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Ahrens C.W.,Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria | James E.A.,Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2016

The conservation of remnant grassland vegetation on the Victorian volcanic plain (VVP) is crucial for the persistence of local biodiversity. Recent habitat loss has restricted the grassland to only a small percentage of its former range. Along with grassland habitats, species that occur on the VVP are in decline and many are legally protected. Comesperma polygaloides is a grassland species of the VVP that also occurs outside of the region in woodland habitats. We use 12 neutral microsatellite loci and two chloroplast regions to understand genotypic patterns of C. polygaloides in southeastern Australia. We found separate genetic clusters but they do not follow geographic boundaries. There are fewer alleles (2.96) and effective alleles (2.01) than expected from 12 microsatellite markers compared to other species. Even with the low number of alleles per locus there was a moderate level of genetic diversity detected (I = 0.69; Ho = 0.43; He = 0.40). Populations of the VVP could not be differentiated from populations elsewhere using neutral markers or chloroplast analyses. The genetic structure discovered was not consistent with the level of fragmentation observed. There may be several reasons for the observed lack of genetic structure: the species is more common than perceived, plants are long-lived and can reproduce clonally, and the bioregion is relatively young, geologically. Results indicate that restoration projects and long-term viability of C. polygaloides will be improved by composite seed sourcing, alleviating the risk of insufficient genetic diversity posed by an over-emphasis on local provenancing. © 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht


May T.W.,Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Taxon | Year: 2016

The Special Subcommittee on Governance of the Code with Respect to Fungi was established at the XVIII International Botanical Congress (IBC) in Melbourne in 2011, with the mandate to consider what specialized procedures and by-laws may be desirable for dealing with changes to fungal nomenclature, and to report to the XIX IBC in Shenzhen in 2017. The Subcommittee conducted extensive discussions, summarized in this report. A majority view (80%) within the Subcommittee and a majority of mycologists polled at the International Mycological Congress (IMC) in Bangkok in 2014 support changes to governance of the Code encapsulated in two proposals published in this issue. These proposals cover election of the Nomenclature Committee for Fungi by an IMC and establishment of Fungal Nomenclature Sessions at IMCs to deal with proposals that relate solely to fungi, with procedures replicating those of the Nomenclature Sections of IBCs, excluding institutional votes. This report provides the supporting documentation for the two proposals. The report and the proposals should be read alongside each other. © International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT) 2016.


Ahrens C.W.,Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria | James E.A.,Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Journal of Heredity | Year: 2016

Continued alterations to the Australian environment compromise the long-term viability of many plant species. We investigate the population genetics of Ptilotus macrocephalus, a perennial herb that occurs in 2 nationally endangered communities on the Victorian Volcanic Plain Bioregion (VVP), Australia, to answer key questions regarding regional differentiation and to guide conservation strategies. We evaluate genetic structure and diversity within and among 17 P. macrocephalus populations from 3 regions of southeastern Australia using 17 microsatellite markers developed de novo. Genetic structure was present in P. macrocephalus between the 3 regions but not at the population level. Environmental factors, namely temperature and precipitation, significantly explained differentiation between the North region and the other 2 regions indicating isolation by environment. Within regions, genetic structure currently shows a high level of gene flow and genetic variation. Our results suggest that within-region gene flow does not reflect current habitat fragmentation in southeastern Australia whereas temperature and precipitation are likely to be responsible for the differentiation detected among regions. Climate change may severely impact P. macrocephalus on the VVP and test its evolutionary resilience. We suggest taking a proactive conservation approach to improve long-term viability by sourcing material for restoration to assist gene flow to the VVP region to promote an increased adaptive capacity. © The American Genetic Association. 2015. All rights reserved.


Brown A.J.,Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Muelleria | Year: 2015

Three South African Agrostis L. taxa are transferred to Lachnagrostis Trin., as L. eriantha (Hack.) A.J.Br., L. huttoniae (Hack.) A.J.Br. and L. polypogonoides (Stapf) A.J.Br. on the basis of high palea to lemma length ratios and a lack of a trichodium net pattern on the lemma epidermis. However, the lemmas of L. barbuligera var. barbuligera and A. barbuligera var. longipilosa Gooss. & Papendorf have a trichodium net and do not belong in Lachnagrostis. Instead, they are morphologically similar to a group of montane tropical African Agrostis, which includes A. kilimandscharica Mez. and A. mannii (Hook.f.) Stapf. Previous transfers of A. griquensis Stapf and A. viridis Gouan to Polypogon are confirmed as appropriate, as they lack a trichodium net but, unlike Agrostis and Lachnagrostis, their spikelets disarticulate below the glumes. © 2015 Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.


Walsh N.G.,Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Muelleria | Year: 2015

Taxonomic and legislative arguments are offered to justify the elevation of Leucochrysum albicans var. tricolor (DC.) Paul G.Wilson to the rank of subspecies. © 2015 Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.


Brown A.J.,Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Muelleria | Year: 2015

Variation within Lachnagrostis adamsonii (Vickery) S.W.L.Jacobs is assessed and two new subspecies from the central region of the western Victorian Volcanic Plain are described: L. adamsonii subsp. ampla A.J.Br. from inundated, saline sites and L. adamsonii subsp. limosa A.J.Br. from slightly saline, moist lake beds and flats. © 2015 Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.


Walsh N.,Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Muelleria | Year: 2015

An existing name, Microseris walteri Gand., is resurrected for one of the most important food plants of aboriginal people of south-eastern Australia and for which the Koorie name 'Murnong' (or 'Myrnong') has long been applied (e.g. Gott 1983) in Victoria, and 'Garngeg' or 'Nyamin' in south-eastern New South Wales. It is compared with its two Australian congeners. A key to the identification of all three species and photographs of their root systems are provided. © 2015 Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.


Jeanes J.A.,Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Muelleria | Year: 2015

Podolepis omissa Jeanes, a new species endemic to north-eastern New South Wales and closely related to P. neglecta G.L.Davis, is described and illustrated. Its distribution, habitat and ecology are discussed. © 2015 Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.


Entwisle T.J.,Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

Since 1788, Australia has persisted with four European seasons that make no sense in much of the country. Australians may like them for historical or cultural reasons, or because they are they are (apparently) the same throughout the world, but they tell us nothing, and reflect less, of our natural environment. I argue for a rejection of these seasons and the adoption of a system that brings us more in tune with our plants and animals; a system to help us to notice and respond to climate change. I propose a 5- season model for southern Australia, starting with sprinter (August and September), the early Australian spring. That is when the bushland and our gardens burst into flower. It is also when that quintessential Australian plant, the wattle (Acacia), is in peak flowering across Australia. Next is sprummer (October and November), the changeable season, bringing a second wave of flowering. My proposed summer (December to March) is four months long, extending into March. Autumn (April and May) reflects the brief colouring of leaves on mostly exotic trees, but also peak fungal fruiting. Winter (June and July) is for that short burst of cold weather. I'm not the first to suggest an alternative way to divide up the year. Australia's Aboriginal communities have watched the world around them over tens of thousands of years, and come up with two to thirteen seasons to suit their local area. I'm also not the first recent immigrant to suggest we need a change. Any system covering such a large area will be a compromise, and I have based mine mostly on what plants do. Whether my new seasons are adopted or not, I hope they encourage people to take better notice the natural world around us and how it changes.


News Article | April 27, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

Note: The following contains descriptions and images that may be considered NSFW. One Australian performance group is asking a provocative question: What better way to connect to the earth than through sex? Pony Express, a collective of four artists, will perform at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in Melbourne, between May 6-16, at the Next Wave Festival. The show, entitled Ecosexual Bathhouse, is meant to be a "complete sensory environment" according to the group's fundraising page. Mainly, its intent is to get people to care about the planet in new ways, perhaps by relating to it sensually. SEE ALSO: The ultimate vegan sex kit is a kinder way to play According to Ecosexuality.org, where the movement appears to have originated online, an "eco-sexual" is defined as "someone who finds nature sensual, sexy." Some ecosexuals engage in sex acts with things in nature, according to blog posts from the website. When we spoke with Pony Express, the group said, "None of the performers or audiences are encouraged to have penetrative sex with nature or one another in the bathhouse. Ecosexual Bathhouse is an artwork — it is a playful and sensory environment. We encourage a safe space to get in touch with nature." The acts described are very BDSM meets the forest, but not in a Fifty Shades of Gray kind of way. There is no dominate or submissive partner. Rather, there are intimate acts but no penetrative sex involved. Ecosexual Bathhouse is more about sensuality and the senses. The actors touch and feel the earth and each other, and include nature in sex-like acts with one another. As seen in this promotional video, an actress sensually caresses a flower in the video, simulating a sexual act; another lovingly embraces a bathtub full of moss; performers in the photographs touch each other in the dirt while wearing greenery or flowers; there is a "Master" and "Mistress" of the Bathhouse, a "shapeshifting dominatrix." The entire experience will take about 45 minutes with stations ranging from a post-consumer sauna to a shape-shifting dominatrix lair. Visitors are invited to participate and observe as little or as much as they choose. Pony Express creators, West Australian theatre-maker Ian Sinclair and Californian visual artist Loren Kronemyer, described a spiritual, energy-based connection between human and Earth. "Sex is complex and very diverse; in our environment it happens around us all the time in ways we can barely perceive. The biggest human sexual organ is the brain, and Ecosexual Bathhouse encourages audiences to use their theirs in a fun, playful, and deeply serious way." The website includes advertisements for things like a "composting glory hole" or a "windplay zone," along with suggestive descriptions. (The glory hole is described as "so deep and dank, you’ll want to come over and over." Based on what the organizers said, it refers more to a spiritual orgasm than a physical one.) "The Eco-sex Manifesto," written by leaders of the movement Dr. Elizabeth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, inspired the Pony Express creators.  Stephens and Sprinkle are credited within the ecosex community for popularizing the movement with their manifesto. They also outline the "5 Zones of Love" with the earth, detailing the different ways people can connect and interact with nature. These range from a mental and spiritual connection to legitimate physical acts.  On Stephens' and Sprinke's website there are explicit stories of things they have done in nature. Most of the stories told on the ecosex convergence website describe, similarly to the Pony Express performance, non-penetrative sex, but rather communing with nature.   When we spoke with New York-based sexuality educator Elizabeth Boskey, she hadn't heard of ecosexuality. However, she says, "That doesn't mean it doesn't exist."  There are several websites dedicated to this specific type of movement, groups of people exploring what ecosex can mean. It may be a recognized primarily through online communities at the moment, like many sexual movements (see: furries).  In the meantime, exhibits like Ecosexual Bathhouse are helping bring awareness to the identity and environmental sustainability at the same time. “Sex sells, so if we have an erotic motivation for the ongoing conservation of our environment, then perhaps the stakes would be high enough to encourage global action,” said Kronemyer in the Pony Express press release, “If we learn to the love the earth, maybe we can save it.”  Wrote the company in an email, "Our interest is in promoting a paradigm shift from Earth as mother to Earth as lover, because the earth doesn't have to love us unconditionally."

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