Dr Cathy Offord ‘Understanding our rainforests from the seed up: conservation research on Wollemi pine and other Australian rainforest species’

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Thursday, 21 July 2016 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Dr Cathy Offord is a Principal Research Scientist working for the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney (RBG). She currently holds the position of Manager of Germplasm Conservation and Horticultural Research and is an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney. Cathy is based at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan (in south-west Sydney) and manages the integrated science facilities of the Australian Plant Bank. She has over 130 peer-reviewed and edited publications and is the lead editor and co-author of five chapters of the Australian Guidelines for Plant Germplasm Conservation published in 2009.

Australian rainforest plants are under threat from habitat fragmentation, weeds, disease and climate change. Seed banking is a cost effective way of conserving vulnerable plants, but not all species can survive the necessary drying and freezing. This program focuses on assessing the storage potential of seeds from Australian rainforest species, storing those seeds suitable for seed banking and looking for alternative conservation measures for those that are not. Until this project commenced, little was known about how many of these species could be conserved using seed banking techniques. The findings will be important to the restoration and management of Australia’s vulnerable rainforests.