have been implemented to restore meadows, few have been successful in the long term. Poor decisions on the sourcing of transplants from donor sites, including poor genetic integration and/or low genetic diversity, may impact on restoration success. However, despite evi...
Article
Full-text available
Available at: http://site.emrprojectsummaries.org/2013/03/08/seagrass-meadow-restoration-trial-using-transplants-cockburn-sound-western-australia/
Article
Full-text available
Seagrasses belong to a large group of marine flowering plants, adapted for an entirely submerged life. Just like flowering plants on the land, they produce flowers and seeds, but with pollen and seed dispersal through the water column. Seagrasses also exhibit extensive vegetative (or clonal) reproduction through rhizomes.
Article
Full-text available
Seagrasses are marine flowering plants, with Western Australia being home to more species than any other place on earth. However, seagrass meadows here, and elsewhere, are rapidly diminishing due to human impacts, and research is focusing on understanding genetic patterns and their ecological drivers. Each individual plant can grow via vegetative e...
Article
Full-text available
Global seagrass losses parallel significant declines observed in corals and mangroves over the past 50 years. These combined declines have resulted in accelerated global losses to ecosystem services in coastal waters. Seagrass meadows can be extensive (hundreds of square kilometers) and long-lived (thousands of years), with the meadows persisting p...
Article
Full-text available
The various reasons as to why local provenance must be considered a starting point for seed sourcing decisions are discussed. Continuing studies are providing practical genetic seed sourcing guidelines for restoration practitioners, and are re-emphasising the importance of local provenance seed sourcing where there are biodiversity objectives.
Article
Full-text available
The giant Tasmanian freshwater crayfish Astacopsis gouldi prized by fisherman, is the world's largest freshwater invertebrate. Astacopsis gouldi is known only from river drainages in northern Tasmania. A narrow distribution, pollution of habitat and over-harvesting has led to the rapid decline of populations and subsequent loss from a number of dra...
Article
Full-text available
Terrestrial orchid germination, growth and development are closely linked to the establishment and maintenance of a relationship with a mycorrhizal fungus. Mycorrhizal dependency and specificity varies considerably between orchid taxa but the degree to which this underpins rarity in orchids is unknown. In the context of examining orchid rarity, lar...
Article
Full-text available
Naturally occurring unisexual reproduction has been documented in less than 0.1% of all vertebrate species. Among vertebrates, true parthenogenesis is known only in squamate reptiles. In all vertebrate cases that have been carefully studied, the clonal or hemiclonal taxa have originated through hybridization between closely related sexual species....