Zieria species

Aim: Conservation Genomics
Project initiation: Aug 2020
Project lead:  Mike Bayly | University of Melbourne

Zieria granulata. Photographer: J Plaza, reproduced with permission from the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust.

Project description:

Zieria is a genus of ~60 species occurring along the east coast of Australia and in New Caledonia. The genus is particularly diverse in the south-east corner of New South Wales and Victoria, with approximately 34 species. In this region, five species are EPBC listed (one critically endangered, three endangered, one vulnerable), and recent molecular work found these species to be closely related.

Three of these species (Z. parrisiae, Parris’s Zieria;  Z. buxijugum, Box Range Zieria; Z. formosa,Shapely Zieria) are only known from few small populations, all within 6-15 km west of Pambula, NSW. Significant conservation efforts have been spent protecting these rare species, including seed banking, maintaining living collections, and protecting the populations from bush fires. Given the rarity of these Zieria species, the best long-term strategy for persistence is to maintain insurance populations ex situ, ideally as both seed and living collections, that are as genetically representative as possible.

Our work will use DNA sequencing methods to produce a resolved taxonomy for these species, and insights into genetic diversity of populations to ensure targets and priorities have a sound genetic basis for future conservation efforts.