Research supported by the Foundation

Five projects were funded this year, to begin in 2016

1. A study by Geoff Burrows, Charles Sturt University on changes to the lens, the key point for water admission in Acacia seeds, in response to dormancy breaking treatments. It has long been known that the treatments change the lens somehow, so that water can enter the seed. This study will attempt to find out more about what happens, surveying a wide range of native Acacias. With this knowledge workers in both the ecology and nursery fields will be better equipped to understand the germination responses of their Acacia seeds.

2. Research by David Mackay, University of New England will focus on the ecology of the threatened keystone species, Ficus rubiginosa, the Rusty Fig. The results will be of benefit not only to F. rubiginosa but also to the many species that depend on it, particularly in the western, drier parts of the species range. It is also likely to have broad application to other threatened communities.

3. Work by Todd Minchinton, University of Wollongong on the key coastal salt marsh plant species. He will examine the viability, germination requirements, and cultivation of these plants, and particularly how these might vary with temperature. This research will contribute to the conservation of plants in this endangered ecological community.

4. Annisa Satyanti, Australian National University, will assess how climate change will affect the germination success and seedling growth and survival of Australian alpine plants. The study will identify the species with the highest potential adaptive germination capacity and the species which are likely to face the strongest regeneration pressure under future climates, and so inform plans for the management of threatened and endemic alpine species.

5. Monique Smith, University of Adelaide, will run experiments to gain insight into common barriers to restoration of native grasslands, and how these can be overcome to re-establish diverse and resilient native grass communities. Such communities are essential to restore habitat for native fauna, and enable salinity reduction and soil stabilization.

Further details can be found on the Foundation’s website at'_Grants.htm

Succession planning for the Foundation

Richard Williams has stood down as Chair of the Scientific Committee. He has been a member of this committee since 1982, when the Committee was established, and Chair since November 1986. We thank him for his service in this vital role for twenty nine years. The Foundation is fortunate to have found a very able replacement, Michelle Leishman, whom the Council has appointed to replace Richard.

In other succession planning, Jenny Jobling has stood down after 9 years as Treasurer, during which time she streamlined our accounting procedures. Council of the Foundation now has a new Treasurer, Charles Morris. We thank him for taking on this role, also vital to the functioning of the Foundation.

Finally I should like to thank all of you for your contributions over the year, most particularly members of the executive, members of the Finance Subcommittee, of the Scientific Committee, and members of Council. A special thank you to all donors and benefactors of the Foundation: without you the Australian Flora Foundation could not function. Particularly noteworthy are donations of $5,000 from APS NSW, $5,000 from SGAP Qld Region and $1,000 from APS Newcastle.

Peter Goodwin
14th December 2015