Couper, S. (2019). Inside the bunker safeguarding South Australia’s rare plants and botanical history.The Adelaide Review (posted 9 Apr.).
As mentioned in the article, during South Australia’s History Festival, the State Herbarium will also offer guided tours through the old Tram Barn building. Please note that the dates in the above articles are not correct. The tours will take place on Sat., 25 May & Sun., 26 May 2019.
In 2011, Andrew started a project on creating a complete species level phylogeny of the eucalypts (which include the genera Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia). The idea was to sample DNA for as many eucalypt species as possible, combine that data and see how all of the species were related to each other. This week, over seven years later, the project was published.
Thornhill, A.H., Crisp, M.D., Külheim, C., Lam, K.E., Nelson, L.A., Yeate,s D.K., Miller, J.T. (2019). A dated molecular perspective of eucalypt taxonomy, evolution and diversification.Australian Systematic Botany 32: 29-48.
Eucalyptus porosa. Photo: Clive M. Chesson.
There are over 800 described eucalypt species in the world and we are close to soon having 900. Around 1/8th of the total number of eucalypt species are native to South Australia and they grow in the arid and forest areas in an array of habits, be it mallees or trees up in the hills.
The paper presents a dated phylogeny of the Australian eucalypts and a diversification analysis to show if any parts of the eucalypt phylogeny have had accelerated diversification. What Andrew and his colleagues found was that many of the species that grow in the arid and forest areas of southern and south-eastern Australia have only evolved in the last two million years, this includes many of the eucalypt species that grow in South Australia. Their origin comes due to a divergence with Western Australian eucalypts, but that’s not to say that Western Australia is where eucalypts originated. There are even deeper splits in the history of eucalypts that suggests that either south-west Western Australia or south-east Queensland could be the source of origin. One way to find this out may be by finding new ‘oldest’ fossils in either of these places, which would help provide evidence that eucalypts grew there in the deep past.
(1) T. Varga, et al., Megaphylogeny resolves global patterns of mushroom evolution. Nature Ecology & Evolution (16 Mar. 2019), DOI: 10.1038/s41559-019-0834-1.
Hon. Research Associate Pam Catcheside is among 62 authors, collaborating in this global effort to produce a phylogeny of 5,284 species of Agaricomycetes. These mushroom-forming fungi have the greatest morphological diversity and complexity of any group of fungi. They have radiated into most niches and fulfill diverse roles in the ecosystem, including wood decomposers, pathogens or mycorrhizal mutualists. This ground-breaking, first comprehensive phylogeny of mushroom-forming fungi reveals large-scale patterns of their evolutionary history.
Phylogenetic relationships and diversification across 5,284 mushroom-forming fungi. A maximum-likelyhood analysis of nrLSU, rpb2, ef1-a sequences.
(2) J.M. Kalwij, et al., Vagrant birds as a dispersal vector in transoceanic range expansion of vascular plants. Scientific Reports (15 Mar. 2019), DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-41081-9.
Some years ago, State Herbarium botanist Jürgen Kellermann was contacted by Jesse Kalwij (now working in Germany) to identify an unknown shrub that was discovered about 25 years ago on sub-AntarcticMarion Island, one of the two Prince Edward Islands (South Africa). This evolved into a study examining the pathways that lead to the establishment of the plant, which turned out to be Ochetophila trinervis, a shrub in the family Rhamnaceae (see also this article). The species is native to southern South America, the closest population being over 7,500 km away. Dr Kalwij involved colleagues from South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Germany in this research, identifying the barn swallow as the most likely vector dispersing seeds of the plant to this sub-Antarctic island.
Ochetophila trinervis on Marion Island. (a) The single shrub, c. 25 years after establishment. (b) Close-up of branch of the plant. Photos: J.M. Kalwij.
A new book on the plants of southern Eyre Peninsula has just been published:
Saunders, Brian (2018). Flowering plants of lower Eyre Peninsula: An illustrated tour of the native flora, 200 pp. Camden Park: Lane Print & Post.
The book is a photographic identification guide to the more common plants of the area, with brief notes on their distribution and biology. The southern half of Eyre Peninsula is home to many remarkable plants, including some which are endemic to the region. A list of all EP native plants can be found through the eFloraSA website.