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Karen Dorothy Sommerville

Karen Dorothy Sommerville
Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust · The Australian PlantBank

PhD Science

About

90
Publications
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424
Citations

Publications

Publications (90)
Article
Full-text available
The Myrtaceae is a very large and diverse family containing a number of economically and ecologically valuable species. In Australia, the family contains approximately 1700 species from 70 genera and is structurally and floristically dominant in many diverse ecosystems. In addition to threats from habitat fragmentation and increasing rates of natur...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Seed germination is strongly influenced by environmental temperatures. With global temperatures predicted to rise, the timing of germination for thousands of plant species could change, leading to potential decreases in fitness and ecosystem-wide impacts. The thermogradient plate (TGP) is a powerful but underutilised research tool that...
Chapter
This chapter describes the different types of non-orthodox seeds (i.e. seeds not suitable for standard seed banking), direct and indirect methods for identifying them, and options for conserving them. It is available for free download from the Australian Network for Plant Conservation via this link - https://www.anpc.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/...
Chapter
Full-text available
Symbiotic mutualisms between plants and fungi or plants and rhizobia are often essential for their growth and survival in the wild. In particular, the Orchidaceae and Fabaceae (the second and third largest plant families in the world) are highly reliant on their symbioses with mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobia, respectively. In Australia, a number of...
Chapter
This chapter gives an overview of tissue culture and the main steps involved culturing individual plant species. The chapter gives examples of Australian species in culture, and case studies showing application of the technique to generate material for translocation and restoration. The chapter can be downloaded free of charge from the Australian N...
Chapter
Full-text available
Introduction Cryopreservation involves the storage of germplasm (e.g., seeds, embryo axes or tissue cultured shoot tips) at very low temperatures, typically utilising liquid nitrogen (LN) (-196 °C), or its vapour (-130 to -192 °C), to preserve living tissue in a state of suspended animation. Cryopreservation has become a viable long-term conservati...
Article
Full-text available
Seed banking of rainforest species is hindered by lack of knowledge as to which species are tolerant of desiccation and freezing. We assessed 313 Australian rainforest species for seed banking suitability by comparing the germination percentage of fresh seeds to seeds dried at 15% RH and seeds stored at −20 °C after drying. We then compared desicca...
Article
Full-text available
The bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii Hook., family Araucariaceae) isendemic to Queensland in eastern Australia, where only two fragmentedpopulations remain. Cones were collected from the Australian BotanicGarden Mount Annan and the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. Seed em-bryos with cotyledon tubes excised were sown on water agar or basalmedium contain...
Article
Full-text available
Assumptions about the germination ecology of alpine plants are presently based on individual species and local studies. A current challenge is to synthesize, at the global level, the alpine seed ecological spectrum. We performed a meta‐analysis of primary data from laboratory experiments conducted across four continents (excluding the tropics) and...
Article
We tested for dormancy in three species of Acronychia (Rutaceae) occurring in the rainforest in eastern Australia, A. imperforata , A. laevis and A. oblongifolia , by incubating fresh intact seeds on 0.8% water agar for one month at 25/10°C. Four different techniques were then tested for their effect on dormancy: (i) incubation of intact seeds on a...
Article
Full-text available
An alarming proportion of Australia's unique plant biodiversity is under siege from a variety of environmental threats. Options for in situ conservation are becoming increasingly compromised as encroaching land use, climate change and introduced diseases are highly likely to erode sanctuaries regardless of best intentions. Ex situ conservation is c...
Article
Trait‐based approaches have improved our understanding of plant evolution, community assembly and ecosystem functioning. A major challenge for the upcoming decades is to understand the functions and evolution of early life‐history traits, across levels of organisation and ecological strategies. Although a variety of seed traits are critical for the...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated ex situ conservation options for two Australian rainforest species severely affected by myrtle rust in the wild – Rhodamnia rubescens (Benth.) Miq. and Rhodomyrtus psidioides (G.Don) Benth. Both species were successfully initiated into tissue culture though the rate of contamination was high and not significantly improved by the dis...
Article
Full-text available
Rainforests in the South Pacific hold a considerable amount of plant diversity, with rates of species endemism >80% in some countries. This diversity is rapidly disappearing under pressure from logging, clearing for agriculture or mining, introduced pests and diseases and other anthropogenic sources. Ex situ conservation techniques offer a means to...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity offsetting promotes the protection or restoration of biodiversity at one site to compensate for the loss of biodiversity due to development at another site. Thus populations of species at a development site may be extirpated in the belief that offsetting elsewhere will compensate for the loss of biodiversity. In this study we tested th...
Article
Full-text available
Seedbanking is an effective ex situ conservation technique for species with seeds that tolerate drying to 3-7% moisture content and long term storage at -20ºC. However, it has been estimated that as many as 50% of rainforest species may produce seeds that do not tolerate desiccation; the remainder may tolerate desiccation but may not tolerate freez...
Chapter
This chapter outlines factors to be considered in investigating the seed biology of CWRs, both from the point of view of effectively utilizing the seed soon after collection and of ensuring the seed remains viable for utilization following long-term storage. Seed collections are initially assessed for seed fill, viability, and germinability. When m...
Article
Full-text available
Effective ex situ conservation of terrestrial orchids requires conservation of both seed and the fungi necessary for the seed to germinate. A potential method for conserving the seed and fungi simultaneously is encapsulation-dehydration. This technique was tested on four threatened orchids from New South Wales, Australia (Pterostylis saxicola, Diur...
Article
Full-text available
Premise of research. Orchids are among the most enigmatic of plant species. Yet the Orchidaceae comprises more species at risk of extinction than any other plant family. The collection and storage of orchid germplasm—principally seeds and associated mycorrhizal fungi but also protocorm-like bodies using encapsulation and vitrification techniques—al...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated the implications of clonality for translocation of Wilsonia backhousei, a threatened, outbreeding, saltmarsh plant with tidally-dispersed fruit. Eight microsatellite loci were used to characterise samples from three estuaries in New South Wales, Australia, and to determine the size and distribution of genetically distinct individual...
Article
The germination requirements of 19 herbs in the Australian Alps were investigated to determine which species may be sensitive to predicted climate changes. Seeds were subjected to factorial treatments of cold stratification for 0, 4, 8 and 12 weeks, followed by incubation at constant temperatures of 10, 15, 20 and 25°C and alternating temperatures...
Article
The reproductive biology of a threatened saltmarsh plant, Wilsonia backhousei Hook.f., was investigated with a view to improving conservation and restoration outcomes for the species. Population phenology was studied every two weeks, over two consecutive flowering seasons, in three to six 0.25 m2 quadrats set in monocultures of the species at each...
Article
The conservation of terrestrial orchid seed is complicated by the requirement for a mycorrhizal association to initiate germination. As the fungi required for these associations reside in soil in the vicinity of orchids, an experiment was conducted to determine the potential for preserving fungal symbionts by storing site soil. Soil samples were re...
Article
This study investigates patterns of genetic connectivity among 11 co-distributed tropical rainforest tree species from the genus Elaeocarpus across a biogeographic barrier, the Black Mountain Corridor (BMC) in the Australian Wet Tropics (AWT). We analysed a combination of allelic and flanking region sequence data from microsatellite markers, and ev...
Article
Full-text available
Ex situ conservation of threatened terrestrial orchids requires the simultaneous conservation of their mycorrhizal associations. A method for encapsulating both seed and fungi in alginate beads (known as encapsulation-dehydration) was applied to the storage and propagation of two endangered orchid species in NSW, Australia - Pterostylis saxicola D....