Dr Lydia Guja - 'Oceanic dispersal: can seeds survive and germinate under new environmental conditions'

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Thursday, 1 November 2012 - 12:30pm

Charles Darwin was among the first to hypothesise, and experiment with, oceanic dispersal. This is the harshest dispersal vector for seeds as they must endure an extremely saline and waterlogged voyage, are likely to be deposited hundreds of kilometres away from the parent plant, and often need to germinate under new environmental conditions. The theory of oceanic dispersal has recently gained favour in a number of scientific fields, yet very little research has investigated seed traits conducive to this mode of dispersal such as buoyancy, survival, and germination. Lydia will discuss results of recent research undertaken in WA on the oceanic dispersal and salt tolerance of native seeds.

Lydia has recently taken up the new Seed Conservation Biologist position in the CANBR and the ANBG. The Seed Biologist plays a key role in developing and monitoring the strategic direction and scientific goals of the ANBG Seed Bank, and expanding existing seed banking and research activities.

Prior to that Lydia Guja received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Australia. She conducted an Honours project at UWA and Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Western Australia, investigating the seed biology and physiology of coastal plants. After graduation she spent some time at the Department of Environment and Conservation in WA where she assisted with monitoring the effects of logging and fire on regeneration and diversity in Jarrah and Karri forests of the South-West. Lydia's PhD project (at Curtin University and Kings Park) followed on from her Honours research and continued to investigate dispersal and salt tolerance in seeds of native coastal plants. During Lydia's time at Kings Park she also worked as a technician on several projects that investigated dormancy and germination syndromes of difficult to germinate Australian species.