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In a strategic approach to science and research, the State Herbarium has developed key research themes. These include:

Biodiversity discovery

  • using classical and modern taxonomic tools to find out which types of plants, macrofungi and macroalgae occur in South Australia and where they are located
  • publishing research outcomes
  • using DNA methodologies (eg DNA barcoding) for more rapid identification of morphologically compromised samples (ie forensic taxonomy).

Species and populations

  • collecting detailed information on the size, distribution, abundance, growth, seasonality, birth rates and mortality in species and populations of marine and terrestrial plants
  • covering threatened and non-threatened native species, as well as exotic pests, including taxa that are likely to pose a biosecurity threat
  • biogeography and landscapes - documenting and explaining the distribution of species in relation to environmental variation and the historical dynamics of species (changes in habitat connectivity of contemporary populations may threaten the survival of a species)
  • phenology - studying biological phenomena in the context of climate variations.

Climate change

  • biological and physical components are affected by the current concept and predictions of global climate change
  • specific action and planning now needs to be developed to manage environmental assets appropriately
  • we need a monitoring network to understand recent changes and track future changes. In many cases predictive science and modelling are the only ways to gain early warning of potential future catastrophic impacts, including sea level rise and acidification, coastal and wetland inundation, species range shifts and changes to the ecology and interdependencies of species due to developmental shifts. We have links to the University of Adelaide Research Institute of Climate Change and Sustainability.

History and collections

  • researching botanical history.
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