Restoration of disturbed areas that have had all previously established plant species removed often requires not only the revegetation of those plant communities but also the replacement of an appropriate substrate for growth. 

The success of the revegetation approach also depends on biotic and abiotic factors, such as:

  • the appropriateness of the species selected
  • seed quality
  • site characteristics (including aspect, soil/substrate chemical and physical factors, light, temperature and water availability)
  • percentage and speed of germination
  • successful seedling establishment. 

The application of different pre-treatments to seeds is one method that can be used to positively influence the rate of germination and uniformity of seedling establishment, thereby promoting successful revegetation. For many species, applying ethylene to the germination media/seeds can be one such pre-treatment. Ethylene has been shown to be involved with plant development (germination and senescence) in many studies. The exogenous application of ethylene to germination media or seeds of many species has been shown to promote germination. A second promoter of germination to be studied is KAR1, a new product isolated from smoke, and known to be a strong promoter of native species germination.

This proposed project aims to investigate the use of ethylene encapsulation and KAR1 on the germination of native seeds into control and compost media to enhance vegetation programs through increased and uniform germination.

It will also take into consideration:

  • ethylene release kinetics (temperature and relative humidity)
  • native species selection
  • viability/quality of seed
  • compost physical (water holding capacity) and chemical (pH and toxicity) attributes
  • dormancy characteristics of selected species.

Location: St Lucia

Expected outcomes: an understanding of the use of Australian native plants in land revegetation

Supervisors: Professor Steve Adkins

Before you apply: contact the primary supervisor for more details

Project members

Professor Steve Adkins

Principal Research Fellow
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences