Studying genetics for plant conservation

Kings Park scientists and horticulturists undertake world-leading researchacross aspects of plant conservation, including species recovery, restoration of degraded ecosystems, management of urban bushland ecosystems and the sustainable use of native flora. 

The genetic component of this research allows informed decisions around the management, conservation and restoration of some of Western Australia’s most threatened biodiversity.  

Genetic information is integral to understanding the role of plant-animal interactions or environmental changes and even factors contributing to genetic decline. Genetic knowledge can also help maintain and restore functional plant communities that are resilient to current and future climates.  

Ex-situ conservation, the conservation of plant species and their genetic diversity “off-site” and away from their natural habitat, is a core function of botanic gardens and is central to the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) purpose to practise and inspire environmental conservation.  

Among other areas of research interest are how and where plants survive, orchid conservation, tissue culture and fire ecology. 

BGPA maintains extensive ex-situ collections including a seed bank, tissue culture and cryostorage collections, fungi collections, plants cultivated by the Kings Park nursery, and the plants on display in the Western Australian Botanic Garden. 

Kings Park Science is part of the broader Biodiversity Conservation Science Team within the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. 

More on Kings Park Science here.

Critically Endangered Caladenia procera (Carbunup King Spider Orchid) with its approaching pollinator. Kings Park Science seeks to understand the biological complexities of orchid interactions to deliver conservation solutions for the orchids themselves, and for their environment, pollinators and fungal partners. Image credit : Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority/Dr Belinda Davis.