There is a need for horticulturists and practitioners managing Myrtle Rust susceptible collections to collaborate, share ideas and workshop problems.
To address this the ANPC, UNSW and the BGANZ Collections and Records Management group (BCARM) are collaborating to co-ordinate a quarterly series of informal virtual get togethers, commencing in February 2024.
This series will be exclusively focused on practical aspects of managing and maintaining a conservation collection of Myrtle Rust susceptible species and will have an open forum structure. The series will be open to any practitioners across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand managing collections impacted by Myrtle Rust including local council nurseries.
As part of customising the content and schedule we are seeking your feedback in this short survey.
The first session “Fundamentals of managing a Myrtle Rust sensitive collection” will be held on 22 February 2024 at 2pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).
For more information about Myrtle Rust visit the dedicated ANPC resource page.
We hope to see you there.
The extended Myrtle Rust Project funded by NSW Department of Planning and Environment is progressing well. Coordinated by ANPC Project Manager Chantelle Doyle since June 2023, the project has so far achieved the following:
- Dispersal of 10 additional Native Guava (Rhodomyrtus psidioides) plants and lineages to 3 partner gardens to supplement the existing ex situ
- Dispersal of 13 Scrub Turpentine (Rhodamnia rubescens) plants and lineages to 3 partner gardens.
- New partner Booderee Botanic Gardens has joined the project group.
- Five collaborative partner meetings have been held, with much discussion on managing the collections, along with informative presentations from key researchers at Botanic Gardens of Sydney: Dr Manueal Cascini outlining the status of genetic analysis Rhodamnia maideniana and Dr Jason Bragg on Myrtle Rust resistance in Rhodamnia rubescens.
- Continued collation of dispersal data.
- Epicollect monitoring of the ex situ collections is ongoing and has been streamlined for ease of use. All gardens can now access the raw data and export for their personal records (training undertaken by DPE’s Craig Stehn)
- Additional collection of germplasm and genetic material from healthy psidioides appearing in response to drying climate.
- Additional collection of genetic material from healthy maideniana and R. whiteana plants observed in the field being sent to Dr Manuela Cascini for additional genetic analysis.
- Collection of Rhodamnia and Rhodomyrtus fruit being sent to Dr Karen Sommerville for storage and viability testing.
- Planning future co-facilitated ANPC/BCARM practitioner meetings for managing Myrtle Rust impacted collections.
- An outreach flyer has been developed outlining the project background and aims, for the general public when visiting the ex situ collections and which can be used for guided walks.
- Botanic Gardens of Sydney blog on how ‘genetics is helping to save plant species decimated by myrtle rust’ dated 28 July 2023.
See more here:
Myrtle Rust threatens an estimated 350 Australian plants, killing new growth, buds and flowers, meaning severely impacted species can no longer reproduce. Worst affected species will disappear from the wild. Myrtle Rust is having such a devastating impact on some native plants, that scientists, community groups and First Nations groups in Australia and New Zealand are working together to devise an Australasian response. In June 2023 over 100 experts from around the globe met in Sydney to share knowledge in the inaugural Australasian Myrtle Rust Conference, supported by the Australian Network for Plant Conservation.
Attendees were buoyed by the breadth of work and dedication to preventing Myrtle Rust extinctions. They were simultaneously unanimous in the sentiment that stronger leadership, greater coordination, and long-term funding were the crucial missing elements. Priority next steps include improved sharing of resources and of research and its outcomes, and refining priority species and actions for conservation efforts to maximise the involvement of researchers, communities and land managers.
Several key themes emerged from the 50 presentations given during the conference, giving rise to potential simultaneous directions to tackle Myrtle Rust incursions and extinctions:
International guest speaker Dr Richard Sniezko from the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, presenting on developing disease resistance tree populations for restoration. Credit: Dan Turner
The ANPC is pleased to announce that the NSW Department of Planning and Environment has funded an extension to the ‘Safe Custody for Native Guava’ project for the next 6 months, with the aim to:
- Continue monitoring already-dispersed Native Guava (R. psidioides) collection.
- Ensure continued integration of Qld’s dispersal and monitoring activities with those in NSW.
- Send new lineages of Native Guava to partner garden dispersed collections.
- Collate monitoring data and suggest updates to monitoring methods.
- Communicate progress and lessons.
- Trial sharing of Scrub Turpentine (Rhodamnia rubescens) lineages to partner gardens.
ANPC Project Manager Chantelle Doyle is coordinating this project and can be contacted on this email.
Read this Botanic Gardens of Sydney blog piece written by Chantelle to find out more about how ‘genetics is helping to save plant species decimated by myrtle rust’ dated 28 July 2023.
Thank you to all our partner organisations for their generous support and commitment to this project:
Main image: Members of the Myrtle Rust Project steering committee at the Myrtle Rust Conference in June 2023:
Front (L-R): Amelia Martyn Yenson, Stephanie Chen, Chantelle Doyle, Karen Sommerville, Peter Gould.
Back (L-R): Bob Makinson, Veronica Viler, Geoff Pegg, Craig Stehn, Fiona Giblin, Tracey Menzies.
(Not present: Ian Allen, Tony Auld, Jason Bragg, Damian Butler, Michael Elgey, Chris Fernance, Jo Lynch, Ash Filipovski, Toby Golson, John Hodgon, Phil Hurle, Zoe Knapp, Tex Moon, Ryan Newett, Cathy Offord, Angela Verner, Marion Whitehead, Damian Wrigley, Samantha Yap).
Images: Native Guava ex situ collections at Australian Botanic Garden Mt Annan. Credits: Veronica Viler (L) and Nathan Emery
More than 90 people, including many from New Zealand, gathered to discuss developments across the rapidly expanding field of Myrtle Rust research and conservation action. Indigenous representation and voice, from both Australia and New Zealand, was the highest of any Australian-based Myrtle Rust conference so far. The conference was followed by a two-day workshop on the screening potential for rust-tolerant genotypes in some of the most severely affected species, as a basis for reinforcing the declining populations. Conference attendee and guest speaker Dr Richard Sniezko (US Department of Agriculture Forest Service), who has a long history in breeding North American trees for disease resistance, has helped take this management option to a firmer level. Recordings from the conference will be available soon!
The next step is to produce a report on the outcomes and achievements of the Conference and workshop. This will help transfer awareness of current research and conservation practice between the countries and Australian states, and will feed into the Commonwealth’s development of a Threat Abatement Plan and parallel work in various states.
Image: Bob Makinson, ANPC Outreach Delegate and Myrtle Rust champion (left), with fellow rust warriors Peri Tobias from University of Sydney and Geoff Pegg from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, at the Australasian Myrtle Rust Conference last week in Sydney. Credit: Chantelle Doyle